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Hunting Bad CIOs In Their Natural Environment

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the and-yet-we-still-can't-shoot-them dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 112

onehitwonder writes "Bad CIOs are a blight on the IT profession, the organizations that employ them and the IT staff who toil under them (usually cleaning up their messes). Yet bad CIOs manage to migrate largely undetected — like the mythic Big Foot — from company to company. In the process, these bad CIOs lay waste to businesses and information systems, destroy staff morale, pillage budgets and imperil shareholder value. To help rid the world of this scourge, CIO.com has compiled a list of behaviors common among bad CIOs that recruiters, hiring managers and IT staff can use to identify them during the recruiting process."

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Bad Sign #1 (5, Funny)

Middle - Adopter (906754) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526122)

Pointy hair

Re:Bad Sign #1 (4, Funny)

Pointy_Hair (133077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526822)

+1 Informative

Bad Sign #2 (2, Funny)

Torvaun (1040898) | more than 6 years ago | (#22529252)

Keeps a cattle prod in his office.

A point of disagreement with TFA (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526138)

They seriously tell people to avoid those who complain about a lack of security and request funds to do something about it. This seems like a false economy to me.

Re:A point of disagreement with TFA (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526190)

No, you missed the point. Improving security is a primary goal of the CIO. But the way he approaches it the sign. The example in TFA has the CIO fear mongering to get a larger budget then he actually needs. Most companies today don't need new firewalls to improve security, they need to rethink the process. Putting security in the hands of software and hardware alone is a path to disaster. The CIO should be able to itemize what he really for security explain the tradeoffs to management, and tell the shortterm and long term effort it will require.

Re:A point of disagreement with TFA (5, Insightful)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526948)

In other words, security is a process. Security is not strictly a hardware and software solution.

Re:A point of disagreement with TFA (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22529698)

The problem with security as a hardware and software solution is that it's often too easy. Just lock down everything, forbid everything and noone will subvert it for convienience, courtesy or just getting the damn job done rather than malice, right? Wrong. A gate that'll only let one person through at the time like at amusement parks, subways and such is much more effective than a door with keycode, because of tailgating. If your user account doesn't let you do the things you should, people will ask to use other people's user accounts. Make the password rotation schemes too absurd and you'll find notes with the passwords. Don't allow USB drives at work - but does that mean the iPod that everyone listens to? Don't allow camera phones - except so many have one and it's their only phone and taking it away from them is impractical and considered unreasonable. In the end, you need most of the people in the system to work with the system. Or as seems to be the case most times, you just want to have a rule forbidding it so that it was against the rules. Just make sure you don't get to be the fall guy that'll be blamed for the breach of routine even though everyone else does it too...

Re:A point of disagreement with TFA (2, Informative)

eudaemon (320983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527182)

You hit that right on the head. If you look at the most recent scandals in Finance
Societe Generale's 4.9 Billion Euro loss was attributable to someone who allegedly still
had access to middle-office systems after moving to the front office, along with
the skills to BS senior managers over his positions. Failure in process.
They failed to remove access and they failed to follow up on sketchy stories.

Same with the recent extortion attempts at two different banks in Lichtenstein;
former bank employees pulled data and then extorted or attempted to extort
bank customers. This time failure of process that has nothing to do with technology -
you just employed people that ultimately could not be trusted. Their access was
required as part of their job -- what firewall can protect against that?
(Answer: none, firewalls can only allow or deny access,they don't make
context based decisions on intent, i.e. no firewall says "gee normally this guy
pulls 10 customer records, but today he pulled 1,000! What's up?)

Re:A point of disagreement with TFA (2, Informative)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22529082)

i.e. no firewall says "gee normally this guy pulls 10 customer records, but today he pulled 1,000! What's up?

Yeah, that's a tripwire activity - if you log record access, you can identify common usage patterns and alert when the numbers get out of whack - if 10 is normal, set alerts at 20 and 40. It's still a human process after that; computers are good at filtering, though.

Re:A point of disagreement with TFA (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22527496)

Most companies today don't need new firewalls to improve security, they need to rethink the process.

sorry but replacing that Linksys router with a WatchGuard Firebox is a good idea. MOST companies and Schools have a Joke for their infrastructure. And upgrades ARE needed.

Re:A point of disagreement with TFA (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530638)

But a good IT team can get better security results with the linksys firewall, then a bumbling IT group with a watchguard firebox. If you maintain and support a good policy you will overcome most issues that hardware provides.

Re:A point of disagreement with TFA (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#22535346)

Actually, the purpose of anybody in IT is increased productivity. The primary goal of increased productivity is delivering data to the end user. Security is critical to this process, but it is merely a part of this process, not the goal.

hey... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22526204)

MORE SIGNS OF BAD CIOS

They overpromise and underdeliver.
They can't sum up their IT strategy into an elevator speech, nor can they articulate the company's vision.
They don't take ownership of critical issues, nor do they demonstrate accountability for problems, but they're quick to take credit for successes.
They can't motivate their staff and don't pay attention to building teams inside the IT group. They can't attract and retain IT staff.
Instead of working on projects that make meaningful contributions to the company's bottom line, they focus either on projects that will look good on their résumés or on sucking up to executives by giving them Blackberrys and new laptops with wireless Internet connections.
They overemphasize project management to the point where 90 percent of the timeline for projects is given over to planning and only 10 percent to implementation.
They view project management as a waste of time.
They can't prioritize projects.
They give staff responsibility for projects but no authority, direction or support. When the individual and the project fail, they publicly berate the individual.
They espouse a different management practice every month.

Hey, I think I work for this guy!

[anonymous for job security reasons]

goa*Dt (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22526214)

of Walnut Crrek, the project is in unless you can work

Bad category? (4, Funny)

JamesTRexx (675890) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526220)

It may be tagged humour, but I see too many signs pointing at our CIO... -.-

Is it for sure that we can't shoot them?

Re:Bad category? (5, Funny)

kryten_nl (863119) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526256)

They're certainly not an endangered species. So I would guess you _can_ shoot them. Inquire with your local LUG about the start and end dates of hunting season.

Just a Bad Manager; Move Along . . . (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22526292)

These are not characteristics of a bad CIO, but characteristics of a bad manager. TFA reads like headunter-scum puffery. It would point at any incompetent boss.

"Nothing to see here folks. Move along." -- Leslie Nielsen in Naked Gun

Re:Just a Bad Manager; Move Along . . . (1)

davismit (566251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531080)

Bad managers of any ilk are not uncommon. They all have the same modus operandi. For those of us in the trenches they are quite easy to spot. They are nothing new. Back in WW II they simply called them Chickenshit Jerks. Read here for a full description. http://worldwar2history.info/Army/chickenshit.html [worldwar2history.info]

But how do we get rid of them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22526464)

While the "funny" comment asked if we could shoot them, it does raise a serious point. How do we (be it entry level IT staff to the people reporting directly to the CIO) get the CIO's boss to understand just how horrible people like this are?

Until I switched positions (actually quit and was convinced to take a position in a different group), I was stuck working for a new CIO (well, different title, same job in his mind) who fits the article perfectly. Now I see my replacement in the same position I was in. The CIO's boss is apt to think, "oh, these old people just can't adjust to a new boss and a new/stricter/better way of doing things." (The "better" assumes the CIO's boss was tricked by the jargon.)

So, how can we prevent these hoodlums from ruining our lives and get them either not hired to begin with or canned when we see their complete incompetence?

Re:But how do we get rid of them? (5, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527304)

So, how can we prevent these hoodlums from ruining our lives and get them either not hired to begin with or canned when we see their complete incompetence?
You can't. Once someone reaches "C" level, they have something akin to diplomatic immunity. Even if they screw the shareholders out of billions of dollars and run the company into the ground, the only thing that might happen is they get fired, get a huge golden parachute, and some other company will immediately scoop them up for even more salary and stock.

Two points stand out on the top-10 list... (4, Insightful)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526226)

FTA:

They migrate quickly from habitat to habitat. A sign that a CIO is of the nocens executor species is a pattern of rapid job transitions on his résumé
This happens a LOT. I'm not sure why, but these people settle in, take on a few token projects (never finishing, or else FUBAR'ing them), then leave just as they're being "exposed." I won't name names.

FTA:

Young and old flee the CIO's flock. Unusually high levels of staff turnover in the IT department after the new CIO has joined...
Ya think? Some departments empty out like rich people leaving the Titanic once you bring in someone new, which is usually a bad sign. A good, sensible leader will often spend the first part of his/her tenure just watching and learning, before making any huge changes (unless they're hatchet men, in which case I'll be the one wearing a dress floating off in the lifeboat)

Thats website is a f*cking mess (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22526230)

look at the state of it ! click next ten times to read another 100 words with 30+ adverts per page ! in fact most of the content on that site is advertising of one sort or another they should look at their own management ethos before criticising others "hey lets set up site that has more adverts on it than a domain squatters" here's the print version because as a CIO i wouldnt waste my time reading a site like that http://www.cio.com/article/print/186800 [cio.com]

Re:Thats website is a f*cking mess (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526314)

I thought the amount of words per page was appropriate.
Also, they apparently provide a print version. What are you ranting about?

I didn't see a single ad on that page (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22526330)

and I breezed through it in about 90 seconds.

Maybe your personal CIO skills are deficient! You could start your CIO career by learning how to lock down your own personal computer.

dbadirect, the place was a trainwreck. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22526246)

dbadirect, the place was a trainwreck kept afloat by marketing and sales alone. IT was a mess, backstabbing in the noc, the best oracle guys left, and the ones who stayed behind were always out to make everyone else look bad.

Article in a nutshell (5, Informative)

bennini (800479) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526248)

Another one of those top-10 articles broken up into 7 web pages with 3 paragraphs each and flooded with useless advertisements & buzzwords like SOA on demand, Oracle Fusion Middleware and "Storage Utopias"...heres the summary:
  1. They migrate quickly from habitat to habitat.
  2. Selective amnesia
  3. Excessive preening
  4. A pugilistic stance
  5. Sketchy evolution.
  6. Dropping names.
  7. Bad references.

then a sublist....
Behaviors observers should note when the CIO has settled in his new habitat.
  1. They eat their young.
  2. Young and old flee the CIO's flock.
  3. They use the same hunting and gathering strategies regardless of their environment.
  4. Brown-nosing.
  5. Excessive hibernation.
  6. Intimidation
  7. They play favorites with vendors.
  8. They act like a wolf in sheep's clothing.
  9. They show their teeth and their claws.
  10. hey don't finish what they start.

and then there is a sublist within that second main list (in case you werent confused yet):
MORE SIGNS OF BAD CIOS
  1. They overpromise and underdeliver.
  2. They can't sum up their IT strategy into an elevator speech, nor can they articulate the company's vision.
  3. They don't take ownership of critical issues, nor do they demonstrate accountability for problems, but they're quick to take credit for successes.
  4. They can't motivate their staff and don't pay attention to building teams inside the IT group. They can't attract and retain IT staff.
  5. Instead of working on projects that make meaningful contributions to the company's bottom line, they focus either on projects that will look good on their résumés or on sucking up to executives by giving them Blackberrys and new laptops with wireless Internet connections.
  6. They overemphasize project management to the point where 90 percent of the timeline for projects is given over to planning and only 10 percent to implementation.
  7. They view project management as a waste of time.
  8. They can't prioritize projects.
  9. They give staff responsibility for projects but no authority, direction or support. When the individual and the project fail, they publicly berate the individual.
  10. They espouse a different management practice every month.

Re:Article in a nutshell (3, Insightful)

teslar (706653) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526510)

Another one of those top-10 articles broken up into 7 web pages with 3 paragraphs each and flooded with useless advertisements & buzzwords like SOA on demand, Oracle Fusion Middleware and "Storage Utopias"
Printer friendly [cio.com] view is your friend too, even if you're not a printer. It's certainly more informative than just throwing section titles at me (which is not a summary, it's a TOC). How should I guess what e.g. "excessive hibernation" means in this context until I read TFA, at which point I find out that it's spending more time in the office than talking to IT people.

Number one sign of a bad CIO... (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527208)

... He/she insists all articles be broken up into multiple pages so as to force more page views thus increasing advertising revenue while making the internet suck even more.

True Story (1)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22534750)

I once worked at a company with a bad CIO who had a lot of the attributes described in the article. One time, he was following a link from a company website to another that had an nntp:// [nntp] link that opened up a Usenet group in Outlook on his PC. He responded with internal ravings about "Why is this negative crap on OUR CORPORATE WEBSITE!?"

Yes, we had a CIO that couldn't distinguish between NNTP and HTTP and couldn't tell the difference between Internet Explorer and Outlook.

Re:Article in a nutshell (1)

agbinfo (186523) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527428)

Yes, I stopped reading after I realized that the signs for not hiring a bad CIO are that he doesn't have the required skills.

Things like "goes from one job to another", "doesn't work well with others", "doesn't know what he's talking about" don't help much.

I would have preferred more useful information such as don't hire Mister X who has worked at cie. Z because he's useless. At least I could have contributed to that list.

Re:Article in a nutshell (1)

sowth (748135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527598)

These "bad CIOs" just sound like standard psychopaths [wikipedia.org] . Why not identify the real problem? Avoid hiring psychopaths, no matter what job you give them, they will be trouble no matter what you do. They are more interested in causing trouble and seeing people in pain than doing actual work.

Not just CIOs (1)

Archtech (159117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22533674)

But those are just (some of) the attributes of a bad executive of any sort. The only thing that makes CIOs special is that they are probably the only executives that most slashdotters ever have dealings with.

Bad CIOs do not understand the Tao (5, Insightful)

sticks_us (150624) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526264)

Why are programmers non-productive?
Because their time is wasted in meetings.

Why are programmers rebellious?
Because the management interferes too much.

Why are the programmers resigning one by one?
Because they are burnt out.

Having worked for poor management, they no longer value their jobs.

Re:Bad CIOs do not understand the Tao (3, Insightful)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526550)

>> Why are programmers non-productive?
>> Because their time is wasted in meetings.

You probably come from a different background than me, but in my case this has been the opposite.

Especially in a smaller company without its own fleet of business analysts, meetings are extremely important. The programming team I work with has been non-productive for a long time simply because they've been *doing the wrong thing*.

It doesn't matter how much of an uber-programmer you think you are, if you aren't meeting with the stakeholders before and during the project to make sure you're giving them what they want, then you're wasting not only the programmers' time, but everyone else's time too.

Of course I don't mean to imply that every meeting at every company is valuable :) This has been my experience with project disasters that had to be redone from scratch. All because programmers insisted on doing "their solution" all by themselves instead of actually talking to the stakeholders.

Re:Bad CIOs do not understand the Tao (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526840)

You are confusing meetings with communication. Communication is essential. Meetings are a form of communication. This does not mean that meetings are essential.

Meetings between two people are incredibly productive, but their use drops off dramatically the more people you add. Most of the communication in a large meeting is between some subset of the group, with the rest being bored. Another common trap is to use meetings for one-to-many communication. These are much better handled asynchronously, because otherwise the speaker has to go at the speed of the slowest listener. The only time a meeting is the correct form of communication is when everyone invited to the meeting is an active contributor to the discussion. If someone is just there to listen, their time is probably better spent sending them a copy of the minutes later.

I'd thoroughly recommend the book Peopleware to anyone interested in this subject.

Re:Bad CIOs do not understand the Tao (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22527390)

I'd like to add a caveat that at the very least, programmers should be represented at certain meetings. If not, then many decisions are made in a fashion that is far too top-down for comfort (at least where I work).

I love being briefed about meetings only to discover that software I've written has mysterious features and properties that I did not create! And now these phantom features need to be heavily used/extended on a very tight budget.

Simple rule: no matter what happens, programmers can't win (except if they quit just before everything explodes).

Re:Bad CIOs do not understand the Tao (1)

ukyoCE (106879) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527394)

Agreed, as I said not all meetings are good. In my company the failing has been lack of appropriate communication and meetings.

Too many developers think they know what's right and refuse to communicate with the business/stakeholders to figure out what really is right. Thankfully that boss of mine was finally fired, but we're still left cleaning up his messes.

Re:Bad CIOs do not understand the Tao (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22529120)

Periodic group meetings are very helpful (groups under 10 people), as you can find out who on your team is doing what and articulate roadblocks, which can sometimes be solved or at least moved forward during the meetings. An hour a week should be sufficient, or you can do 15 minute daily standups (hard time limit on that one).

Re:Bad CIOs do not understand the Tao (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22529372)

Unfortunately, under some conditions meetings are the only way to ensure that people that you can't really control actually recieves the communication. Yes, you can send it to them but if you try to follow up "I recieved it but I haven't had time to look at it yet" which now puts you on their time table or if you choose to go ahead the feedback comes out of the blue "Section 3.2 can't work like that, we need to do changes X, Y and Z." at some inconvienient and usually late time.

It's a lot harder to get away if you can say "Well, now that you've heard my presentation what's your opinion?" or "So this is the suggestion outlined in section 3.2, any comments?" Sometimes, but not very often you're in the position to swing the whip and say that the deadline is passed, the solution is frozen, your input is ignored so go away and give feedback on time in the future.

I think my record is having three workshops on exactly the same subject and after that the people that should have been there came in later and said we need to redo this (which I agreed with once I heard what they had to say and why). And for each time they were given all the necessary documentation and presentations and subjects of debate and could have voiced in but didn't. They're the kind of people you should lasso in, tie to the chair and hold a meeting until they either agree or you change the solution, but you don't let them go until you're done. Try handling those without a meeting...

FYI (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530508)

Parent was a quote from The Tao Of Programming [canonical.org] (read it for free there). It's great and I recommend it for every programmer and anyone who manages programmers. The sequel to it, "The Zen of Programming" is still in print, IIRC.

.... or (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526580)

Why are programmers non-productive?
Because their time is wasted in meetings.

or because they spend too much time messing around: working on things they consider interesting, rather than the job they are paid to do

Why are programmers rebellious?
Because the management interferes too much.

or because they have too much spare time and not enough to keep them occupied (Idle hands are the devil's tools)

Why are the programmers resigning one by one?
Because they are burnt out.

or because they are bored and unchallenged. No-one would hire a burn-out, because they're a liability. Better to hire a fresh, energetic employee.

In this alternative view, the fault is still in the management sphere, but is due to them not keeping discipline, enforcing deadlines, high standards, recognising and rewarding good work.

Re:.... or (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527376)

Well, if your alternative view was correct, it would be simple to improve both productivity and morale by

1) Imposing greater discipline over programmers
    a) More closely monitoring their work
    b) Banning Dilbert, /., and other unproductive outlets for programmer time.

2) Increasing workload by laying off some of the programmers and reassigning the work to those remaining

Certainly these methods (a.k.a "the floggings will continue until morale improves") are not uncommon... know of any case where they've actually worked?

Re:.... or... or (1)

agbinfo (186523) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527530)

Why are programmers non-productive?
Because their time is wasted in meetings.
or because they spend too much time messing around: working on things they consider interesting, rather than the job they are paid to do
Or because they can't program; think that their job is writing code and nothing else; can't work with others; ...

Why are programmers rebellious?
Because the management interferes too much.
or because they have too much spare time and not enough to keep them occupied (Idle hands are the devil's tools)
or because they work with the unproductive programmers described above and management who hired them.

Why are the programmers resigning one by one?
Because they are burnt out.
or because they are bored and unchallenged. No-one would hire a burn-out, because they're a liability. Better to hire a fresh, energetic employee.
Or because they find a better salary, or career opportunity, location, working condition, elsewhere.

Re:Bad CIOs do not understand the Tao (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526854)

Well I would think a programmer may want to know what the need to program know the proccess behind it. So meetings can be helpful. Also you can have a say in any changes.

Without management you may not have a job to work on. Or you will need to manage it your self dealing with interdepartmental politics as well explaining when it is. Late.

Often when people get burnt out it is because the fail to act when problems occurs. Tell the boss that you will do the job to best abilites but it is causing stress.

Yes there are bad managers but it sounds like you are focusing more on your job then on what you need to accomplish on your job.

Learn from the bad CIO.... (5, Interesting)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526282)

Blake Edwards said it best when receiving his oscar for life-long achievement: "I want to thank my enemies too. I couldn't've done it without the enemies...."

I reported to a bad CIO for years. First off, the mind of a politician isn't much different from that of a corporate-climber. I found the same mind in my experiences with attornies. It's enough to make anyone appreciate the misanthrope Jonathan Swift. At the core of all these folks is a basic deceptiveness invented, grown and maintained with one single goal: power.

I've read Ringer and I've read Lewis. Ringer says, "Look out for number One." Lewis rebutes (although he wrote this before Ringer by decades), "a life devoid of virtue is simple a life looking out for number one.... and void of its purpose...." Or something to that effect.

I could write a novel containing my thoughts and experiences on the bad CIO, but in short I believe being absent any real talent, being totally goal-oriented and power-hungry, they practice basic machievelian manipulations and mob psychology to intimidate people into staying in line.

In my experience, any true and honest person that happened into an officer position at a corporation is quickly devoured by the meat-eaters.

If you want a life and job filled with honest work, non-game-playing individuals and good sleep at night, then read the signs and minds of those around you, build yourself, bend the questionable intentions of those around you into tools that form who you are, and, as Shakespeare put it, "to thine ownself be true." Eventually, you'll find that job and slowly realize "yes, I'm here. I can just do a fulfilling job and get paid."

Trust me, it happens....

Re:Learn from the bad CIO.... (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526406)

Lewis rebutes

That's a cool word ... a combination of rebuts and refutes. I'm not sure it's in the dictionary though.

Re:Learn from the bad CIO.... (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526420)

lol. i don't write good on a good day. No spell/grammar check ftw!

Love the grammar-nazis. Just don't be an ops-nazi. Really hate those guys in irc channels....

Re:Learn from the bad CIO.... (1)

Filip22012005 (852281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526704)

don't forget 'rebuke'!

no one recognises their own voice (2, Insightful)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526416)

When you play back a recording of someone to that person, they always say "is that really me?" as they don't recognise their voice.

Likewise, when you recount a CIO's (or anyone else's, for that matter) behaviour to them, they won't recognise it as "bad". So there's little point in writing an article on recognising bad CIOs and then publishing it in an article for CIOs. They'll all either agree or disagree on the points, but none will see their own behaviour described there.

From a company's perspective, the only questions that really matter are whether the CIO being interviewed has a record of delivering programmes of work on target, on budget. That they can successfully turn around a failing (but not turn around a successful) IT department and that they positioned the IT dept. to allow a company to grow efficiently.

It doesn't matter if they name-drop or brown-nose. Anyway a hiring CIO just wouldn't recognise the pattern of behaviour - whether they, themselves, are good or bad.

Spotting Bad CIO's. (3, Interesting)

DumbparameciuM (772788) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526454)

This is really quite fascinating. I speak to between ten and thirty CIO's every day as part of my job. The exact number, obviously, depends on how generous their PA's are feeling, and their availability. Part of my job involves speaking to these executives to find out about their current priorities for the department over the course of the next financial year. After reading this, it's frankly astonishing how many of the individuals I've spoken to are guilty of these. Obviously, you can't qualify all of the points discussed in the article through one phone call. The one which stands forward most clearly in my mind was the CIO who crowed at me for a couple of minutes about what his budgets were like, and how he'd just cleared his server room to six blade servers because he'd virtualised so much of the infrastructure and blah blah blah. I spoke to his GM of Infrastructure, who told me that the CIO in question spent almost all of his time in the office, door closed, and would only pop his head out of the office to go to vendor meets or crow about who he was playing golf with that weekend. This GM was doing more of the IT to Business communication that the executive that he directly reported to was doing. I hear stories like this all the time.

Re:Spotting Bad CIO's. (1)

gadget junkie (618542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22529996)

[...]The one which stands forward most clearly in my mind was the CIO who crowed at me for a couple of minutes about what his budgets were like, and how he'd just cleared his server room to six blade servers because he'd virtualised so much of the infrastructure and blah blah blah. I spoke to his GM of Infrastructure, who told me that the CIO in question spent almost all of his time in the office, door closed, and would only pop his head out of the office to go to vendor meets or crow about who he was playing golf with that weekend. This GM was doing more of the IT to Business communication that the executive that he directly reported to was doing. I hear stories like this all the time.


Whilst my job is not in IT, I can sympatize with the GM...unless he rather engineered it that way, like I did.
If you do not angle for the top post (because you like the technicality of your job, because the current management of the company you work for puts Dilbert to shame etc) being number 2 is the best place. You actually spend most of the time doing the job you like; you spend less time in unnerving meetings that vacillate between the obvious and the counterproductive, and more solving problems, especially if no 1 spends his time either in meetings or in his office!!!

What a BS and a waste of time (1)

postmortem (906676) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526484)

How many slashdotters are applying for CIO positions?

Seem like 'bad candidates' for any position... (3, Insightful)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526512)

A lot of these behaviors seem like they should be red flags for any candidate for any position, no?

Re:Seem like 'bad candidates' for any position... (2, Insightful)

CheekyBastard (1142171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530818)

Precisely,

Geeks (primarily IT types) love to believe they are the only employees that have to deal with these problems. Moreover, they believe that all IT types are productive members that do nothing but significantly contribute to a company. An employee is an employee, no matter what field they work in. Some will be great, some will be horrible, and most are nothing more than average.

I am so sick of the PHB vs. IT, CIO vs. IT, users vs. IT, everyone vs. IT complaints. Based upon the majority of posts viewed on Slashdot, I could say that most IT-types are paranoid, self-entitled, whiny babies. See how that generalization works? Some of you will take offense to that; just as I would take offense to you painting all management types with the same brush. People are different, regardless of their chosen profession. Some of you suck, and some of you are great...and the same could be said of all people.

Re:Seem like 'bad candidates' for any position... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531734)

I suspect that if this were a site for salesmen, facilities management, assembly line workers, or any other cohesive group of people, you would find a good deal of similar complaints about how their role in the company is dismissed by hoi polloi. In fact if you poke around you'll find similar forums for lawyers, receptionists, police officers, sales clerks, all with the same general tone.

That is to say, IT are not the only paranoid, self-entitled, whiny babies.

Or, alternatively, it's not just IT who get the raw end of the stick, and are justifiably pissed off about it.

Re:Seem like 'bad candidates' for any position... (1)

Esther Schindler (16185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531132)

Sure... but the higher in the food chain they are, the more damage they can do.

(The corollary, of course, is that a competent executive can have a wide effect in a good way.)

Problem not unique to CIO's (5, Insightful)

Politicus (704035) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526522)

These problems are endemic to executives in general because corporate governance does not work. In theory, the board of directors looks out for shareholder interests and keeps executives in check. In theory, communism is a worker's utopia.

In practice, because shareholder elections are a farce, most boards are compromised by being populated by other executives, typically leading companies in the same or similar industry as the executives they are supposed to oversee. This frees executives from shareholder control, essentially giving them reign over other people's assets. Lavish stock grants entrench executives by giving them share ownership which in turn increases their control over the board.

Freed from oversight, executive goals diverge from shareholder goals. The limits to this divergence are mostly appearance based. You can't appear to be diverging from shareholder goals too much. Image is everything. To achieve this, executives typically vet those they hire based on loyalty. Many employees, while they profess to understand this, do not. So I repeat. To achieve the goal of appearing to promote shareholder values, executives hire first and foremost on the candidate's ability to be loyal to the hiring executive. This results in the typical knuckle dragging tribal culture found leading today's corporations.

Saying that solving this problem is hard, is a major understatement because you are talking about making America's ruling class accountable. Solutions like co-determination do exist, however, but would require the right political climate to implement.

Re:Problem not unique to CIO's (1)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530328)

Wow. You're the first person I've ever seen acknowledge the problem of having one person running / associate with company A being on the board of company B. We need laws preventing this sort of thing.

How to spot a bad CIO (5, Funny)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526562)

  1. Keeps pressing the spacebar to get text centred in Word
  2. Insists on capitalising APPLEMAC, and spelling it all as one word, and saying that they're rubbish in comparison to Windows because there isn't as much software
  3. Asks "what's a linux?" and thinks Tux is vermin
  4. Thinks "sudo" is the command to launch the Sudoku game
  5. Actually believes M$'s and IBM's marketing rubbish and reads IBM's 'CIO thought leadership pieces' every night before going to bed
  6. Constantly sends you E-mails saying "omg bill gates will send u $1000000 if u pass this message to 85000 of ur friends in the next 10 seconds!!!!! omg omg lolz"
  7. Fails to find lolcats funny
  8. Thinks Whose Line Is It Anyway is a high-stakes dramatic game show
  9. Believes having defragged your hard drive once is a qualification to become CIO
  10. Probably has a private golf course

This is your life Randy Mott (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22526594)

Listen to nobody, get rid of the useful applications, keep the crap, layoff thousands, dont listen to the business needs & centralize everything then connect everyone to a centralized data center without upgrading the network infrastructure. It kept Walmart from expanding outside the US without massive problems now you make HP your next little experiment..... 5 min for outlook to the exchange server...thats the mark of a good CIO

ATMI (3, Insightful)

Velcroman98 (542642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526638)

I formerly worked at ATMI, and they employed the dumbest CIO they could find. He has no IT training or knowledge, claiming his managerial accounting background will allow him to do the job. The CEO is a guy that surrounds himself with yes-men, and Kevin Laing is his personal puppy of a CIO.

Kevin hired an infrastructure director, who was trying to gown up in our clean room and couldn't find any left handed rubber gloves. It's no wonder the companies stock has been flatlining for the past 5 years.

Those poor bastards still working there will never get an annual bonus, because the CIO blows the budget horribly every year. The Help Desk manager has run off all the competant staff with full blessing of the CIO, I just don't see any upside to this guy at all. If the CEO and CIO were fired tomorrow, I'd guess there would be a jump in the stock just because they would be gone.

Key attributes of Kevin Laing
  • They overpromise and underdeliver.
  • They don't take ownership of critical issues, nor do they demonstrate accountability for problems, but they're quick to take credit for successes.
  • Instead of working on projects that make meaningful contributions to the company's bottom line, they focus either on projects that will look good on their résumés or on sucking up to executives by giving them Blackberrys and new laptops with wireless Internet connections.
  • They overemphasize project management to the point where 90 percent of the timeline for projects is given over to planning and only 10 percent to implementation.
  • They espouse a different management practice every month.

Re:ATMI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22527528)

Kevin hired an infrastructure director, who was trying to gown up in our clean room and couldn't find any left handed rubber gloves. It's no wonder the companies stock has been flatlining for the past 5 years.

Having worked in clean rooms and other industrial settings, I assure you that there are many types of rubber gloves that come in left-hand & right-hand versions. Other types are ambidextrous.

Re:ATMI (1)

Velcroman98 (542642) | more than 6 years ago | (#22529960)

These were the ambidextrous type!

wrong way to recruit (3, Interesting)

wikinerd (809585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526670)

Bah. The correct way to recruit, for any position not just CIOs, is to look around and identify top talent, then *invite* them to your company. Posting an ad and then trying to decipher resumes is really not an intelligent way to hire anyone, let alone CIOs. You should, of course, post an ad and have a brief look at resumes in case there's some talent out there who has no connections to you or is invisible, so that they have a chance to reach you. But in general, most good talent is visible in some way, so you can watch them from a distance, identify their weaknesses and strengths, and then invite them when you need them (this of course doesn't guarantee that they will come, but it is for this reason that you should always keep a list of multiple potential CIOs that you could invite rather than just 1).

As for the article... it suggests CIOs who change company too often might be bad. That's not an indicator of anything. That's not even a good heuristic. They may change employers for a great number of reasons, only some of them having even the slightest to do with their own performance, and many times the performance of a person is contingent on their environment. A resume cannot tell you anything about a person or their future performance. Academic degrees, even from top tier schools, mean nothing, and you cannot even trust references as you never know how and why a person recommends another, and basing your decisions on past employment record is not useful if you can't know what they were doing while being employed there (they could be playing chess all day thanks to them being the son of the company's president, etc).

There is only one way to know whether a person will perform well: you have a set of requirements, and the person in front of you claims they can satisfy them. The way to know rather than guess their future performance is to *test* them, in real or near-real environments.

How to test a CIO? You first have to identify what a CIO has to do within your company. Oftentimes, CIOs design processes and rules for information sharing, protection, and processing. So, if in your company you find that your CIO will likely spend their time coming up with improved processes and monitoring them, then why not get them do exactly that during the interview instead of trying to guess the unguessable from a resume or asking stupid interview questions with no meaning? One thing you could do is to have them manage a small team composed of employees in your company for 15 mins or half an hour or so, asking the wannabe CIO to devise rules that would enable the team to finish a simple virtual job quickly over the company's LAN, then simply hire the CIO who were able to make the team work faster during these 15 mins. This may cost some money, though, so you could build a computer simulation to do the same: the simulation would model some essential business processes, and the wannabe CIO would have to think of ways to let the simulated business components share information in the most effective way, then you would configure the simulator to run the policies the CIO suggested (or chosen from a multiple choice menu), and you would keep the time. Assuming the simulator was built in an intelligent way to capture the essential parameters of reality (which isn't an easy task, of course, which is why I recommend using real human teams for testing if you can spare some time), the CIO who thought of a policy that led the simulation finish faster would get hired. This doesn't even need to be done during the interview, it can be done remotely, eg over a Web-administered pre-hiring test, so you would need to invest absolutely no time and money in testing wannabe CIOs from the moment you build the test. One word of warning, though: the test must be built as to encompass emergent characteristics and complex noninear behaviours, just like real life, so that no one can predict the simulator's run time from the initial parameters.

And another word of warning: Some talent dislikes being tested too much, which is why you shouldn't ask them to be tested for more than 15-30mins at a maximum, and only once.

Re:wrong way to recruit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22528228)

You're pretty much wrong about the changing company thing. I've been in this business for 25+ years. Changing jobs every 2-3 years is almost surely a sign of a poor CIO.

They promise the world to get the job. Once in they say it will take 6 months to a year (usually a year) to analyze everything and formulate a plan. They start to implement their "solution" and say it will take another year to 2 years to see the benefits. Knowing the plan is just another pile of crap, they bail before it becomes extremely obvious to everyone that it's a catastrophic failure. Sometimes upper management remains blind to the end, being extremely disappointed that the "talent" has left. Oh yes, then the managers they brought along with them either leave quite soon or are dumped off to the side because the new management figures they're just waiting to get their job offer at the other company.

In the mean time all the real talent has left because of the "solution". Everything has been outsourced to places where staff has a 40% turnover rate because they'll leave for another job paying 3-5K more or the staff is immediately dumped onto another project so the knowledge is gone for enhancements. Then another CIO "talent" will come in and repeat the process. Fact not fiction and have seen it happen at least half a dozen times. One guy was so bad they actually sued him. Many of these guys are in it for one reason only, the money (and to some extent the power trip).

Re:wrong way to recruit (2, Insightful)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531308)

As for the article... it suggests CIOs who change company too often might be bad. That's not an indicator of anything. That's not even a good heuristic.

I disagree. It's at the very least an indicator of changing companies frequently.

In some positions, you can live with turnover. Others really benefit from continuity. In my mind, that includes a lot of technical and accounting positions, the C*O level included. In those positions, the more history you know, the more effective you are.

Especially with software development and IT infrastructure, there are a lot of ways to get the job done, and each person has their strengths. Change key people too often, and you'll pay a lot to switch approaches over and over, without seeing any real payoff.

Bad sign #7 (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526772)

A CIO with a liberal arts degree who thinks he knows all about Engineering and Technology.

Re:Bad sign #7 (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526972)

As a CCNA and certified ericsson PABX tech with a liberal arts degree (honours in pol sci actually!!!) I should take offence

though as a slashdot reader I would rather laugh along with you through gritted teeth

arts degrees teach you some valuable skills missing in some vocational courses. If said CIO has enough experience in the field then what degree he/her has is irrelevant.

I would rather follow a cio who has a liberal arts degree, then couldn't find a good paying lobbying job so went helpdesk, level 2 engineer, level 3 engineer, manager, project manager, dept manager, CIO than an IT graduate who went straight into management

Re:Bad sign #7 (4, Insightful)

Etyenne (4915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527918)

Personally, I would rather be led by a CIO with a Liberal Arts degree than one with a MBA, but that's just me.

He? (3, Informative)

Crafty Spiker (1225838) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526894)

The absolutely worst IT executive I ever had the displeasure to work for was a woman. Arrogant, rude and completely unqualified. It turns out that she had quite a horrid reputation in her prior jobs. Made a complete mess of things and then moved along to another (local) company where she proceeded to make the same mess. I will give her points for consistency. This all appears to be simply a matter of empty suits finding one of their own for critical executive positions. To my regret I was out the day that IT became a political space and not a technical one.

Re:He? (2, Interesting)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527466)

I think I know this woman! Was it a large insurance company on the NW side of Chicago? Seriously, though, I don't know if it is true or not, but some high level women think that in order to get men's respect, they need to be twice as arrogant and rude and in-your-face as a man would be. But it probably isn't even gender specific. I think the more unqualified you are, the more you have to be loud, arrogant, and rude to get people to stop questioning you.

The ego train (5, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526932)

The cult of personality CIO is probably the most destructive and wasteful of all of them. They're particularly dangerous in government. The last big contract I worked had one. He brought in "his" people to manage projects. Some of them were, in my opinion, charity cases. A couple had qualifications that included boarding their horses at the same riding academy. They had unproductive jobs and were bossy and abrasive on top of that. I watched them waste millions of dollars, produce nothing tangible or productive, then get promoted. The talented people took other jobs and left.

It's very demoralizing when you're trying to do the right thing for the customer and be cost effective, then see someone ride in with his toadies, blow millions on something that never had a chance of working in the first place, then get moved up the chain. Makes you question if there's a margin in being practical and productive. I always thought that if you made good business decisions in IT, the customer would eventually come back to the value proposition. But it doesn't always work that way and I'm starting to question whether that's naive.

I certainly have several first-hand experiences where the incompetent, impractical and wasteful have flourished.

Re:The ego train (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531732)

You need to go work for another company.  Good ones are out there.  Just keep looking.

The toads will self-destruct at some point.

A funny but sad example (2, Interesting)

COredneck (598733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22526946)

I use to work at this gov't facility. The CIO is something like a "perfumed prince". Retired Army Colonel who graduated from West Point, got his Ph.D. from U. of Virginia. East Coast bred and pedigree. Even though it was before my time to work in the place, he implemented some morale reduction edicts. He is still there today. It was not a fun place to work in considering the petty rules.
  • Implemented a strict dress code that applies at all times including weekends and nights. Facility operates on a 24/7 schedule
  • Not allow for Hawaiian shirts on Fri even though it is a military tradition
  • Not permit flex scheduling like leave early on Friday's
  • Schedule an all-hands meeting for 3 or 4 on Friday afternoon and did that routinely.
  • Implement strict rules on Internet surfing such as not allowing you to change options on IE. Firefox and Netscape not allowed. The options does not allow you to bypass pop-up commercials.
  • Put in a boat load of offices and cubicles in the basement but did not put in matching capacity for bathrooms. People complained and his response that if you didn't have to wait more than 20 minutes to use the toilet, then it is considered sufficient.
  • On the subject of bathrooms, when he went to use the toilet, he would kick everyone else out.
  • Implemented a traffic safety hotline where you can get reported for speeding and then get disciplined when you got into work. He tried to implement a vehicle inspection program since he complained about modified vehicles such as trucks and his pet peeve was dark window tinting. Luckily he was shot down on that.
Overall, this person thought he was so important.

Re:A funny but sad example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22527268)

He might have been important enough to hurt the organization significantly :).

Re:A funny but sad example (1)

Lewrker (749844) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527392)

Workers' union ?

Re:A funny but sad example (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22528526)

Workers' union ?

A couple of off-duty cops would probably be just as effective, and cheaper too.

People will treat you as poorly as you let them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22531858)

Why would you work for a person like that?

If your boss called you in and said "You were driving fast", what would you say? My response would be "yeah, so what?". If your boss said "you changed your browser", my response would be "yeah, so what?" (in fact, my PC is so non-standard everybody knows just not to look at it anymore).

The worst that can happen to you is getting fired. If you're not afraid of that, then what's left for your boss to do? I just got a new boss about 5 months ago (a "C" level), after a few weeks, I sat down with him and said "My old boss still works in this company, and she'll tell you that I'm unmanageable. I'm too old to change and so are you, so we'll have to learn to live with each other just the way we are". He chuckled and we've had an excellent working relationship. If he wouldn't have liked my little sermon, then I probably would have quit. No use him and me making each other miserable.

Let me put it another way, and in my 27 year IT career (quite successful, thanks), I've adopted one simple maxim:

    "If I'm going to get fired, I'm going to get fired for doing the right thing"

And it lets me sleep at night without worrying about anything.

Re:People will treat you as poorly as you let them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22532106)

Why would you work for a person like that?

Not much choice in the matter. The company I worked for told me to work at that facility. Luckily I was far enough down the food chain that I didn't have to deal with him. On the computer settings, they are enforced administratively. The options to block pop-ups or not are simply "greyed" out - you couldn't change the setting. On loading better alternative web browsers, couldn't be done unless you had administrative privileges. Getting the alternative browsers required special permission from your manager plus the CIO himself.

"If I'm going to get fired, I'm going to get fired for doing the right thing"

That is a good maxim. I always lived by that as well. I have gotten in trouble many times for following that.

- CORedneck

Here's a summary... (1)

Chysn (898420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527082)

...for those not wanting to read TFA: "Check References."

Re:Here's a summary... (2, Informative)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527220)

Here in the USA at least, it's only possible to check good references.
Nobody dares give bad references anymore, for fear of being sued.

Re:Here's a summary... (1)

triso (67491) | more than 6 years ago | (#22528956)

Here in the USA at least, it's only possible to check good references.
Nobody dares give bad references anymore, for fear of being sued.
Nonsense! A small pact between professionals is all that's needed, "You can give me the dirt and I will promise not to tell where I heard it." Then dismiss the candidate with a simple and vague, "I'm sorry, we have other candidates who are better qualified for the position."

Re:Here's a summary... (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531372)

Here in the USA at least, it's only possible to check good references. Nobody dares give bad references anymore, for fear of being sued.

I don't think this matters at all. Honestly, I'm not sure anybody ever gave bad references. Why would somebody put down a reference if he knew it would be bad? And unless somebody was a colossal ass, why would you dish dirt on them to a stranger? Most people are nice, and will say nice things.

So given that all references always say good things, what good are they? Well, the trick is in the questions you ask. You don't just ask what they thought of Joe. You ask for Joe's strong points. You ask what kind of support Joe will need to be most effective. You ask them to tell a story about some project they worked on with Joe. You ask about Joe's work habits. You ask them what they think the perfect job for Joe would be.

With questions like that, you can tell the people being polite (or the ones afraid of lawyers) from the people who really mean it.

Re:Here's a summary... (1)

Chysn (898420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22534638)

> Here in the USA at least, it's only possible to check good references.
> Nobody dares give bad references anymore, for fear of being sued.

That, of course, is hyperbole; and anyway, nobody has ever been sued for damning with faint praise.

Re:Here's a summary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22527456)

Dogbert: I can't say anything about former employees. HR Dude: Oh. Dogbert: I'm willing to talk about the weather, though. HR Dude: OK... Dogbert: The clouds are moving lazily across the sky, and everybody thinks they're stupid.

The CIO website is such an eye-sore (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527476)

Man, I tried to read the article, but I just couldn't get past how aweful the CIO website is. It's like a case study on how NOT to design a website. Articles that are broken into 10 pages, with each 'page' being 2-3 paragraphs. Pages where *90 percent* of the page is NOT THE ARTICLE but crap surrounding the article. Page design that uses absolute layouts that cause about 40 percent of the available space on my widescreen display to be filled with empty nothingness.

The Board of Directors at CIO need to fire their Bad CIO and get one who can bring in a team that'll make their website not suck.

The next step: How to Prevent Bad CIOs (1)

conark (871314) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527096)

I wrote up a little follow up on my article (I won't show it for fear of being /.'d). But I think a good follow up question to this article is how to prevent these people from either getting to this level or staying. I've been in two separate companies where someone on the IT executive level (either a director or CIO) fell into what was outlined in the article. Being that in both places they worked in Japan, I think most people felt compelled not to rebel as most staff here almost never voice their concerns. However, in both instances there were high turn over rates. In one company, long after I left, the director got kicked out (he claimed personal issues). In the first situation, eventually people in management heard about what was going on and gave him the boot. He couldn't find a job anymore in Tokyo because he developed a terrible reputation around town, spread by others who were terrorized by him and his henchmen. In the other case, all the IT staff is far too weak to speak up, especially as the CIO continues to replace all the key tech management positions with his people. I still have friends in that company and I feel bad for them coming under pressure. Still, I feel that the IT staff should have the ability to do something from within to protest the fact that these executive types are viruses and do more harm to the industry than anything else. I've had different ideas like IT unions, stricter contracts, feedback systems to HR, limited terms, the inability to poach from previous positions, and even a higher degree of accountability when certain goals are not met (kinda like how CEOs and CFOs are even more responsible than before in public companies). Anyway, it would be interesting to hear others' opinions on this matter.

How to Identify Bad CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CFOs .... (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527282)

How can You Identify Bad CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CFOs (C?O) .... in Their Natural Habitat?

Bad C?Os are a blight on the the organizations that employ them, national business community, academic reputations, domestic and international economics, and the health and welfare of the public. The list of behaviors common among bad C?Os will prevent you from hiring them into your organizations. If they're already there, it will give you good reason to eliminate them. The list is summarized by the bottom line.

In simplistic terms does the C?O proportionally profit more-than the company and stock-holders/investors.

In simplistic terms does a politician proportionally profit more-than the public, teachers, first responders, warriors ....

In simplistic terms does the cleric proportionally profit more-than the believers of the myths.

IOW/IMO: Profiting by fraud/scam is evil and amoral, but may not be criminal/illegal; So, I never show anyone of great wealth and faux-power any respect until they earn it with me personally. Many wealthy, not all, well maybe most are amoral back stabbing, cruel, evil people of small mental and emotional stature, but their sociopathic personalty skills are guilt-free exceptional. POTUS Dick Chaney is a prime example, VPOTUS Carl Rove another example, (Puppet) PPOTUS GWBush a pitiful dogmatic dummy for the other two clowns that have harmed far more than they will ever help.

As Winston would say, 'Never have so few done so much harm too so many Citizens in the history of the USA!'

As FDR would say, 'We had nothing to fear; Except our leaders, whom will live forever in infamy for treason against The USA Constitution and US Citizens!'

Re:How to Identify Bad CEOs, CIOs, CTOs, CFOs .... (2, Insightful)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527382)

> Profiting by fraud/scam is evil and amoral,

Eh? How can something be both evil AND amoral?

n6kuy, you win, you're right "AND" should be "OR" (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22531580)

The evil person knows when they perform immoral activities and decides to allow or perform the evil/immoral act.

The amoral person never considers morality (right/wrong) of their actions and decides to allow or perform the act.

The amoral person is not evil, the amoral person is totally fucking nuts, and a significant danger to people around them.

The evil person is not insane, but is a significant danger to people around them. If the evil person was POTUS, then there is a (Hitler-Level) significant danger to humanity.

Also, n6kuy, next time ... if you're going to flame my english/spelling please add a few comments about the concepts/content presented. Is the POTUS Chaney? Is the POTUS nuts or evil? Can the POTUS be considered (conceptually) a C*O?

We need a LIST! (3, Insightful)

Cragen (697038) | more than 6 years ago | (#22527446)

We don't need a list of what they do! We need a list of who they are! So we can check it when job hunting. Now that would be helpful.

Updward Feedback (4, Interesting)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22528410)

I think a big problem in most organizations is insufficient bottom-up feedback. A CIO may be a great kiss-up to the CEO, but may otherwise be a crappy manager. If a formal process was put in place such that underlings ranked their supervisors, then the bad ones would either have to shape up or ship out.

One interesting approach is a list of about 15 traits, and employees pick the top 3 that the manager needs to improve on. This avoids a "blunt" ranking that many organizations dislike, but at least gives the top layer feedback on the biggest problems.

What about bad CEOs? (2, Informative)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#22528820)


An outfit I worked for a few years ago had a good CIO and IT department, when measured against other companies IT departments. But we were (and I stress were) a great engineering and manufacturing company. IT was, in times past, only a tool used in that busiiess process.


At some point, the folks on mahogany row became bedazzled with the culture of information and forgot exactly what it was that we were supposed to be doing. In corporate speak, they neglected their core competencies. The IT department did a great job in standardizing processes and tools and upgrading systems where cost/benefits warranted it. But this was all measured with metrics viewed from the information systems side of the house, not the production side.


Pretty soon, we had cheap and efficient IT systems. But the engineering and production systems suffered where their requirements didn't meet the IT template. Processes that had been developed to give our company an edge over our competition were dropped in favor of using industry standard tools.


I'm certain that our CIO will receive the respect and admiration that he deserves along his career path. He did what he promised, within schedule, budget and with quality. But our profit margins and market share suffered as we became a commodity.


Unless your business is the IT business (Google, Microsoft, etc.) they are just tools folks. Far too many CEOs and BoDs were dazzled by the shinney server racks.



Interesting note: About a decade ago, when we were looking for better ideas and processes, our managers traveled to Japan to see how companies like Toyota and others achieved their efficiencies and profits. Along with lots of good process ideas, they brought back an interesting observation. The Japanese hadn't really bought into big enterprise-wide IT systems. Some of their best processes used clip-boards and paper.

What's the Point? They'll Get a Reward (3, Interesting)

Jeramy (123761) | more than 6 years ago | (#22528836)

Ours got CIO of the Year!
http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=204702770 [informationweek.com]

This was a running joke inside our company as the man was considered woefully incompetent and borderline retarded by all who worked in IT. His true gift was looking like CIO and convincing IT magazines that he was good.

You'll laugh (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22532920)

Last year, we got our IT department in the top 10 Infoweek's list of "best" IT departments, despite the fact that we're the worst. We did it as a goof, and got away with it. Pretty damned funny. Even the CIO didn't quite believe it.

So, it's hard to take any of those lists seriously.

No one dares report a bad CIO (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 6 years ago | (#22528968)

... because they hope that the bad CIO will do to the competition what he/she has just finished doing to the current company.

One bad sign (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22530012)

Offshoring is a recommendation, and they aren't talking about oil.

the exec staff are stupid enough to have a cio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22530368)

CIO job is a joke. Some stupid bunch of exec-staff decided to have a pal in the board room to help their way through email and attachments and accessing their portfolio. So they founded a new job Chief Information Officer. IT is part of the company operations and only a small part that encourages the use of computers. I see that in many companies cost of IT and its maintenance is more than the cost of the company operations without IT. Exec staff don't care and that is because IT projects are many a times unreviewed. Many suits are still unaware of the actual cost of IT and the overhead every department incurs and the savings/loss for each department.

bad CIO's (1)

sglines (543315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22534832)

I've worked for some very good and some really bad CIO's. The one thing every bad CIO had in common was that they were ex-DEC executives. This is not a judgment just an observation. SG
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