JB HOMER Retained Executive Search, specializing in executive search for technology and operations talent in a global market

Press Release - October 23, 2012


It's been quite a year with lots of changes and we continue to see the market improving. It is my pleasure to introduce the newest member of our team Louis Gerzofsky as Director of Technology Recruitment and Executive Coaching. This article reflects Louis's thoughts on communication issues at the C-Level.


A friend of mine who is a senior partner with a global IT consultancy recently shared a story with me that's as good an illustration as any of the communication issues that are really behind so many technology vs. business rivalries.

According to my friend, his firm's CIO and CMO were in a meeting during which the CMO presented a unique looking idea that she believed would dramatically accelerate the firm's push into China. The CMO wanted to move her idea out the door within a week's time, at the latest.

The CIO, however, proposed a different timetable: thirty to forty days for launch, at minimum. He explained that there were many issues (budgeting, best practices, risk management, to name but a few) that needed to be defined and examined before he could sign off on any major project.

And that's how the meeting ended...

Several weeks later the CIO, while immersed in a completely new set of issues, received a laudatory phone call from a well known industry blogger, who couldn't stop raving about the new digital marketing campaign that the CIO's firm had just launched into China.

The CIO managed to keep a calm demeanor while he inwardly fumed about what had gone on behind his back. As it turned out, the CMO was not about to lose precious time to her competition so she picked up the phone and called one of the many IT vendors who directly approached her in the hope that they could peel away some of her budget in behalf of one of her pet projects.

Now, in addition to every other challenge on the CIO's plate, he had to deal with a shadow IT program blossoming in the marketing department, gaining notoriety and drawing credibility away from IT's domain. He also had to sit through a meeting with his very angry COO who reminded him that he didn't have the time or patience to play mediator - yet again - between two of his key executives.

The CIO was a respected leader in his firm and widely known throughout his industry as a savvy executive who always protected his organization from the kinds of scandals that landed in the newspapers and frightened away clients. Indeed, he had always considered himself to be a 'transformational' leader who closely aligned himself with the needs of the business.

The COO ended up 'asking' the CIO to spend a few sessions with an executive coach. While he was reluctant and resistant during the first couple of sessions, the CIO eventually realized that his risk management hat had evolved over time into more of a helmet, protecting his organization nearly to the point of stasis. A risk management strategy that had once earned him favorable mentions in industry publications had morphed into a strategy that successfully avoided change; it had become excessively inward and rear window in its approach, preventing his department from creatively engaging with his firm's more dynamic and future oriented executive leaders.

After a few more sessions with the coach - sessions that eventually included the CMO as well as several other members of the firm's executive leadership team - the CIO was able to begin the critical task of regaining the trust and cooperation of his executive peers by proactively seeking them out and listening to their ideas and challenges and converting his IT department from one that had operated on its own timetable to one that was more agile and focused on operating on its business's timetable.

*       *       *       *

If you'd like to share a favorite story with me and our community that deals with a specific career challenge that you successfully overcame (or are currently wrestling with) you can contact me via our Online Contact Form. We can all learn from one another's experiences and hopefully avoid some of the pitfalls that others encountered.

Share this article: