Five Ways To Be A Rebel CIO

May 1, 2015 by

“To see what is in front of one’s nose is a constant struggle.” George Orwell

I recently wrote a piece for CIO Story, and it’s gotten me thinking about the concept of rebellion as it relates to innovation, continuous improvement, and disruption.

“Human beings, by change, renew rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.” Goethe

Given it’s May 1, which really should be the official start of spring in these northern climes (we just frustrate ourselves by thinking spring starts in March), seemed a good time to be thinking more deeply about rebellion. And I believe this starts with rebelling against yourself, against the habits that have created the pathways you follow.

  1. Learn something new every day, that has nothing to do with your job. This will provide insight into a challenge or an opportunity that either is or has yet to be. I listened to an NPR piece on the water situation in California, and it got me thinking about the flow of information and data in a way I hadn’t before.
  2. Recognize that you are wrong. The next time you are convinced you have the answer, approach it as if your answer is wrong. Write down something that is opposite and scribble down a few steps that would deliver that opposite approach. It’s uncomfortable, but if you make it a habit, you’ll see pathways you hadn’t before.
  3.  Ask for help with something you know how to do. We are creatures of habit. If you know how to create a pivot table in Excel, go find someone in your workplace or home and say “can you help me figure this out?” Pay close attention to how they approach the task.
  4. Go to lunch or coffee with someone you don’t know well, and only ask questions (OK, other than ordering your food). When you restrain yourself from providing answers, the learning will be greater.
  5.  Do something with the items 1 thru 4, above. Prove to yourself and others that you can change for the better. Pass the rebellion along.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” Goethe


Invest in your farm team. Insightful content from Boston Red Sox VP of IT Brian Shield. Salient quote: “Never stop recruiting. If you are trying to find the right person at the exact time you need them, your logic is flawed,”

In the equivalent of TMZ for the IT industry, many of us are watching the salesforce acquisition rumors closely. There’s so many articles on the topic I hesitate to select just one. Just type “salesforce acquisition” in any search engine.

Good insight: In addition to conducting exit interviews when people leave, conduct “stay interviews” with people who’ve been around a while. We need to understand more about what incentivizes people to stick with organizations.

As I was looking up one of the Goethe quotes, along the side was an advertisement for fitness bands and insurance. Does the internet think I’m going to start exercising more and hurt myself?




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