What’s The Best Way For A CIO To Communicate?

by drjim on February 21, 2018

Communication is key to the CIO job

Communication is key to the CIO job
Image Credit:
Harald Link

When you hold the CIO position, because of the importance of information technology you have a great deal of responsibility. This means that you have to come up with ways to let everyone who works for you know what you want them to accomplish. In a word, you have to communicate. As easy as this may sound to do, it turns out that it’s actually quite difficult to do well. All too often we’ll think that we’re doing a good job, but then we’ll discover that the people that we’ve been talking to are confused and don’t understand what we need them to do. We need to become better communicators.

The Challenge Of Communicating Well

One of the biggest mistakes that I see CIOs making is that they believe that when they have an opportunity to communicate with a group of their staff, they need to impress them. The believe that in some way they need to justify the fact that they are CIO and in order to get everyone to agree that this was a good decision, they are going to have to say some very impressive things. It turns out that they are wrong.

In order to impress a group of IT professionals, CIOs generally like to pull out the complexity card. This means that what they are going to do is to create a speech that is dense with information and contains a lot of very complicated things. They believe that by delivering a complicated speech they will be seen as being a very smart person.

What these people in the CIO position are missing is that in reality complexity does not equal intellect. These CIOs fear that if they make something too simple, it will show a lack of intelligence on their part. In reality, their failure to simplify what they will be talking about shows a lack of confidence on their part. There is even a name for this: the Too Simple Syndrome.

How A CIO Can Communicate Clearly

If a CIO wants to clearly communicate to members of his or her department, then they have to avoid the Too Simple Syndrome, and show confidence in simplicity. This all starts by you deciding to not cover more than three major points when you are talking with a group. Within each of these three groups, limit yourself to providing no more than three pieces of information. If you find it hard to do this, then you need to take the time to better understand what you’ll be talking about.

One of the sad facts of life is that when you are talking with a group, they will not remember everything that you tell them. You need to realize this going in. This means that from the three main pieces of information that you are going to be providing them with, you need to pick just one of them as your “main point”. This is going to be the point that you’ll have to clarify the best.

Finally, it is possible to have too much to say. When you are planning out what you’ll be saying, you need to boost your credibility by limiting what you say. What this means for you is that you are going to have to learn how to be precise with both your words and any arguments that you make. The good news here is that the harder you work to simplify your presentation, the better you will come to understand what you’ll be saying.

What All Of This Means For You

CIOs are leaders. This means that we need to clearly communicate to the team that we lead what we need them to do for us. This is a challenging task and there are a number of ways to go about doing it incorrectly. We need to learn how to do a good of communicating.

The first thing that we need to realize is that a lot of CIOs do a bad job of communicating. In order to make themselves look good, they attempt to use any communication opportunity to make things complicated so that they sound important. What generally happens is that the people that they are talking with end up being confused and walk away not knowing what they should be doing. A much better way to go about communicating with team members is to limit yourself to just three main items. Pick one of these items and make sure that it will be the one that people will remember after you are done. As you review your material, feel free to eliminate material to make what you are saying more precise.

Good communication skills are never easy. However, all CIOs should realize that this is a skill that can be learned. Take the time to identify exactly what you want to say and then simplify it and limit your main points to just three. Carefully crafting what you want to say will yield dividends as the people that you talk with start to understand what you want them to do.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: What should a CIO do if they have more than three things that they want to communicate to their team?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

CIOs have discovered that they have a bit of a problem on their hands. The equipment that General Electric (GE) sells, power plant electrical gear, etc. to run factories is so big and so complex that nobody really understands how to use it correctly. The GE products can be tuned to run at a peak level, but nobody knows what controls should be set to what values or when. This is a problems that the person who has the CIO job is going to have to step in and solve.

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Are CIOs Ready For The Arrival Of Chatbots?

by drjim on February 14, 2018

Chatbots may change how we communicate, are you ready?

Chatbots may change how we communicate, are you ready?
Image Credit:
John Pasden

One of the biggest challenges that any CIO has is trying to stay on top of all of the different buzzwords that seem to spring up daily in the world of IT in order to remain tapped into the importance of information technology. Well guess what, yet another one has just shown up on the scene: chatbot. This one just might be important because it appears to be a way that your firm may be able to hold a conversation with up to a billion people.

What Is A Chatbot?

By now every person with the CIO job is well aware of who Facebook is. It’s that massive social networking company that has quickly become so popular that over a billion people have signed up to use it. As you can well imagine, there are a lot of different parts to the Facebook service. One poplar service that is provided by Facebook is called “Messenger”. Messenger allows users to exchange phone calls, have video chats, take pictures and videos, and participate in group chats.

Realizing the popularity of Messenger, Facebook has taken things a step further. They have now decided to open up the interface to Messenger to outside applications. What this means is that companies now have the ability to create virtual assistants who can interact with the 1 billion Facebook users who make use of the Messenger feature each month.

As you can well imagine, any time Facebook does something the world reacts. The opening of the Messenger interface has resulted in (so far) 33,000 chatbots – applications that make use of the Messenger interface – being created. Each of these chatbots is given a name by their creator and they end up looking just like other contacts that a Messenger user might choose to connect with.

What Can You Do With A Chatbot?

Great, so you can create an application that can interface to Facebook’s Messenger application. What’s the big deal says the person in the CIO position. Well, it is a big deal. As an example of what can be done, the credit card company MasterCard has just released a chatbot that they call “Kai” that allows credit card users to use Facebook’s Messenger service to check on activity on their credit cards as well as setting up financial management tools.

As your company’s CIO you need to realize that we are at the starting point of something that could become quite big. There are a lot of IT departments out there that are starting to place bets that we are going to be seeing the convergence of messaging platforms like Messenger, chatbots, and artificial intelligence that will in the end allow for a better interface between customers and the company’s applications.

What CIOs are starting to predict is that chatbots will have the capability to eventually act as the new interface into corporate applications. In the future, instead of requiring a customer to visit a specific web page in order to deal with a specific issue, the plan would be for them to start to have a conversation with a chatbot. This chatbot would already know the customer’s habits and could use machine learning and custom algorithms to make appropriate suggestions to the user. The trick will be to get the chatbot to not act too much like a real human or too much like a computer.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the challenges of being a CIO is that you have to stay current with all of the trends that sweep though the IT field. Right now we are finding ourselves in the middle of yet another one of these trends. Facebook, the huge social media company, has just allowed outside firms to develop applications that interface to their popular Messenger application.

What this means to CIOs is that they now have a way for their company to talk directly with the over one billion people who use the Messenger application every month. This has proved very popular and over 33,000 chatbots have already been created to make use of this new interface. This new way of talking with your customers means that you will now have a better way to interface your customers to your company’s applications. Chatbots may be the new interface to corporate applications and no longer will customers have to go to a unique web page to conduct a transaction, instead they will just have a conversation with a chatbot.

It’s pretty clear that yet another new technology has just shown up on our doorstep. Now as CIOs we need to take the time to determine what we are going to be willing to do with this new technology. Using chatbots we can now do a better job of connecting with our company’s customers. Get your team looking into this new technology and find out what it can do for you!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that the use of chatbots is going to create any security issues for CIOs?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental Successful CIO Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental Successful CIO Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

When you hold the CIO position, because of the importance of information technology you have a great deal of responsibility. This means that you have to come up with ways to let everyone who works for you know what you want them to accomplish. In a word, you have to communicate. As easy as this may sound to do, it turns out that it’s actually quite difficult to do well. All too often we’ll think that we’re doing a good job, but then we’ll discover that the people that we’ve been talking to are confused and don’t understand what we need them to do. We need to become better communicators.

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