How CIOs Can Get Travel Expenses Under Control

by drjim on November 19, 2014

CIOs can end up spending a lot of their limited budget on travel

CIOs can end up spending a lot of their limited budget on travel
Image Credit

As the person with the CIO job one of your greatest challenges is to find ways to keep your department’s spending under control on top of the everyday challenge of letting the rest of the company know about the importance of information technology. One of the biggest drains on your budget can be travel expenses. What you need to do is to find a way to keep your travel expenses under control without appearing to come across as an overbearing boss.

The Problems With Micromanagement

Let’s face it, expense reports are just one of those annoying things that are a part of everyday life in business. I think that everyone knows this. However, expense reports are also a gateway to misbehavior.

All too often your employees will think that nobody is looking when they fill out their expense reports. What this means is that the story that their expense report tells may stray from what really happened on their business trip. The reasons for this can be varied.

Sure, there is the employee who is just looking to scam some extra cash from the company. However, there is also the employee who feels that they’ve been slighted by the company because it wouldn’t pay for a meal that was too expensive or a hotel that was not on the approved list. You can see that your employees can probably justify almost any expense to themselves.

Right now your only line of defense against improper expenses on an employee’s expense report is your finance department. Or should I say your overworked finance department. They don’t know what kind of trip your employee went on or why they went. They’ll be able to catch any glaring errors, but it’s really the little stuff that will kill your IT budget in the end.

How To Keep Travel Expenses Under Control

As person in the CIO position you have the double challenge of trying to find ways to keep your IT budget under control while not coming across to your employees as being an overbearing boss. What this means is that you need to find a way to ensure that only accurate expense reports get turned in while keeping yourself out of the process.

A great way to go about making this happen is to make all expense reports public knowledge. Every time an employee turns in an expense report, convert it into HTML and publish it as a web page on your company’s Intranet.

What this is going to do, very quickly, is to make everyone realize that there may be a lot of eyeballs looking at their every expense report. People who went with the employee on the trip will be the first ones to be able to identify when there is something out of whack with an expense report. Your employees will quickly learn that if they try to pull any quick ones, they will be found out by their peers.

What All Of This Means For You

In addition to staying on top of trends in technology and what they mean for the company, as CIO you are also responsible for managing the IT department’s budget. A key part of this budget can be travel expenses and finding a way to keep them under control is an important part of your job as CIO.

The one thing that you don’t want to do is to come across to your department staff as being a micromanager. If you devote a significant part of your time to reviewing people’s expense reports and then asking them questions about the travel decisions that they’ve made, then this is how you’ll be seen. A much better way is to make all expense reports public. By making it easy for other employees to view someone’s expense report, you’ll enlist more eyeballs to keep everyone under control and expenses in line.

The trick to being a successful CIO is manage your IT department in a way that doesn’t make your department feel like they are being managed. Making expense reports public is a great way to make this happening. Let the power of public inspection do your management work for you!

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

Question For You: What do you think a CIO should do if staff discover a problem with a travel expense report?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Congratulations CIO: the world that you are operating in has become a lot more complex lately. What this means for you is that you’re going to have to determine what the new rules are for being successful in this world are and how to maximize the importance of information technology for your company. One area that is going to require a great deal of study on your part is the complex world of social networking: what is permitted and what is going too far?

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How Can CIOs Command The Room During A Speech?

by drjim on November 12, 2014

It's not enough to just give a speech, you have to command the room

It’s not enough to just give a speech, you have to command the room

Image Credit

One of the joys (?) of being the person with the CIO job is that you often get asked to make speeches where you can talk about the importance of information technology. Everyone thinks that you know what is going to happen in the future and they are hoping that if they can get you to deliver a speech, you just might let a hint of the future slip out. These are great career opportunities; however, in order to make the most of them you need to know how to command the room during your speech.

It’s All About Persuasion

All too often people in the CIO position, who are technical people by their very nature, show up when it’s time to give a presentation and attempt to communicate everything that they know about a topic with their audience. Another word for this type of presentation is “dumping”. The problem with this is that once your speech is over, nobody will be able to remember what you said.

A much better way to organize your speech is by starting out your speech by discussing the problem that has to be solved. No matter if you are talking about mobile products in the workplace or a new ERP solution, everything in IT is designed to solve a problem and you should start by talking about that problem.

The goal of any CIO speech should be to get your audience to either do something differently or think about something differently. You are going to want to structure your speech so that you can persuade your audience to change. Make sure that you deliver your information in a way that makes sense to your audience.

Does Anyone Have A Question?

As good of a speaker as you are, there will always be questions about what you are saying from your audience. In order to maximize the impact of your speech, you are going to want to provide your audience with an opportunity to ask you questions.

The traditional way to go about doing this is to leave time at the end of your speech to permit your audience to ask questions. However, it turns out that this might not be the best way to go about doing this. The reason is because studies have shown that adults have an attention span of about 20 minutes. This means that your 45-60 minute speech is going to cover at least two adult attention spans.

A much better way to deal with questions is to stop at about 20 minutes and 40 minutes into your speech and ask if there are any questions. This shakes things up, grabs people’s attention, and keeps their interest. It also allows you to control how your speech ends. You don’t have to take questions at the end and you can finish on a high note, not a bad or awkward question.

Beware Of The Slide Trap

I love PowerPoint, you love PowerPoint, we all love PowerPoint. All too often we are in a rush when we’ve been asked to give a speech and we end up throwing our slides together at the last minute. When we do this, we’re often not quite sure what we are planning on saying.

When we find ourselves in this situation, we stop looking at our audience during our presentation and we start to look at the screen where our slides are being displayed. We have to do this because we’re not sure what comes next. However, by doing this we lose contact with our audience.

One additional downside to looking at our slides while we talk is that our hand gestures are made towards the screen. Studies have shown that your audience will only be interested in motions made towards them. When you direct your motions towards the screen, you are giving them permission to start to ignore you.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the most important skills that a CIO must have is the ability to communicate well. This skill becomes critical when we are called upon to deliver a speech. Anyone can give a speech, only the best CIOs can command the room while they do it.

In order to command the room, first you need to make sure that you find ways to persuade your audience. Don’t try to overwhelm them with too much information. Questions are always an important part of any CIO speech. Provide your audience with an opportunity to ask questions during your speech. Finally, make sure that you use PowerPoint slides effectively and don’t let the slides use you.

When it comes to clearly communicating information to a group of people, giving a speech is the most effective way to accomplish this. However, as with so many things in life there is a right way and a wrong way to go about doing this. Use these suggestions to command the room the next time you are asked to give a speech.

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

Question For You: What’s the best way to determine if you have been able to persuade your audience?

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

As the person with the CIO job one of your greatest challenges is to find ways to keep your department’s spending under control on top of the everyday challenge of letting the rest of the company know about the importance of information technology. One of the biggest drains on your budget can be travel expenses. What you need to do is to find a way to keep your travel expenses under control without appearing to come across as an overbearing boss.

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New Book: CIO Business Skills

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In order to be a successful CIO, you need to know how to work with the rest of the business. Get the book that tells you how to do this: Click here for the Paperback, Kindle, or Audiobook Download. Click here for the epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt, or html.

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Should The CIO View The CMO As Friend Or Foe?

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