Hey CIO, Are You Sending The Wrong Signals?

It Turns Out That It's Not What You Say, But Rather How You Say It
It Turns Out That It’s Not What You Say, But Rather How You Say It

No matter if you are already a CIO or simply hope to become one someday, you are going to want to become a success. Just because you are the CIO, does not guaranee that you’ll be a success – it seems to take something else, something extra. It turns out that social signals are what determines how successful a CIO will be. Do you know what signals you are sending out?

Welcome To The World Of “Honest Signals”

Dr. Alex Pentland at MIT has been studying the social cues that we transmit to others. What he’s discovered is that we communicate with others using much more than words. What we are trying to communicate comes across in our gestures, expressions, and the tone that we use.

Dr. Pentland’s research has gone one step further. What he’s uncovered is that we have a set of non-verbal cues, what he calls “honest signals”, that do more than just communicate from us to another person. They actually cause a change in the person that we are communicating with. In other words, what we are trying to get across “rubs off” on the person that we’re interacting with.

We’ve all seen this before. If we encounter someone who is very excited and outgoing, then we’ll become excited just by talking with them. Likewise, if we bump into someone who is having the worst day of their life, then we’ll be down and glum after we talk with them.

Why Do Some CIOs Succeed And Others Don’t?

Great, so now you’ve just found out that as CIO you are going to be “leaking” information through a bunch of non-verbal cues. That’s a bummer, but does it really matter – I mean you’ve got your technical act together and you believe that you know how to run an IT department, right?

It turns out that the non-verbal cues that you are giving off do matter. What the researchers have found through study is that the more successful CIOs are also the ones who are more energetic.

What this means is that the CIOs who are going to both last in their roles and be successful display a set of common traits. These include talking to others more while at the same time taking the time to listen to them. More of their day is spent engaging in face-to-face discussions. They are better at working with other people and they can both pick up signals from others, get them to talk more, and get them to be more outgoing overall.

What the researchers have found is that your attitude and the positive energy that you give off play a key role in your eventual success. They’ve found that spending more face time with the people with whom you work is 2.5 times more important than gaining access to additional sources of information.

What All Of This Means For You

In order for a CIO to be successful, it’s going to take a lot more than just having good technical knowledge. Researchers who study human dynamics have discovered what they call “honest signals” which can have a dramatic impact on your success.

These signals cause changes in the people who receive them. This means that in order to be successful as a CIO you need to be broadcasting the right signals. If not, then no matter how good your CIO skills are, you won’t be successful.

The good news is that once you know that honest signals exist and which ones are the ones that you want to be broadcasting, then you can focus on what you are transmitting. Awareness of the impact that you have on the people that you are meeting is the key to a CIO’s long-term career success…

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

Question For You: Do you think that you can change the honest signals that you are transmitting to others?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

CIOs have a tough job and we all know it. However, because it is so tough, it can be easy to lose sight of what is really important. As we look for ways to cut costs, boost innovation, retain key employees and simply make IT more relevant to the rest of the company, our vision can start to drift downwards towards the daily tasks and short term goals. This is when we can forget what our real job is – to show the rest of the company what responsibility really is.