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FCW : April 15, 2013
24 April 15, 2013 FCW.COM There s a lot of discussion about the ef cacy of the Clinger- Cohen Act as it relates to creating the role of agency CIOs. At the end of the day, it is clear that what we need is not just a new piece of legislation. We as federal CIOs need to change and rede ne ourselves as the New Federal CIOs. What problems do we see in government? We often hear about the big three: IT governance, mission alignment and stakeholder engagement. We focus a lot of attention on orga- nizational positioning, technology solutions, managerial span of control and expertise. However, we need to reconsider our leadership roles and shift our focus to the CIO as social worker, CIO as communicator and CIO as mission IT expert. CIO as social worker A social worker brings people together and helps facilitate a path toward problem resolution and self-actualization. The CIO as social worker would perform in a similar manner. Let s consider brie y the lessons from Winnie the Pooh. The CIO as Winnie the Pooh sounds strange, I admit but there are lessons to learn there. In his book "The Tao of Pooh," Benjamin Hoff talks about leadership that is effortless, without "meddlesome, combat- ive or egotistical effort." He goes on to illustrate the concept with Pooh-like banter: "Just how do you do it, Pooh?" "Do what?" asked Pooh. "Become so Effortless." "I don't do much of anything," he said. "But yet all those things of yours get done." "They just sort of happen," he said. This exchange describes the Tao concept of wu wei. It requires working with the natural order of things to get stuff done. We don t jam square pegs into round holes. Rather, we work with the circumstances, understanding why they work and how they work in order to make things "sort of happen." As CIOs, we often try to jam square pegs into round holes without understanding the circumstances of our customers or our organizations. We are strong intellectually and try to nd clever ways of shaving the sharp edges off those square pegs. A lot of energy gets expended, and sometimes we nd ourselves cut and bloodied by the process. What the New Federal CIOs should do is spend time with the mission and with their customers. In doing so, we will nd out what their problems and needs are. We can then devise solutions and strategies that satisfy their IT needs in a more meaningful way. We will be able to get things done, and stuff will just sort of happen. FirstPer son Linda Cureton on: 'The New Federal CIO' What NASA's outgoing CIO thinks her successor --- and other IT leaders --- can do to improve their agencies
March 30, 2013
April 30, 2013