Rising stars, falling stars
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"At the annual meeting last month of the Society for Information Management, rumor had it that a bombshell was buried in the results of the organization's annual IT management survey. And so there was: The percentage of CIOs and other top IT executives reporting directly to CEOs had fallen dramatically from the year-earlier survey, SIM revealed. Last year, 45% of the business technology executives surveyed said they report to the CEO; this year, it's just 31%. At the same time, the percentage of CIOs reporting to the company CFO has risen, to 29% from 25%. The implication? The CIO's influence is waning."
And now the AJC.
"There are new players at the directors' tables of many businesses. More companies are adding chief learning officers (CLOs) to the executive suite of CEO, CFO, CTO, COO and other top managers who determine company strategy."
What's going on here? Merely the waxing and waning of corporate fashion and perceived need.
Look back over a few decades of organization charts and annual reports and you see that there are only a few positions consistently in the C-suite. The line functions, operations and marketing tend to be there, along with one staff function, finance. Everything else comes and goes.
Back in the late Sixties and early Seventies, people who'd been in the computer department worked hard to change the name of the department to Management Information Systems (MIS) and then to Information Technology (IT). Both usually reported to the Chief Financial Officer.
Increasing computing power changed the competitive landscape. Shrewd companies figured out that IT could provide competitive advantage. So the department came out of the shadows into the sunlight. Soon there was talk, and then the reality of Chief Information Officers (CIOs).
But IT is no longer a source of great competitive advantage. It's mostly table stakes now. You want the best IT you can get and afford, but most companies aren't going to steal a march on their competition because of the IT.
Human Resources (HR) has never been able to move out of the shadows for two important reasons. While most senior business leaders say that they value human resources, they act like people are interchangeable parts and relationships don't matter. And while most HR executives like to talk about how they should have "a seat at the table," they act like regulation-loving apparatchiks.
It will be interesting to see what happens to the term Chief Learning Officer. After all, the person who becomes CLO is probably someone who used to head up the training department, which is usually nested in Human Resources.
And senior executives have tended talk a better game about training than they have usually played. In my experience, when times get hard, training budgets are among the first to approach zero and being a Chief anything with a zero budget is usually not a good thing.
Wally's Working Supervisor's Support Kit is a collection of information and tools to help working supervisors do a better job. It's based on what Wally's learned in over twenty years of supervisory skills training. Click here to check it out.
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Wally Bock has helped people learn to be great bosses for more than a quarter century. His latest book, Performance Talk: The One-on-One Part of Leadership, makes learning key leadership principles almost effortless by teaching through a story and providing lists of resources for further growth.
Click here to find out more about Wally's coaching services.
For weekly tips and resources pointers, check our Wally Bock's Three Star Leadership Letter.
Click here to find out more about having Wally speak to your company or convention.