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Developing Metricsand Trust
It also doesn't hurt to develop a set of metrics for measuring progress and keeping peers regularly updated about results. "Good CIOs spend maybe 40 percent of their time communicating upward about technology and how it's impacting the business," says Rod Hall, vice president of consulting for Compass America, an IT consulting firm in Oakbrook, Ill. He points to a CIO who, six months ago, put together a two-page list of projects, including an overview of cost reductions that have resulted from implementations. The CIO goes over it once a month at an hour-long meeting with senior management. So far, he hasn't pushed for any major new initiatives but, according to Hall, he has won the confidence of top management.
Still, no matter how great a CIO's influence on others' opinions, sometimes the best tactic is to step backand to do so before someone else forces the issue. If the economy continues to flatten, Delta's DeRodes, for one, plans to hold a meeting with his board to invite suggestions on what to slow down or stop.
In fact, such a move might even prove a worthwhile strategyand a reliefto some CIOs. "I've heard many CIOs say they're glad to have the chance to slow down and digest what they've done so far," says Hall. "They've been operating at such a frantic pace until now."
Anne Field is a Pelham, N.Y.-based writer who covers management and business trends. Her work has appeared in a variety of business magazines and Web publications, including Business Week, Fast Company, Fsb.com and iSource. Comments on this story can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.