The 3 Envelope Rule with a CIO Twist

3 envelopesI saw this in a recent posting and think it sums up the challenges of being a CIO quite nicely.

First day on the job as the new CIO you notice 3 envelopes in the top drawer of your desk. The first envelope says “Open Me.” Inside is a note from your predecessor that provides insight on the organisation, issues, culture, concerns, etc. You read it, throw it in the trash and go about your business as the new CIO. A year later you’re not happy with the progress of the organisation and you remember the second envelope that says “Open me if you are not happy with the way things are going.” You open it and a single word is written on a piece of paper; “Reorganise.” You take the advice this time and spend several months forming teams and reorganising hoping to get results linked to the business. You call it “IT Transformation.” Another year goes by and things are marginally improving but you are still unhappy with the results. The business is unhappy with IT and the CEO is unhappy due to growing costs. You notice the third envelope that says “Open me if things still are not the way you would like them.” You open it and it says; “Create 3 envelopes.”

The moral of the story is to not get hung up on big transformation projects and reorganisation to create yet another organisation that is not functional. Make changes in small, manageable pieces and make sure any change is linked to improving the business of IT or the business of your company.

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