3 Recently Read Books

I’ve recently tried to step up my reading. In doing so, I’ve been able to finish 3 books in the past week. Now, don’t think too much of me. If you were able to see my backlog of reading material, well, let’s just say any positive impression of my past weeks achievement would evaporate instantly. However, these 3 books are worthy of mentioning, and the fact that they are all very different subject matter made the past week very refreshing for me.

#1 When a Man Loves a Woman by James Ford Jr. – a short read that will help any husband or would be husband become the man his wife has always desired. I recommend this book to any husband who wants to make the most out of his marriage and is up to the challenge of becoming the man his wife has always dreamed about. It’s not rocket science, but reading this may make you realize how far short you have fallen of the man you should be.

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#2 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith – a simple yet challenging and inspiring book about making the most of your life. Redeeming each and every day. I wish I could say there’s a simple 7 step plan to this book to take away, but every page of the book is challenging you about your view on life and not wasting it. Every day is a gift. I was particularly inspired by how Robert listed men throughout history and the number of days they lived. The things they accomplished with their lives were amazing. I’ve been inspired, and hope to use the rest of my days to their fullest.

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#3 The CIO Playbook by Nicholas R. Colisto – a wonderful read for anyone aspiring to attain or who has already attained a high level technology leadership role. A very thorough covering of the CIO role.

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A New Breed of CIO

Technology is changing. The way companies use technology is changing.

The past – technology teams and CIOs relied upon by the organization as service level. Translation: Business leaders come up with ideas. Business leaders tell the technology department what they want or need. The technology team fulfills those requests. Very service level driven.

The future – technology teams and CIOs are peers with the other top level leaders in the organization. Translation: CIOs work alongside top level leaders to define strategy for the organization. CIOs make the transition to helping the company navigate the digital world. Online business, mobile, etc. CIOs that fail to make the transition will fail to bring the necessary business value and ultimately fail as the “new breed of CIO.”

This article from Tech Republic and David Nichols does a fabulous job laying all of this out.

Tech Republic – Digital CIOs

Another Wonderful Day at the CIO Leadership Event

Today was fabulous! The day began with some discussion on gamification, then rolled into a great session from Tom Wilson, CEO of Allstate. Probably my favorite session of the day was from David Williams, CEO of Deloitte Financial Services.

The conference is a bit lite on vendors which is a good thing, but the vendors that are present have been very helpful. CareerBuilder, Dimension Data, Dell, Service Now, and Microsoft.

Looking forward to another exciting day tomorrow!

Becoming a Better CIO

This weekend I’m experiencing the wonderful weather of Boca Raton, Florida. However, it’s not all fun and games unless of course you consider that I love my job and the company I have the pleasure of working at for the last 12 years.

Since being appointed as the company’s first ever CIO in January 2012, I’ve been on a quest to grow my abilities to better serve the company. We’re very dependent on technology. It permeates every project, business and initiative that we undertake. That’s the driving factor of attending this year’s CIO Leadership Event put on by CIO magazine.

Today was just a warm up. As with any event, networking is a huge plus. The amount of knowledge you gain from a simple conversation is amazing. Playing golf with Dale from Blue Cross Blue Shield in Birmingham, Alabama, Shad from Elavon, and Bryan from Dimension Data was a great start to the day. Not sure I enjoyed getting up at 6:15 or being the worst golfer on our team, but at least I ended the game well by having the longest drive on the last hole! Other notable persons I was able to connect with today included Houston Ross with ING Life Insurance and Geoff Sinn with Dimension Data, a cloud solutions provider.

In the afternoon, I had the opportunity to attend a Cloud Maturity discussion facilitated by Dimension Data. About 30 people were in attendance with several CIOs, some directors from various verticals including B2B, Insurance, Education, and even the LPGA was in attendance. I didn’t walk away with any earth shattering information, but I did walk away with a great contact and possible future vendor in Dimension Data.

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

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CIO Meeting #4

Our company is growing…fast. When I started way back in March 2001, I was the 33rd employee. Seven and half years later, we have 225. My team, the Internet Business and Technologies group, is just over 40 with plans to hire 10+ more this year. Exciting…challenging.

While running a successful business unit is tough, rapid growth makes it even tougher. Dave has always challenged his leadership team to focus on growth. Dave often quotes John Maxwell, leadership training guru. In 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John mentions “The Law of the Lid” which is basically this…You are the “Lid” of your organization. Your organization will only grow to the limits that you put on it. Grow yourself so your company can grow. With the growth our company has seen, I’ve really felt the pressure over the last 18 months to make sure I’m prepared for the future.

Each year I try to identify things I can change. Try on a new approach. This year, I wanted figure out a way to accelerate my leadership growth. While books and reading are good, I was missing a vital piece. High level business relationships. To make sure I will be able to fulfill the company’s future needs, I set a goal of meeting 5 CIOs this year. Today, I met with the 3rd. Andy Flatt of HealthSpring.

Andy is a great guy and very knowledgeable. I’ve really enjoyed meeting and discussing business technology with each of the CIOs so far, but I got and especially cool nugget today. At our company, we require a personality profile to be completed during the application process. Andy also has his team complete personality profiles, with a little twist. They use colored lego blocks to represent the different personality types and then each team member has their stack displayed so other team members know how to best communicate. Here’s their color code

Red = Driven, D, Lion
Yellow = Relational, I, Otter
Green = Serving/Loyal, S, Golden Retriever
Blue = Detail Driven, C, Beaver

Primary personality type is placed on top, followed by the 2nd highest, etc. I’m now planning to implement this for our team and hope to have it in place within 30 days.