CHAPTER 6

The Decider: Wayne Shurts

When Computerworld surveyed almost 500 information technology (IT) professionals in August and September 2013, they found an interesting trend developing: More than half of the respondents said they did not aspire to be a CIO.

That probably didn't shock too many sitting CIOs. After all, only those leaders truly know the monumental tasks, pressures, and constant change that they're forced to endure, day in and day out. And truth be told, at one point in their career, many CIOs—including some of the best in the business—did not exactly have their sights set on the perch.

Take Wayne Shurts. Early in his career, at Nabisco, Shurts gained leadership experience in finance, sales, and marketing. Back then, moving into the IT domain wasn't on his radar. But when he was tapped to lead a sales transformation project at Nabisco, IT became a major part of his portfolio.

Back then, Nabisco had an industry-leading direct store delivery model. The truck driver would unpack the goods at a grocery store, and the sales representative would both stock the shelves and displays and sell to the store manager. The first non-Nabisco employee to touch a Nabisco product was the consumer, and the process was powerful. The problem was that it was costly.

Nabisco knew that 80 to 90 percent of the sales representatives' work involved physical labor, stocking the shelves. That meant they were spending too little time talking with the store managers, selling incremental product ...

Get Confessions of a Successful CIO: How the Best CIOs Tackle Their Toughest Business Challenges now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.