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The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership by Martha Heller

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The Operations versus Strategy Paradox

For much of 2010, the good people at CIO magazine allowed me to lurk around their conferences, talking with attendees and placing our CIO Paradox poster on their tables. The poster listed our original set of sixteen CIO Paradoxes, and I asked CIOs to circle the three that resonated most deeply for them. Many of them chuckled knowingly at the paradox “Your many successes are invisible but your few mistakes are highly visible” and stifled a grimace at “You sign vendorschecks but they often go around you to sell to your business peers.” But the paradox “You were hired to be strategic but you spend most of your time on operational issues” really struck a nerve. It ranked in the top three of the nearly ...

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