Connecting at Multiple Levels

It's far easier to talk about partnering in the abstract than it is to actually form viable partnerships that deliver tangible benefits to IT and the business.

So we're reenlisting our friend Dave Smoley, the CIO at Flextronics, to walk us through the details of establishing partnerships that work in real-world situations. Dave is known in the industry for his ability to create and maintain partnerships with the business, so we decided to ask him directly for the “secret” of his success. Here is Dave's reply:

Partnering has to occur at multiple levels. That's really important. It can't just be at the top. A huge part of our success as an IT organization comes from partnering throughout the organization. It's definitely our top priority.

At the CIO level, I partner in a number of different ways. The main way is by reaching out proactively and communicating with my peers in the business. They naturally tend to focus on a whole lot of stuff other than IT, so my communication with them has to be tailored to each individual's style, needs, interests, and responsibilities.

That kind of communicating involves a fair amount of effort. With some people, you can take them out to dinner and spend an evening talking. And there are other people you can chase for weeks and you're lucky if you get a reply e-mail or a phone call. Each type of person presents a different tactical challenge.

One of the CIO's most important jobs is figuring out how to approach them in ...

Get The Transformational CIO: Leadership and Innovation Strategies for IT Executives in a Rapidly Changing World now with O’Reilly online learning.

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