Stop the Drivel: The 'Really Perfect' Tech Exec: Page 2

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Clothes are hugely important. They have to be just expensive enough to avoid envy and anger. These days, clothes should be understated but tasteful.

But what’s “tasteful”? Check out what the boss wears and crank it back one notch – a little less expensive and a little less “look-at-me.” Don’t vote for casual Fridays (or any casual days). They’re for the masses, not the bosses.

Golf is a prerequisite. If you don’t hold a 15 or under handicap then you need to get some lessons, practice hard and join the right country club. Once you get the number down to 10 you can command a significant audience on the course consisting of important members of the EC.

But the really perfect CIO knows enough to miss the five foot putt on the last hole to lose the match to the slightly better dressed CEO.

The ability to tell colorful and off-color jokes is also extremely important. A repertoire of exciting stories makes all the difference when the conversation turns boring. Really perfect CIOs keep some jokes tucked away, just in case.

The really perfect CIO must actually have a personality. They must be people who consume more than oxygen in a room. The really perfect CIO commands attention, respect and, through a modicum of charisma, generates as much heat as light.

Fun people who can hold their own in a conversation, bars and even on the dance floor are more likely to succeed than CIOs who mumble, don’t drink and can’t dance. It goes without saying that really perfect CIOs are glib as hell. They also do not speak truth-to-power, are never abrasive and make certain that their personal hygiene is impeccable.

They are dispassionate leaders who know when to keep their mouths shut (which, they’ve figured out, is most of the time).

Really perfect CIOs have broken the success code: do what you’re told by people who can promote and reward you. Never threaten them with politics, intelligence or thinly-veiled references to Julie in accounting.

You get the picture. Really perfect CIOs know a few things about business and technology but the really successful CIOs dress, talk, smile, joke, golf and smell really good. And let’s not forget the hair.

Steve Andriole is the Thomas G. Labrecque Professor of Business at Villanova University where he conducts applied research in business technology convergence. He is also the co-founder of The Acentio Group, a new economy consortium that focuses on optimizing investments in information technology, executive education, Web 2.0, technology audits and pilot applications. He is formerly the Senior Vice President & Chief Technology Officer of Safeguard Scientifics, Inc. and the Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President for Technology Strategy at CIGNA Corporation. His career began at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency where he was the Director of Cybernetics Technology. He can be reached at stephen.andriole@villanova.edu.

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