The Wolf in Cio’s Clothing
Machiavellians are few in number in IT. The massive pressure on CIOs continues to increase as the opportunities to use technology in business become more prevalent and more competitive. As CIOs often find themselves at the center of business conflict, they must not only familiarize themselves with Machiavellian tactics as a defensive weapon but also learn to use them as an offensive weapon in extreme situations so that they can increase IT’s contribution to their enterprises.
As Italian political philosopher, Niccolo Machiavelli implied, you’re either predator or prey and the animal you most resemble determines your position on the food chain. In The Wolf in CIO’s Clothing Gartner analyst and author Tina Nunno expands on Machiavelli’s metaphor, examining seven animal types and the leadership attributes of each. Nunno posits the wolf — a social animal with strong predatory instincts — as the ideal example of how a leader can adapt and thrive.
Technology may be black and white, but successful leadership demands an ability to exist in the grey. Drawing on her experience with hundreds of CIOs, Nunno charts a viable way to master the Machiavellian principles of power, manipulation, love, and war. Through compelling case studies, her approach demonstrates how CIOs and IT leaders can adjust their leadership styles in extreme situations for their own success and that of their teams.
Extreme situations require animal inspiration
Machiavelli advised that a leader should think like an animal because leaders are often embattled. Traditional management research advises that if CIOs follow appropriate processes, procedures, and methodology, they should not encounter serious problems. Unfortunately, this simply is not true. Reality demonstrates that CIOs are often challenged by the extraordinary rate of change in IT, increased expectations, and ever-growing
demand in the face of shrinking revenue and resources. Often, the more extreme the expectations are of IT in the enterprise, the more extreme the potential conflicts for the CIO.
Today’s CIO should aspire to be a Wolf. Machiavelli advised that leaders should take inspiration from two “beasts”: the fox to avoid the traps and the lion to scare away the wolves. But for CIOs, the ultimate animal is the Wolf — an ideal balance of an intelligent, social creature that can inspire loyal followership and create group affinity; and the ruthless predator that can lead a pack of strong fighters, win in a competitive environment
and command a large territory.
CIOs must display all of these qualities to lead highly complex IT organizations with an evolving purview as IT capabilities expand reach and range globally through information, mobility, and social media. The territory of the CIO is no longer the basement data center; it now has the potential to reach as far as the technology does. Yet as with the Roman Empire, with a greater territory to protect and maintain comes greater risks.
Consider the following scenario. A CIO’s colleagues complain: “We don’t get enough IT or any IT quickly enough, or cheaply enough, and why don’t we have some clouds, or really big data or a digital strategy, and why isn’t IT driving competitive advantage? I have a friend who told me he has a CIO who does all of this for a fraction of the money that we are spending, and it’s all available on their tablets and smartphones. Why can’t the CIO
simply do what we ask of IT when we ask it, or preferably, before we think of it?”
Sound familiar? When confronted with stakeholders who are unhappy with or critical of IT performance, CIOs have traditionally relied upon reasonable arguments such as IT is underfunded, understaffed, not included in strategic meetings or nonstrategic meetings for that matter, and how can we possibly deliver something you didn’t ask for and did not know that you wanted until today? And no, it’s not possible for me to deliver stunning innovation and emerging technologies to you when I’m busy putting out fires on my underfunded legacy systems while you are allowing other parts of the organization to spend money like water on IT, then throw it over the wall for us to maintain, and we can’t keep up. What? Do you want a new CIO? Didn’t you hear what I just said? Wait; let me explain it again…
Table of Contents
1: Aspire to Be the Machiavellian Wolf CIO
2: Master the Three Essential Machiavellian Wolf Disciplines: Power, Manipulation, and Warfare
Section I: Power
3: Recognize the Power You Have and Increase It Exponentially
4: Prioritize With Force and Finesse
5: Exude Power by Growling, Rather Than Roaring, Your Reputation
6: Make Sure No One Is Always in Control but You
7: Follow the Money but Don’t Let It Fool You
8: Recognize Stronger Wolves and Know When to Be a Lamb
Section II: Manipulation
9: Employ Manipulation or Risk Being Manipulated
10: Treat Colleagues as Friends, but Assume They Are Enemies
11: Treat Information as a Weapon, and Don’t Load the Gun Aimed at You
12: Recognize That the Hero Is Often the Arsonist, So Don’t Feed the Fire
13: Ruthlessly Keep Others From Wasting IT’s Time
14: Combine the Wolf’s Power With Manipulation Tactics to Maximize Impact
Section III: Warfare
15: Master Multilateral Wars of Expansion to Grow the Enterprise and IT
16: Engage Lieutenants to Scale Up Your Power and Manipulation
17: Create Strong Alliances to Scale Up, but Select the Appropriate Methods
18: Fight on Multiple Fronts to Avoid Being Boxed in by the Enemy or Yourself
19: Create Weapons of Mass Destruction Through Force Multiplication Today
20: Put One Paw in Front of the Other
About the Author
About the Author:
Tina Nunno is a Vice President and Gartner Fellow in Gartner’s CIO Research group based in Stamford, Connecticut. She is responsible for conducting research and developing publications aimed at helping CIOs and their organizations around the world improve their performance and contribution. Tina specializes in CIO-related leadership issues, including working with the board of directors, executive communications, change management, and governance strategies.
She is the Analyst Sponsor of the Gartner Women’s CIO Community, has co-authored Gartner’s Annual CIO Agenda report, and is a sought-after speaker. Tina’s most recent research deals with navigating organizational politics. She focuses on helping CIOs and other IT executives analyze sensitive political situations and apply strategies and tactics to deal with political land mines and power struggles. She also explores the use of extreme political tactics in her book The Wolf in CIO’s Clothing: A Machiavellian Strategy for Successful IT Leadership.
Ms. Nunno’s most recent research deals with navigating complex CIO decisions and sensitive organizational politics issues. She focuses on specific strategies and tactics for managing IT political land mines, power dynamics, and the politics of partnering with the rest of the business. She presents as a keynote speaker at conferences around the world has co-authored Gartner’s Annual CIO survey research, and is one of the founders of Gartner’s global Women’s CIO Community. Ms. Nunno has a degree in history from Yale University, and an MPA from The American University in Washington, D.C.
Reviews about the ebook The Wolf in Cio’s Clothing:
- Sam Motes:
This ebook The Wolf in Cio’s Clothing takes the political teachings of Machiavelli and gives lessons for today’s CIO on how to survive and thrive. It paints a picture of three dichotomies that the CIO leader must navigate through and compares them to dark and light side animals that embody each concept. They include Power (lion vs lamb), Manipulation (snake vs dove), and warfare (shark vs dolphin). The dichotomies have a Myers-Briggs type self-evaluation to determine your natural bent on each. The ebook advocates a mixed situational approach that it calls a wolf tactic that uses a blended combination of all the dichotomies for optimal results. It then discusses building your power base by grooming a wolf pack of followers who can build political influence. The book advocates a level of manipulation and non-transparency that will be uncomfortable for many. Definitely embraces the Machiavellian principles espoused by others such as in Robert Greene’s “48 Laws of Power”.
- CARLOS HURTADO:
This ebook The Wolf in Cio’s Clothing is very useful to understand the hidden dynamics that we do not see in the office. It gives the reader a tool different from the traditional style of leadership we are used to; And provides strategies to face people and/or organizations with styles and values different from yours. For this, he uses the figure of the wolf, understood as a man who knows how to protect his pack fiercely, but who in different conditions knows how to create alliances and relationships of trust with his peers.
If you are a CIO or aspire to be a CIO, I recommend your reading, but not before warning you that your paradigms of leadership and conflict resolution could be strongly challenged. Without a doubt, it is an ebook that comes to increase your arsenal as an executive.
Not a frequent opportunity to read about the dark side of management in IT. Appreciated the honesty of the author and got some advice to take away.
- John Brian Anderson:
Must read for every technology leader. More Lion, Less Lamb. Clear and thoughtful presentation of the current role of Technology Managers in today’s corporate environment and how to thrive. Be a Wolf. Recommended for Tech Managers and Leaders! Lots of good advice!
- Claudio Escudero:
Tina Nunno has written the first ebook on CIOs and business policy really useful I’ve read. Most ebooks are normative or descriptive CIO: Do this, must perform this, but none comes with the frankness of this ebook The Wolf in Cio’s Clothing, the problems of power, manipulation of those who might be exposed CIO. I hope Tina does not abandon this line, because his sharp pen can further research into the subject and allowing us to open in little more eyes to how things are.
Many things to consider in this ebook The Wolf in Cio’s Clothing, which will turn you into a calculating political operator – you have to choose if that is what you want to be.
- Caroline Gordon:
What a breath of fresh air to read a book that not only acknowledges the darker side of management but equips you to deal with it. That does mean at times crossing to the dark side yourself, but unless you know how to do this certain situations will arise that you won’t be able to deal with. Nunno tempers her message very well with advice about different cultures and contexts and therefore where the dark side will be needed. There are many books around about the light side of collaborative management, perhaps there will be a new voice emerging now that acknowledges human nature leads to dark side scenarios, and managers today need to be ready for that.
What could be seen as kitschy or negative is actually an extremely useful tool to achieve a deeper understanding of human behaviors. Take the test! Enjoy and learn.
There were some useful stories shared, and I learned a few things, but the animal metaphors were silly. They served the narrative and gave the characters counterparts, but still thought they were silly.
So many leadership ebooks only talk about the soft skills required to be successful. This one gives a more realistic perspective that includes tips on how to deal with negative forces in the workplace and how to rein in silliness that results in poor IT decisions.
The book The Wolf in Cio’s Clothing read wells. Many examples (though without company names) and full of scenarios.
I enjoined reading it but overall is not as strong as it could have been.
The last section is weak. If you like IT leadership and look for a change this may be of interest.
- Jim Keller:
Loved the relation of real-life to theory. Better than MBA school. Would highly recommend reading this if you are a mid-to senior-level manager or director looking to move up.
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