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BLOG: More CIO career advice

Martha Heller | March 27, 2013
Words of wisdom from CIOs from Best Buy, Motorola, Visteon and more

Jim Sistek, CIO of Visteon Corporation

In my first job, I was an engineer, and I shared an office with a guy who had 30 years of experience. He always talked about fixing the real issue and not just answering the question that was asked. He would get pressure to answer a question, but he would always take a step back and understand the reason for the question.  He would say, "I'm going to answer this question in a way that it never has to be asked again."

When I took this job at Visteon, the company was having issues with errors in financial reporting. Everyone wanted to throw money at a new financial system. They were focused on the end state, which reporting, but they never went upstream to look at what was causing the problem. It turns out, the problem was upstream. There were pricing errors, missing PO numbers, and that kind of thing. By following problem upstream, we could focus on the beginning of the lifecycle, from when we win the business and design the parts. We decided to fix those problems first and the financial systems last. This was a very effective approach for us and it allowed us to stop wasting money.

Norm Fjeldheim, CIO of Qualcomm

Probably 20 years ago, I was having an operations review with the COO. At the time, the company was a having issues with a particular product launch, which IT was trying to support.  Everyone in the company was trying to make this thing happen by putting in extra hours and everybody was giving all kinds of excuses as to why it wasn't working. Then the COO said "Hey, never confuse effort with results. I don't want you to focus on all the things that you're doing. I want you to focus on one thing: the results."

If you're not getting the right results, it doesn't matter how much time you are putting into it. You need to change what you're doing if you expect to get a different outcome.

Walter Yosafat, CIO of Wyndham Worldwide

Early on in my career, my strong desire was to have an outside-the-U.S. assignment. I was doing quite well in a previous role when my manager came to me and said  "Hey, great news! You're going international and you're going to get promoted as a result."

I thought this was great, and in my mind, I was packing for the Alps! I was getting my Swiss chocolates ready. I was thinking of a wonderful European assignment or some great location where I could travel and see all of Europe by car with the kids on vacation.


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