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BLOG: Tracey Rothenberger on his move from CIO to COO

Martha Heller | Sept. 4, 2013
It's all about crossing boundaries and establishing a clear voice.

For example, I started my career on the infrastructure side, and I loved crisis management .  If we had a major infrastructure issue, and we were in a bad state, and it was all hands on deck, and we were collaborating and thinking real time about the issue, I was in my comfort zone.  As I've moved up to the CIO role, I've been able to do less of that, and now as COO, even less.  I just have to let that go.

What advice would you offer CIOs who would like to follow a similar career trajectory?
The first is that you cannot really care about boundaries.  Rather than stay focused only on IT, you need to insert yourself where you believe there is value to the company, and then get in and lend a hand.  The second is that you need a clear voice.  You need to find your voice and clearly articulate why something needs to change and why you believe it needs to change.  Any CIO who wants to be a COO, has to get comfortable finding that voice in an area where today, they aren't perceived as a subject matter expert.  That is a skill I have worked hard to develop over time.


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