CIO’s need to fascinate to survive

CIO's need to fascinate to surviveHey CIO – if you want to survive, you need to figure out a way to fascinate your organization.

I’m currently reading “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” (affiliate link) by Sally Hogshead.

I picked the book up on my kindle on a whim while waiting to board the flight from Dallas to Chicago.

While this book is focused on approaches to marketing, the concepts in the book could easily be applied to other aspects of the business….and I can easily think of ways that CIO’s and IT leaders can apply the concepts of the book in their organizations.

Question for all the non IT folks:

When’s the last time you were fascinated by your IT group?  When was the last time you were enthralled with what your organization’s IT team were doing?

I’d wager you’re answering ‘never’.

Why is that?

The answer has to do with the focus of  most information technology groups being an operational one.

But….what if, in addition to an operational focus, the IT group begins to use some marketing approaches to improve service and understanding within the organization?

What if we were able to use the 7 triggers outlined in Sally’s book to fascinate the organization?

Add a Marketing focus  –  7 Triggers applied to IT

The 7 Triggers and brief explanation of each are:

  • Lust – creates a craving for sensory pleasure
  • Mystique – lures with unanswered questions
  • Alarm – threatens with a negative consequence
  • Prestige – earns respect through symbols of achievement
  • Vice – tempts with “forbidden fruit” causing rebelling against norms
  • Trust – comforts us with certainty and reliability

Now…don’t get all puritan on me when you see ‘lust’ and ‘vice’ and the like.   Think about the triggers above….are you using any of these in your IT organization when communicating?

You probably are without really know it.  Think about the last time you had a person within your company ask for a new computer and told them no. That person then notices the Director of IT (and many other people within IT) with brand new top-of-the-line computers.  What does that tell that user?

That user doesn’t realize the IT folks have these new computers to test them out before ordering 1000 more to outfit the company…that user only knows that they have a 3 year old computer and can’t get another one and “everyone” in IT has new computers.

You’ve just used Lust, Mystique, Vice and Prestige negatively.  And you’ve damaged the trust that the user might have had for your IT group.

What if you used these 7 triggers to develop a better message for that user? What if you showed them the new models you’re testing and how cool the new features and operating system is and that they’ll have one of these new machines within a few months?  What if you let that user (or at least a subset of users in the company) help test these models with the IT group?  You’ve now just used Lust, Mystique, Vice, Prestige and Trust to help that user better understand why they can’t have a new machine, when they can expect one and how that wait will pay off for them.

In scenario one (using negative triggers), you’ve got a user who has very negative feelings toward IT. Using scenario two (using positive triggers), you’ve got a friend for life in that user.

According to the author of Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, these triggers are meant to assist in creating a fascinating message and Sally provides a glimpse into he hallmarks of a fascinating message are:

  • Provokes strong and immediate emotional reactions
  • Creates advocates
  • Becomes “Cultural Shorthand” for a specific set of Actions of Values
  • Incites Conversation
  • Forces Competitors to Realign It
  • Triggers Social Revolutions

Think about those hallmarks….do you find any of them in any messages from your IT group to the rest of the organization?

I think most IT groups already provoke strong and immediate emotional reactions…but for the wrong reasons!

Has your IT group created advocates throughout the organization?  Have you been able to incite positive conversation about IT and IT’s service?  If not, it may be time to rethink your approach and begin using things like these 7 triggers to help change the perception of your IT group.

Fascinate or Die?

Of course, you won’t die if you don’t fascinate your organization, but you may be out of a job.

Think about your approach to communicating with the people within your organization?  Are there ways you can use the 7 triggers to create a fascinating message?

Or…will you continue to enforce IT processes and procedures using IT language and continue to evoke the negative reactions?

Perhaps these 7 triggers aren’t perfect for you and your IT team…but some method of changing how you communicate with your organization should be reviewed.

I’d highly recommend picking up Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation and take the message within the book to heart…you might be surprised to find that you can communicate better with your organization.

13 responses to “CIO’s need to fascinate to survive”

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  11. Margaret Meloni Avatar

    I think you and Sally Hogshead are making some excellent points. I bet most people are not fascinated by their IT organizations, I think most people are baffled by their IT organizations and too many CIOs and other members of IT management think this is a good thing!

    1. Eric D. Brown, D.Sc. Avatar

      Thanks Margaret. We in IT can learn a lot by studying marketing approaches. Sally’s book did a great job of highlighting methods that can be used to improve communication with the rest of the organization.

      Thanks for stopping by

  12. Does it matter RT @ericdbrown CIO’s need to fascinate to survive — Eric D. Brown