While having my morning coffee this morning, I was reading through my emails and caught Martha Heller’s “The Heller Report”. Martha’s report is one of the few newsletters that I always open and read – it is that good (you should sign up).
The first item in the newsletter was an article by Chris Van Liew, Chief Information Officer, Weyerhaeuser Company titled CIO Says “I’m to Blame” if Vendors Don’t Deliver. I was excited to see this title…because I rarely see anyone in any leadership role willing to take the blame for failure.
In the article, Chris writes:
Why do I suggest that most persistent IT supplier issues, in particular the ones that involve an IT supplier’s sales team, are my fault? Because it’s up to me to ensure that I create incentives for the right behaviors. In other words, if I want my IT supplier to work well with me, it is up to me to create the business and relational landscape where every IT supplier who wants to do business with me sees no other viable alternative but to provide the right product or service at the right quality and price.
While there are times when you can place blame on vendors for failure, the majority of the time, failure can be traced back to a failure on the side of the IT group. Generally, when something goes wrong, people try to find blame with their vendor and/or partners. It is always someone else’s fault, but it really isn’t.
The role of any leader is to provide leadership, and that is exactly what Chris is pointing out in his article. He views himself as responsible for all things whether they are a success or a failure.
Additionally, Chris believes that as CIO’s, we need to ‘be the change we want to see’. Rather than complaining that our vendor’s aren’t transforming into the type of partner we want, we should show them the type of partner they need to be. Chris writes:
So we should not expect our IT supplier sales reps or the IT suppliers themselves to change until we as CIO’s change first. Here’s a list of some of the ways, in no particular order, that CIO’s can change themselves and their organizations to create an operating environment where their IT suppliers will partner in a predictably productive fashion.
To change our vendor’s, we need to change ourselves. Chris provides an excellent list of approaches that might help CIO’s and IT groups change for the better, which in turn will help vendor’s change for the better.
Jump over and read the article…I think you’ll be glad you did.