Sacrifice and Leadership

Career Advice

Career Advice

In 2005 I received probably the best advice in my career.  I was Director of Infrastructure at an International firm with offices worldwide. I was energetic and looking for opportunities.  In February of that year I was called into the Global CFO’s office and offered the Global CIO position from a man named Andre Pinto. Andre is French and had recently moved to New York City from Paris to take the position, and it was in this interview I received what was for me career changing advice.

Andre Pinto

Andre Pinto

After I was offered and accepted the Global CIO position Andre added, that IT people often want to do things so that life is comfortable for them, rather than thinking of what is good for the company.  He advised me to always consider if my decisions are about making life comfortable for myself, or if I am making the best decision for the company.

I know many times IT people fall into this trap, and think that making themselves comfortable is the same thing as helping the company.  Their personal bias and fear blinds them from difference between the two approaches.  The two approaches create very different results. Usually, their managers also cannot tell the difference, and IT people will use fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) as emotional leverages to have the money fall their way.

I have seen people who spend significant effort learning a technology who are afterwards no longer open to new ideas, or unwilling to leave old ideas to take on new ones. I have seen people buy very expensive maintenance programs on equipment, when there were better and far less expensive ways to accomplish the same thing and save millions for the company’s bottom line.

Lucky for me I knew Andre, and even more fortunate that he shared this idea with me, and that it also sank into my heart as the right way to make trusted decisions.

After many years I can think of a long string of decisions that required some personal sacrifice and significant risk on my part, to not only save the company money, but move the company into new areas. As I would approach these I always remember Andre’s advice, and I knew it was also the right way to live my life.

Today, after over 9 years as the Global CIO, I can look back at a long string of great decisions and risks I took that worked out very well. More importantly, I feel some real personal gratification that I had the courage to follow this philosophy, and I am grateful for the type of leader and person his advice helped me to become.

Thanks Andre I will always be grateful!

Its about the people

John E Tanner

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