Secret CIO: He Doesn't Like You, Just Because - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Business & Finance
02:10 PM

Secret CIO: He Doesn't Like You, Just Because

Susan--you don't call her Sue or Susie--is one of those unsung people who keep an organization running smoothly. You know someone like her. The person whose hard work and dedication allows executives to sit in their corner offices and feel that they are dynamic leaders, or at least (as in my case) that things are going along reasonably well. She's a good manager, a no-nonsense type who's a perfect fit for her job of building our budget and making sure that there are no unpleasant surprises in our expense reports. The fact that she also strives diligently to have good working relationships with everyone makes her a treasure.

It's unusual for Susan to complain or to ask for help. She prides herself on doing her job well, and I suspect she thinks it's a sign of weakness not to be able to solve her own problems. So I was a little surprised when she came into my office and closed the door. It was obvious that she was quite upset. In short order I learned that Kratmeyer, our less-than-esteemed head of International Operations, had just raked her over the coals. It seems that the great man had summoned Susan because he was questioning the total cost of one of our infrastructure projects and, dissatisfied with her answers, wanted her to prepare a thorough analysis of the details so that "his people" could check over her numbers. He also wanted to see the vendor contracts Susan had helped to negotiate so that they could be "reviewed by business professionals." When Susan told him that Gornish, our CFO, had been an intimate part of the process, Kratmeyer exploded at her, telling her not to question him and that he had never understood why I trusted her in the first place. Now she was asking me how she should handle the situation.

After thinking for a moment, I responded that I'd take care of it. I said I would first alert Gornish that Kratmeyer wanted a third review (his own) of the numbers. Next, I would call Kratmeyer and tell him he was out of line for criticizing her and that if he had any problem with her work to talk to me instead of picking on someone who can't easily fight back. Finally, I would comment that if he wanted to waste time on looking over stuff that had been vetted by IT and Finance instead of selling products, that was his choice, but I thought it was foolish.

Susan looked both relieved and depressed. In a frustrated tone, she said, "I don't understand it. I've never given him any cause to dump on me, and yet he does it every time he can. Why? What did I ever do to deserve this type of treatment from him?"

I sighed. "Kratmeyer is one of those people who believes that his opinion is truth revealed. He doesn't need a reason to dislike someone. He thinks his initial gut feel is the same thing as logic and insight. Then he comes up with all sorts of reasons as to why he's right. Kratmeyer calls it superior business intuition, but normally it's just a selective search for data to support his own predetermined point of view."

"Throwing your weight around because you can isn't right," she said, "and making up your mind about people without looking at the facts is rotten business judgment. Anyway, thanks. I feel a lot better."

With that, she got up to leave, and I picked up the phone to call Gornish.

Herbert W. Lovelace shares his experiences as CIO of a multibillion-dollar international company (changing most names, including his own, to protect the guilty). Send him E-mail at [email protected].

To discuss this column with other readers, please visit Herbert Lovelace's forum on the Listening Post.

To find out more about Herbert Lovelace, please visit his page on the Listening Post.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
Is Cloud Migration a Path to Carbon Footprint Reduction?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/5/2020
IT Spending, Priorities, Projects: What's Ahead in 2021
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/2/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
White Papers
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll