A 12-step program for aspiring CIOs

A former boss recently wrote to me about how much he enjoys watching those whom he had mentored in previous years succeed in their life’s endeavors. My own memories went back to days when, together, we had wrestled with converting the databases of an acquisition and visiting with English-impaired Japanese joint venture partners. Those seemed, at the time, trying days. But in retrospect, they were tiny jewels of experience that my former managers and mentors bestowed on me. I consider myself lucky to have worked for and beside each of them.

And now, I’m the former boss. It fills me with an often too-fleeting moment of paternal pride as I see a programmer of mine with his own consultancy and a former project manager get appointed to his first vice presidency.

The importance of good mentoring in our profession is often overlooked. However, as CIOs we have a duty (and the privilege) to share as much of our experiences and life’s lessons as we can with the future of our industry. We can get so caught up in the daily ordeal of “leaping the tallest building in a single bound,” that we forget to teach our wunderkinder how to leap. It’s not so much the technology skills that we can share with them. More important, we need to leave them the keys to successful careers as technology executives and visionaries.

As CIOs we have a duty to leave the future leaders the keys to successful careers as technology executives and visionaries. Just as a cub reporter learns the art of opening the doors of confidential sources, our prot