FedEx CIO Rob Carter: "Never Be a Victim"
It's no secret that business executives still largely feel that their IT executives aren't strategic or business-savvy enough to make a real difference. Plenty of IT leaders take offense to that--and rightfully so.
But if you're shuffled into the category of "tactical" CIO running a "utility," you can't just sit there and take it.
Rob Carter, the executive vice president of information services and CIO of FedEx, has some strong advice for CIOs who find themselves in this predicament:
"Never be a victim. Never decide in advance, 'This is what I'm going to be relegated to.'"
Carter believes that if CIOs feel strongly enough about their own talent and value, they need to step up.
If you want to a behind-the-scenes player, that's fine. You'll get what you want, Carter says. "But you need to put on the mantle of authority that says these things are vitally important to productivity, customer interactions and the top line," he adds.
Granted, Carter has it good: he's on the five-person executive committee at FedEx, a company that values IT far more than most. But he also says he didn't land there by accident:
"I honestly believe that that's what drew me to FedEx--understanding that that's the role IT should play. I feel very strongly that we should aspire to be engaging business partners rather than behind-the-scenes brokers of activities."
There's plenty more on the way from my interview with Carter. For a full transcript, stay tuned to CIOInsight.com or check out the upcoming September issue.
Also, tell us: Do you see yourselves a strategist or a tactician? And how do you think your business counterparts view you?