Tech Leaders: Best Practices for Aligning w/ Business Units


Tech leaders that want to advance their careers are realizing the importance of partnering with business units. Business leadership is clearly communicating that they want tech leaders to work more effectively with business units.

Below are best practices tech leaders can use to build these critical relationships.

  1. Work as a team to develop goals for your business unit customers. As an example, knowing what business units need when they begin thinking about it allows time to plan for their needs.
  2. Nothing is more powerful than really knowing your customer – how they think, how they feel, how they make decisions, how they communicate, etc… This can be achieved by spending time and asking good questions.
  3. Stories are a great way to communicate. People love stories and relate to them. Think of stories from you experience that communicate the point you want to make.
  4. Have an objective when you meet with a business unit. Think about the questions you want to ask ahead of time. Always be diplomatic in communication and consider sending your goal and questions ahead of the meeting.
  5. Actively listen to what they say. Strive to talk less and listen more.
  6. Remember, they probably don’t see the world, think, or solve problems the way you do.
  7. Ask follow-up questions to clarify.
  8. Tell them what you understood them to say to ensure communication was effective. This is really important when communicating people that think differently than you, which is usually the case if you are technical and they are from a business unit. Follow up with a brief email restating the request (if there was a work request).
  9. Have business conversations – not technical conversations. There is NEVER a need to speak at a more technical level than business unit leaders can understand.

Always remember, asking the right question at the right time is extremely powerful. Further, you won’t do these things perfectly. The important part is that you try.

Pete Hendrix is CEO of Integritec, a Telecom technology broker and thought leader on achieving competitive advantage through technology which comes from effective collaboration and communication between IT leadership, the C-Suite and other business unit leaders. He can be reached at

IT Leadership Development: How to say “No” (Part 3)

Pete Hendrix No(Part 3)

Many IT leaders don’t include feelings of others when thinking, making decisions and communicating with others.  This isn’t bad or negative, it has led us to much of the great technology we have.

This three part paper provides awareness, tools and suggestions to manage this trait in dealing with others, which will boost careers via better relationships with business units and subordinates.

The Art of Saying No Part #3

IT Leaders – Build Stronger Relationships

Disconnect-Pete HendrixMost business unit leaders think and make decisions differently than most IT Leaders.  The impact is that both parties speak a different language which is the basis for many of the challenges in the relationship between IT and the rest of the company.



Much is written describing the changing role of IT Leadership, yet little is written on practical ways for IT Leaders to actually make the transition.  This paper presents a path to stronger relationships with the C-Suite and business unit leaders.

IT Leaders- Build Stronger Relationships(1)

Moving Forward With Solutions In The Changing Role of the CIO

Modern businessCIO’s often struggle with the changing role that is becoming more and more about business leadership. This is not new information, much is written about problems with IT.  Too often though, all fingers point at IT leadership.  I believe this is not all together accurate and the solution requires effort from business unit leaders and executive management as well as IT leadership. This article moves from problem to solution and is one of the best I have seen.

Why chief information officers can

struggle in a leadership role

Corporate Growth And The CIO

Image for siteCIO’s are the glue in converging IT and business strategies. There is more being asked of them rather than just making sure the IT department runs smoothly. They are the pivotal link of combining IT solutions and strategic corporate goals. They are having to face issues with big data and the best way to leverage this data to facilitate corporate growth.  They are expected to establish IT platform architectures that are flexible and scalable. Data driven decision making is fueling the need for analytics of this big data being harvested. The link below addresses more on this topic.

How CIOs Spur Enterprise Growth

by: Ben Kerschberg

Mobile Application Development and What Is Fueling It?

Business man with laptop,mobile phone,touch screen device  (ElemBig data, business intelligence and analytics are the key factors in mobile application development. Organizations and consumers alike demand real-time data from a wide variety of sources. Ben Kerschberg a contributor to Forbes wrote an article that talks about the importance of accepting big data as something that isn’t going away and therefore he expresses the importance of embracing the challenges by moving forward in order to remain competitive in any modern market or process.

Check out his article below:

How Big Data, Business Intelligence and Analytics Are
Fueling Mobile Application Development




Pete’s GROW YOUR BUSINESS Spotlight- Bill Lee

Bill Lee InterviewWatch Bill Lee, CEO of Lee Company, talk about remaining relevant for 70 years
and building a culture that yields a competitive advantage.  Watch as he talks about the importance of differentiation and how to achieve it.


SCORE On Business: Lee Company

Pete’s GROW YOUR BUSINESS Spotlight- Donna Drehmann

Donna Drehmann Part 3Watch as Donna Drehmann shares her expertise in learning how customers really feel and how to take action on that information. Make sure to watch Part 2 and Part 3 as well for more informative tips.


SCORE On Business: Listen, Learn, Live LLC Part 1


Your Business and Engaging Employees

Happy doctors in hospital gowns in rowYour business is only as good as its’ employees.

How do you build and maintain an environment where your employees give their 100 percent, enjoy coming to work every day, your business has fewer turn over rates, less time and money spent in retraining and processing new employees that replace the amount of turn over?

Employee Engagement, by investing in people that invest their time in your business. The article below from the Harvard Business Review touches on three ways to actually engage employees. Click on it to find out how.

The Changing Role of the CIO – What Does It Look Like?

CIO Changing Role Pete HendrixThe world we live in has probably changed more since 1940 than the entire history of civilization up to that point. While most of us appreciate modern conveniences, we often dislike the change in our jobs that is necessary.

Advancements in technology are enabling companies to achieve at a much higher level, especially for R&D, revenue generation, market position and customer satisfaction. These advancements are changing what businesses need from their CIO. In short, the new role of the CIO will involve keeping infrastructure working, taking part in IT security while helping the company to use technology as a competitive weapon.

Here are parts of the new role of the CIO:

  •  Keep the existing infrastructure working.
  • Take an active role in cyber security.
  • Spend significant time as a consultant to business units to select and implement technology that will drive profitable business growth, customer satisfaction and anything else that is part of the firm’s strategic initiatives.
  • Assume a leadership role in understanding and suggesting technology that will support strategic initiatives of the company.
  • Integrate third party applications to take advantage of data held in company databases.

A big challenge for IT leadership is figuring out how to achieve this. There is no easy answer, nor is there an answer that fits all organizations and industries. Many people, myself included, would consider this to be overwhelming. The key is to break this huge task into many small tasks that move toward the desired result.

The solution will include skill set development for the CIO, finding a way to spend less time on infrastructure and more time in the business units and effective communication with the rest of the C-Suite, especially the CEO, CFO and COO.

The next article in this series will address the relationship between the CIO and the rest of the C-Suite. Following articles will more from description into solution.


Pete Hendrix is a blogger and a technology broker. He is also a thought leader on the relationship between IT leadership and the C-Suite as well as skill set development for IT leaders as technology changes their traditional role. He can be reached at