Lets start off by saying Loyalty is Dead. Companies will do whatever they need to to be profitable, meaning they are willing to screw over employees and customers to please shareholders. Sorry, it’s a fact- it’s the way the system is currently rigged. Blame congress.

What really burns me though is the blatant disrespect that some executive teams will have for their employees.

Take the following example that happened to a friend of mine. His company is floundering, and despite their business obviously moving from paper to the Internet, the company (minus IT) refuses to recognize the growing importance of the Internet in their business. They ignore is so much so that they don’t even have a voice for IT (i.e. a CIO) on the executive team. After layoffs, pay cuts, and a new company strategy that essentially stated “Sell More [Paper] Products”, the executive team (well, the CFO and CEO) decided to field questions from the various groups, and set up a Strategy Q&A with IT on a Friday morning.

Fast forward to the meeting. Someone asked, for the 100th time, “Are we considering bringing a CIO on board?”

Now, this is a question that most of IT wants answered. I’d say it’s in the top ten “questions we want answered” list. They know their opinion is more or less ignored because there’s no one on the executive team to say “No, that’s a stupid idea and waste of resources” on their behalf. IT blames many of their woes on the fact that they don’t have that voice, just like the business and marketing units blame IT for everything else.

So everyone was incredibly disappointed when they were told “We’re still investigating that option”. It was demoralizing.

The problem was that answer was a bald-face lie. Lie Lie Lie. Not only had they decided “oh, yeah we should have a CIO,” but they had started looking three weeks prior, had already went through the interview process, picked someone, and made the offer. Supposedly he even had a start date.

Monday morning the Director my friend reports to called a meeting and said something along the following lines:

“Hey guys, the executive team has hired a CIO and he starts tomorrow. I apologize for keeping this from you this long- I admit I’ve known about this for at least 3 hours. They’ve apparently been looking for three weeks.”

So the IT structure looks something like this:

Exec Team
| < --CIO goes here Head of IT /|\ Directors /|\ Grunts There are two things concerning about this:

  • The Head of IT is boned, since he is the only report to the new CIO and will probably be cut (Which is sorta OK, since after all the BS he’s seen, he had to have been looking).
  • Once the Head of IT is gone, the Directors will be the CIO’s direct reports. You know, the Directors who didn’t know that the position was even open until the day before the guy started.
  • OK, OK, fine- lets suppose the company really doesn’t care about vetting his technical skills or whether or not he’s a good fit for the people he’d be overseeing- lets suppose they value secrecy instead. That would almost be believable if people from the business and/or marketing departments at the Director level hadn’t not only known about it, but were supposedly IN on the interviewing process!

    So, there’s two levels of disrespect going on here- one, disrespect towards the Directors under the CIO; and two, the bald-face lies to the entire IT dept when they asked if they were looking for a CIO.

    Ready for the kicker? Here’s one of the questions asked before the CIO question:

    “Why would we trust anything the executive team says? […]How can we trust their judgment?[…]”

    Which is great, because the employees were *already* questioning their judgment and whether or not they could trust the executive team. The execs responded by lying about another question. That’s class right there.

    Loyalty and Trust are closely related- without Trust, there can never be true Loyalty. I think the few people at my friend’s company who were still loyal to the company itself have lost their trust of the executive team. I can’t say I blame them.

    Loyalty is dead anyways, right?