Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hiring a new CIO? You may want to look lower (in your organization)

Looking for a shift change in your organization to increase your innovation programs? Considering spending some big bucks to hire a CIO (Chief Innovation Officer)?

Here is an innovative approach to consider: Promote one of your highly motivated, young professionals into the role. Forget about the amount of experience in management roles or their ability to craft an ROI. The younger generation work force is willing to work harder for less money if given the right opportunity and challenge.

Yes, I can think of a few negatives right off of the bat with this approach, but what about the potential positives? How might your innovation efforts improve if you had a younger generation employee who grew up using today's technology working his tail off to perform at an increasingly higher level? The lack of experience could prove to be a major asset to the role as a less experienced employee would instantly recognize that he didn’t have all the answers and would need to reach out to take advantage of other employee talent. A team work approach would happen naturally and would not need to be forced.

Following the Schulmberger model of making new Engineers work for 3 years in the oil fields along with the “rough necks” before getting their desk job, how might promoting from within your grunt forces improve your company’s ability to connect innovation efforts with employees all the way down your organization. Perhaps the fastest way to filter new innovation downward is to start the effort from the bottom ranks. As a highly motivated, 28 year old… I can see many positives to such an innovative approach and would work my tail off to get such an opportunity.

Do you have anyone in your organization like me? Maybe you can’t make them the CIO, but what innovation challenges could you give them?

Taking small steps in the right direction is the best way to make the organization shift you are looking for. How can you motivate your younger employees to take the first steps for you?

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate your perspective on this issue. It is amazing to me that companies will ignore their highly motivated young employees in order to hire someone from outside their organization that has more "years" of experience. In the end, the most important factor for the company should be how much value someone can bring to the role. As in your situation, it wouldn't surprise me if you were able to bring more value and tangible results to your company then someone who has twice as many years of experience.

    I hope that the idea of seniority finally dies out and companies start rethinking their approach to human resources. The future of their company might be sitting in their cubicle bored out of their mind and keeping themselves busy by tweeting and starting their own blog (wink, wink). If that young motivated person was given a shot at doing something bigger, maybe they would open up and flourish in that role. I hope this happens more.

    p.s.-do you know of any companies that have a culture of ignoring seniority and promoting young professionals to major corporate roles?