The CIO's people get plenty from the relationship, too. Outside loyalists, such as recruiters and consultants who contract with certain CIOs, say they receive valuable referrals and future work. Hotshot technology professionals and others who move around with a particular CIO say that with each job together, they learn more and lead more.
Before he took a job as an IT consultant and manager at Accenture last year, John Melott followed one CIO- Wayne Sadin, now at Loomis-to six companies over 18 years. Sadin has been one of the CIO profession's elite. Back in 2000 when he led technology at Bank United, he earned nearly $760,000 and had perks typical of superstar CIOs: a car allowance, financial planning services and a country club membership.
Melott and others who have worked with Sadin say he's an innovator-marrying technology to business strategy before that was part of the CIO job description. Melott's specialty is IT operations, including designing infrastructure, managing data centers and directing technical services. "He dragged me all over the country," Melott says. "But I always knew that anytime Wayne called, it was always going to be a great opportunity. With each one, my horizon was getting broader and broader."
If you strive to be a CIO who can command a high-powered entourage, take a lesson or two from Melott, Sias and two other star polishers: recruiter Tony Pannagl, president of IS&T in Houston, and publicist Wendy Serafin, principal of the Nifares Group.
Good project managers are always in demand. Great project managers can stay employed forever, says Shaklee's Harris (Shaklee is a private multilevel marketer of cleaning and nutrition products). Harris realized this when he arrived as CIO of Nike in 1998 to find the European division's ERP project in trouble.
"The European business head made it clear that from his perspective, getting the project on track and completed successfully was my priority number one," Harris recalls.
He put Sias, who was already at Nike in the U.S., in charge of the project, relying on her know-how in putting together teams and motivating people, he says. "With someone like Rhonda, you know you are going to get a full and accurate picture of what is happening, communicated frequently, with a clear depiction of what decisions need to be made, what recommendations go with those decisions and what specific things I can do to help the project be successful," he says.