I Heard Something Remarkable the Other Day…

I’ll admit, at the outset, that I have very high standards.  During the past 20 years, I’ve worked with more than 100 CIO’s, including some of the best in the business, and I’ve read more than my share of management books.

Imagine my surprise (delight) to hear a new word, one that I have not ever heard from a CIO when describing what makes his/her organization unique: empathy.


This is beyond “partnership,” deeper than good “customer service,” much more meaningful than “alignment with the business,” all of which are good, but not sufficient.  By driving his organization toward an empathetic response to each and every person they serve, Todd Pierce at Genentech Informatics asks for the deepest kind of connection between IT and the world it serves: true understanding of needs, sincere interest in problem resolution, a genuine bond.

While his department helps fight cancer, and is perhaps a higher order of social good than merely improving shareholder return or simply selling more widgets, we can all borrow from the sentiment; whether it is a desktop upgrade, a custom BI report, or yet another new logo for the website, we need to aspire to that higher standard of an empathetic IT.

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