The chief technology officer (CTO) and chief executive officer must work together for the good of the company. The CTO is responsible for focusing on technological matters, such as computers, websites and social networking. The CEO leads the board of directors to make good decisions about company policy and finances. Even if you are a CTO working in a small or midsized business, you are another executive who could run into conflicts with the other one. There a number of ways to avoid conflicts and find common ground with your CEO.
Work With the Same Advisor
A typical CEO works closely with an advisor to make strategic decisions. As the CTO, you may use a financial or technological advisor for your own guidance. It helps to meet common ground with your CEO when you use the same consultant. Also, use the consultant as a mediator to handle disputes that cannot be resolved by anyone within the company.
For a growing small business, focus on corporate consultants who have worked with executives and understand their responsibilities. Alongside your CEO, find out if you need specialized advice in information technology, marketing, public relations or another field.
Focus on the Positives
Your success as a business leader depends on your ability to maintain a positive attitude. Many of the most successful CTOs and CEOs have dealt with numerous failures before they have finally met success. If there is a problem, whether it involves the budget or sales, evaluate both the negative and positive side. A major task of the technology officer is to upgrade equipment and focus on current technology trends. It is common for many businesspeople to find the right trends but buy the wrong products. Take the mistake of making the wrong investment as a learning experience that will help you become more perceptive next time. Staying positive is the way to recover from an executive-level problem of any size.
Work as Members of a Team
Promote teamwork at every level of the company from marketing to accounting. Work alongside your CEO to see eye to eye with other executives. CEOs have complete control over the entire company or organization, but good CEOs listen to what other leaders have to say. The chief technology officer should work with the chief information officer to combine ideas and strategies about information technology.
It’s easier to unite a team behind a common goal when every member of the team has access to the same relevant data. Many executive teams make use of business intelligence (BI) tools such as a BI dashboard (a visual display of relevant metrics, goals, and data) to get every member of the team on-board: it’s easy to argue with another team member’s opinion, but it’s easy to get behind cold hard facts.
Act More Like a Partner Than a Leader
Many CEOs act mostly like bosses who dictate their employees to give total obedience. You can only improve your relationship with a CEO who agrees to become your business partner and not just the boss. There are certain personality traits that are required to communicate well with anyone. As another executive, it is important to listen more than you talk. Whether the person is higher or lower to your position, listen to the advice that the other person gives and respect the value of honest feedback. It's also important to give more advice than you receive.
Chief officers are known to clash on a wide range of issues. The main way to connect with the CEO is to work together instead of working alone without input from anyone else. Know that you are both working for the success of the company and not for personal gain. Work to put aside your differences and collaborate on plans for the company.
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