by Chris Curran, with research by Michael Mariani
I am very passionate about coaching team sports and have been a basketball player most of my life. So, I read with great interest a recent MIT Sloan Management Review article, What Can Managers Learn From College Basketball?
There are three very interesting points:
1. That the majority of new jobs are sourced through “weak ties,” not close relationships. (I never heard this before, but it makes sense. Interestingly, I heard the same thing at a presentation last week by Andy McAfee on Enterprise 2.0. The Baader-Meinhof phenomenon in action?)
2. Between 2001 and 2007 more than 280 coaching changes were made across 341 colleges in the study. See any parallels here to the CIO tenure situation?
3. Many of the coaches are part of one of eight “family trees” – The John Calipari Tree or The Rick Pitino Tree, for example. Furthermore, being part of one of these trees improves your chances of landing good jobs.
This got me thinking: Are there family trees for the Chief Information Officer profession?
To begin exploring this question, we started with the CIO 100 and supplemented it with LinkedIn and biographical data available on the web. For anyone who has tried to develop an easily understandable network map of customers, contacts, etc. you will know that it is a difficult task to identify links and make any sense out of them. That said, we think there are some indications that CIO trees do exist.
After spending a few days digging through the data, a few trees seemed to emerge. One example was around John McKinley, the CIO at GE Capital, Merrill Lynch, President/CTO at AOL and now a partner with a digital business incubator, LaunchBox. Here is an example of some of the IT leaders who were in John’s organizations and their current firm:
Since I don’t know anyone on this chart, it only represents leaders who were working in the IT organizations during John McKinley’s tenure and went on to CIO positions later in their careers. Given all of the IT organization variants, it’s also unclear what kind of reporting relationships existed in each organization and how much influence or opportunity for mentoring there was. But this data can at least fuel an interesting discussion. The idea of a CIO leadership tree seems a even a little more plausible at GE, given Jack Welch’s history of developing future corporate leaders.
The other interesting question explored in Daniel Halgen’s original study, “All in the Family: Network Ties as Determinants of Reputation and Identity in NCAA Basketball”, is if members of strong coaching trees are more resilient in the job market. His research found this to be true and that the jobs were more prestigious for those affiliated with the trees.
I wonder if by more prominently highlighting our leadership lineage, we can land more desirable jobs? Food for thought.
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