For anyone who has got lost in a city centre one-way system, the joys of the two-way street, even if it means a bit of negotiation with vehicles coming the other way, are obvious.
So it is with relationships with business colleagues, even though individuals may be at different levels in the hierarchy.
Our feature article What does the CEO want from you? poses the question, "What does the CEO want from you?" But the other side of the question, "What do you want from the CEO?" is always present and equally important for CIOs and IT directors.
The leading headhunter quoted in the article makes pertinent points about the limits of too many CEOs' thinking when it comes to recruiting a CIO. The stated desire for a CIO with "commercial acuity" may in reality mean, "Can they screw suppliers and keep to the budget?"
She also says, "Although CEOs want CIOs with drive, passion and energy, they confuse that with youth, and see the ideal age for a CIO as 45."
It is important to remember that such a narrow focus restricts the pool at both ends, neglecting both the experience and purposefulness of those older and the energy and ambition of those younger.
Our article highlights the ideal characteristics of the CIO as strong personal brand, power and presence, being hugely innovative, and being a strategic influencer.
Boardrooms are not generally known as the preserves of the ego-free, which begs the question for CIOs: is your CEO secure enough to appreciate your talents without feeling threatened?
Getting the answer right can make the difference between the one-way street that leads to frustration and conflict or the two-way route to a genuinely fruitful partnership offering rewards at both the personal and the corporate level.
This was first published in October 2006