Taking on extra work

The other day, I had an interesting conversation with [Nivaldo Marcusso](http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=27806042&authType=name&authToken=w2Uhttp://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=27806042&authType=name&authToken=w2UT), CIO and executive superintendent at Bradesco Foundation, about IT leaders taking on extra responsibilities outside technology. The Foundation is the largest educational and social inclusion organisation in Brazil. It is also a shareholder of [Bradesco Bank, which is one of the top three banks in the country ](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banco_Bradesco) and part of the world’s 100 most valuable brands ranking by the Financial Times, with over $360bn in total assets. An old-timer at the NGO, Marcusso joined the Foundation as an ICT teacher in the mid-1980s. As the years went by, he climbed the management ranks and reached the top of the IT leadership pyramid. Just like in other parts of the world, CIOs in Brazilian organisations across the public, private and third sector are spending increasingly smaller chunks of their time in IT operations and taking on different tasks across other areas of the business. So I was keen to hear about his experience. Well, Marcusso is no exception to the rule when it comes to IT management trends: in the last 12 months, he added responsibility for other areas including admin, human resources and finance to his existing technology and innovation remit. But according to the executive, this is something that he had anticipated and prepared for. “I had been preparing myself to improve leadership skills for the change and gained several executive qualifications at postgraduate level at respected universities over the last decade,” said Marcusso. “Of course, there were areas I did not have a complete grasp of, but 2010 was a positive year of learning and I have always enjoyed learning and improving my skills,” he added. According to the CIO, who was a professor at MBA courses in various universities in the state of Sao Paulo, qualifications are important when embracing other tasks, but preparing the management structure of the IT function beforehand is also crucial. Following the changes in his remit, Marcusso now has five managers in the areas of admin and finance reporting to him, in addition to one manager working in innovation and six managers responsible for technology-related work. “It is paramount to be able to prepare your substitute. I place immense value on the dissemination of knowledge and succession planning, as well as giving people an opportunity to grow,” he added. For technical managers, having hands-on involvement with other business disciplines can be challenging, despite any academic grounding. Having had first-hand experience in the matter, Marcusso advises peers to take time to analyse the new area before making any drastic changes. “Technical leaders tend to be focused on short-term results. But sometimes, especially when the job involves changes in business processes and therefore people, it is always best to take time to understand the context and mental models in which people are working and generally, put the brakes on a little.”

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