During performance reviews, most CIOs think of what they've done -- or failed to do -- for their companies. But they often forget to consider the other half of the equation. That is, what has the company done for them lately?
Ron Maillette performs this self-inspection every year around the time of his birthday in August. He began at Coca-Cola Co., where he served for seven years as CIO of the restaurant and hospitality division, which sold fountain drinks. By the time he left in 2002, the division's annual revenue was closing in on $4 billion. His question to himself: "For the amount of energy I'm investing, am I getting a return that makes me feel like I want to keep doing it?"
For many years, the answer was a resounding yes. In fact, during his last three years at the beverage giant, his satisfaction peaked; he'd put a lot of effort into implementing an enterprise resource planning system and automating the salesforce.
Then everything changed.
Coca-Cola decided to integrate his division and centralize its IT infrastructure into the corporate system. Maillette disagreed with the rationale. Worse, he couldn't bear the idea of unraveling three years of work. "I took a look at what we had created, and quite frankly, I didn't want to be part of dismantling it," he says. "When you spend that much time and energy building something that was the strategic direction, ... I just didn't feel that I had a lot more energy to put it in a 90-degree turn."
At age 57, Maillette was eligible for early retirement. So he took it and formed a consultancy with a friend. Since then, he's changed jobs twice more.
This was first published in November 2006