CIO Asks: How Do I Get the Same Perks as Other Senior Executives?

"In my last performance review, I received high marks. I asked for a company-provided car, which all other senior executives have. I was told I would have to forgo 1% of my raise to get one. I also asked about the salary continuation plan for senior officers and was told I don't qualify. Should I hang tough and hope things change, or have I run up against a members-only club that means I should start looking for a new job?"

Our expert panel weighs in:

Kim Batson,

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Career Management Coaching.com, Sammamish, Wash.
In many sectors, including yours, CIOs have traditionally been viewed differently from the rest of the senior team. Fortunately, that situation is beginning to change. My recommendation is to hold on for at least six months. During that time, you may find a way to break through the barrier. Be proactive but not pushy in seeking out the CEO. Invite him to lunch without waiting for him to ask you. Try to introduce a business initiative that could increase revenue or save costs. Postpone discussions about your "demands," such as the inequities of your package as compared with those of other senior executives, and continue to build your relationship with the CEO and your peers. See if this strategy helps you get what you want before you jump ship.

Renee Arrington, Pearson Partners International Inc., Dallas
Before you hang it up, consider a few things. Have other newcomers gained admission to the inner circle? It's important to understand how your skills align with your company's needs in the short and the long term. If you have more to offer than your company requires, consider a job search. But if you decide to start looking now, be prepared for questions about your short tenure. The bottom line: Try to give it six more months. By then, your invitation to the inner circle could be in the mail.

Jean Fuller, Fuller Coaching, Woodside, Calif.
First, never give up on this three-pronged strategy: deliver results, refocus on the most important issues for the CEO, and find a way to get on the CEO's calendar for a substantive but personal discussion. Also, it's important to ask whether you're being "business strategic" and negotiating enough. You might get further and have more of your requests satisfied if you hone your negotiating style. For advice on negotiating strategies, there are some great books out there, such as Getting to Yes, Getting Past No, Difficult Conversations and The Shadow Negotiation.

If you have a career question or experience to share, write to us at editor@ciodecisions.com.

This was first published in August 2007

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