CIOs who inherit or acquire global IT organizations face many challenges. Dan Gingras, a partner at executive services firm Tatum LLC who has had several international stints as a CIO, offers these tips for optimizing global operations and teams:

  1. Assess your environment before making any changes.

  2. Get the help you need. This means hiring local interpreters and lawyers, and a "culture coach" who can teach you the business conventions of your host country.

  3. Consider relocating. Some international stints require time as an expatriate; others can be done remotely, albeit with significant travel.

  4. Have face-to-face meetings of global teams once a year. The relationships you and your U.S. team build will pay off during all those international conference calls the rest of the year.

  5. Don't forget IT/business alignment. It's still a work in progress in the U.S.; many other countries have even further to go. Do your part to get les chefs on board with IT initiatives.

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This was first published in September 2007

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