Troy Lethem arrived at Capitol Insurance Cos. to find an underappreciated, demoralized IT shop. As VP of information services at the $250 million Madison, Wis., outfit, Lethem knew he needed to become a change agent. He set about scoring an early win for IT by forming a SWAT team dedicated to solving a simple problem for the customer service reps: writing a proactive help desk message for claims agents. That bought Lethem's team some time to write serious code.
Next came a reconnaissance mission: interviews with employees who conveyed what they needed. Finally, Lethem tackled employee buy-in with straight talk on how the organization was changing. "As CIO, I sit between IT and the organization, trying to make sure it's harmonious."
Stefanie McCann was formerly editor at large at CIO Decisions magazine. To comment on this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org.