CEO to CEO-Are Leaders Made or Born? (Part 1 of 3)

By John Seville, CEO, Chief Technology Consultants, Inc.

This last January I read 6 books on leadership. By the end, I was almost paralyzed with introspection. Principles (almost identical) were used to “prove” two opposites of leadership. Studies would theorize that leadership was highly complex (are leaders born or made, for example), or naively simple (you just know it when you see it).
At the risk of jumping in and adding to the layers of confusion, I want to offer a simple, but not easy, approach to leadership. My contention is that leaders must…

  • Possess 3 internal qualities (extraordinary leaders are born with them)
  • Answer 4 questions (to accomplish something)
  • Grow in 4 progressive disciplines (good leaders are made by them)


First, there is a quality of unquenchable optimism in the greatest of leaders. This DNA is not trainable, in my opinion. You either have it or you don’t. It goes to the heart of how I would define a leader, “The ability to take others to a brighter future.”  Every leader who brings others to a different place has the ability to generate hope. In fact, my belief is that before anyone exercises faith (perseverance), they must first embrace real hope. Leaders who lead (they can’t help it), are fascinated by the future. The interesting thing is that no matter how bleak the circumstances are, the authentic leader honestly believes the future will get better! This quality, in a word, is wrapped up in VISION. He or she has the uncanny ability to focus on things that are “to be” rather than on how things “are”. What generates hope in others is that there is a reality or believability in the words and actions of this person. Otherwise, the inspiration or enthusiasm quickly evaporates into foolhardiness. This visionary becomes known as the dreamer!

Second, there is an appropriate ego within great leaders. A quiet, controlled confidence attends the man or woman who guides others into a better future. Accompanying the leader who gets things done is the mirror-window mentality: when things go right he looks out the window and praises those who helped get it done ; when things go wrong, he looks in the mirror and takes responsibility. In a word, he gains respect because he has “an accurate assessment of himself before God.” He or she realizes that “apart from Him, they can do nothing” but because of an in-born sense of destiny there is an unshakeable sense of calling and a determined staying power. Quitting isn’t an option.

Third, and most important: leaders must be clear. Leaders can be wrong but they cannot be confusing. There is an inborn sense of discernment that forms great leaders…an ability to ferrot out the good, better, best with a sense of priority. There are NOT 16 things that are equally important in the project, job or plan: because every leader knows you have to be a river not a swamp. Not only does an identity come from narrowing the focus, but a feeling of the good kind of pride evolves from a team going in the same direction.

Leaders come with all kinds of personalities; even varied levels of character. Some have meant their ends for good, others for personal agendas that ended up being evil. Yes, there are leaders that accomplish good and leaders that produce chaos. What determines that? I believe there are 4 progressive disciplines that despite being 1) Optimistic, 2) Humble and 3) Clear can lead to either good or bad results.  [To be continued]

CFOs Identify “Managing IT Systems” as one of their Top 10 Concerns

As if busy CFOs did not have enough to be concerned about, “Managing IT Systems” was named as one of the top 10 concerns of CFOs in a recent poll conducted by CFO magazine.  Recognizing the huge liability of inaccurate information as well as concerns around security and business continuity, CFOs are beginning to take a more active role in auditing and assessing the management of their IT environment.  Top concerns about their own companies included:

  1. Ability to forecast results
  2. Working-capital management
  3. Maintaining morale/productivity during economic downturn
  4. Balance-sheet weakness
  5. Cost of health care
  6. Attracting and retaining qualified employees
  7. Supply-chain risk
  8. Managing IT systems
  9. Pension obligations
  10. Protection of intellectual property

For additional information go to Business Outlook Survey.

Is It Time to Update Your IT Portfolio?

“My IT costs too much” is probably the most used phrase amongst CEO’s and CFO’s. Is it true? That depends on how well you’ve managed your IT portfolio. What IT portfolio you ask? The one that is running your business but you’ve never considered it a “portfolio”. Just like an Investment portfolio, an IT portfolio, has winners and losers, especially during these economic conditions. You’ve created this portfolio over the years by adding software, hardware, vendor agreements and people to it in order to support your company’s growth or so you thought.

At CTCi, we believe IT costs should be managed like an investment portfolio. Not only should you add to that portfolio during upturns but you should also look for key improvements during downturns and add to it as well. The key to this type of strategy is to know you have the right “investments” in the portfolio and your business is truly leveraging that portfolio for company’s profitability. CTCi can help you evaluate your IT portfolio through our IT Assessment program and build an IT portfolio that is right for the future growth of your company. This type of approach to managing your IT costs will help CEO’s and CFO’s know, that their IT, doesn’t cost too much because only the “right” investments for company growth, will be in that portfolio. For additional information about our IT Assessment or IT Management Consulting service, email or call us at 1 (800) 985-9433 ext.101.

IT M&A Due Diligence

Outsourcing Remediation

CIO Assist Program

Interim IT Leadership

STOP! Before You Get Sold on a CRM Solution

John Seville, CEO & Managing Partner, Chief Technology Consultants, Inc.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is a strategic mandate for all businesses.  It is crticial to manage and maintain your customer base.  But, CRM can be costly and if the strategic plan for your CRM solution is not properly prepared, a CRM implementation can include 1) unnecessary product components, 2) over-engineered technology and 3) excessively expensive on-going maintenance costs.

However, there is a better way!  Implementing traditional software solutions on expensive hardware, using expensive IT Consultants is Not the way to proceed.  Using a “Software as a Service” (SaaS) model is now a viable alternative for CRM. 

To request a free copy of the research document, “Why You Don’t Want to Buy a Traditional CRM Software Solution”, please email me at  In the document you will discover 1) how a CRM solution can be implemented for a reasonable cost with minimal ongoing maintenance costs, 2) what the significant benefits of this approach are for your company and 3) why you need to do the hard work of creating a CRM strategy before you consider technology tools.  Email me at