The technology pro's greatest enemies

How to spot -- and take down -- the six most nefarious adversaries of IT

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IT enemy No. 4: The Politico

As technology rises in importance across virtually every organization, office politicians will be looking to surf the IT wave into the executive suite -- even if they have to ride on your back to do it.

That's why CIOs who play politics are IT enemy No. 1, says Steven Levy, CEO of Lexician Consulting. "These CIOs don't understand the businesses they serve, and they'll say or do anything to get 'a seat at the table.'"

In the long run, says Levy, they end up undermining the value of IT to the enterprise.

"When they talk about reducing complexity, they mean cutting the number of applications IT has to support, not simplifying the life of the business customers they serve," he says. "They talk about IT being up to date and then can't figure out how to roll out a new version of Windows or Office until three years after it shipped. They hire bureaucrats that they think are technocrats, but the technologists in IT laugh at their skills. And they're terrified by the idea that departments and business teams might develop their own applications, seeing that as a threat to their fiefdoms rather than as a way to help the business support itself."

Recognizing the enemy: Look for managers who've mastered the art of talking out of both sides of their mouths at the same time, says Levy.

Your best defense: Dig a trench and try to outlast them. Effective CEOs are veterans at spotting those playing office politics, and the CIO honeymoon period may be short, notes Levy. Or make allies with high command to shield yourself from radioactive fallout when things implode.

"The best solution is to get the business leaders in the C-suite or with highly respected voices to laud your work and talk up your solutions, thus covering your back in a way that the CIO can't effectively undermine," says Levy.

Next: IT enemy No. 5: The Freeloader

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