Executive Career Counsel from Scott Fenton, VP/CIO, River Wind Systems (An Intel Company)

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Executive Career Counsel from Scott Fenton, VP/CIO, River Wind Systems (An Intel Company)

3e70a7dOne of the best ‘perks’ of my business is being warmly introduced to my clients and colleague’s all time favorite mentors and leadership role models. Anyone who knows me can quickly surmise that I am a leadership nut—I have an insatiable curiosity to understand what makes the best and the most influential leaders tick. In light of my forthcoming book, The “Suite” Spot, I have been collecting interviews with some of these men and women for the past few years. Today, I wanted to share some sage wisdom from one of these gentlemen, Scott Fenton, VP/CIO of River Wind Systems (An Intel Company).

Thank you John Ragan for the introduction. Enjoy and let us know what you think about Scott’s counsel:
On confidence:

“I began my career 25 years ago at Tektronix, which back then was a red hot place to work in technology. It was quite intimidating being around so many really smart people. And public speaking at that time felt like a living nightmare. However, over time, through networking and increased familiarity with my expertise, my confidence grew. There is no way to avoid those growing pains. If you are not feeling those pangs of growth, then you are probably not expanding yourself in the way that you need to if you see yourself eventually acquiring a senior level position. If you want to get to the C-suite, it is mandatory that you embody tremendous confidence and extraordinary public speaking skills.”

On developing people:

“Early on in my career, a common fear based approach to success that I flirted with was to never hire people who were smarter than you for fear that they would eventually replace you. I quickly realized that this was faulty logic and that I would much rather surround myself with the best and the brightest so that we can be successful together. The saying my team has come to know all too well is, “If I know more about your job than you do, then we are both in trouble”. My management philosophy is that my people are the experts in their particular roles and I want to serve as a strategic sounding board for them. I make sure that I am spending quality time with my reports and I also believe in checking in with folks who don’t report up to me but who impact our overall business. Ongoing open communication is really most important when charged with developing a team and growing a company.”

On satisfaction:

“These days, I get most jazzed by working with other executives on strategy. Earlier on, I was very tactically focused and consumed with keeping our systems running. Since taking on the CIO role, my sole focus is helping to grow our company and keep customers happy. This involves reviewing business trends, providing tools and technology that will help our enterprise expand its reach, and networking with our industry leaders.”

On delegation:

“When people come to me with problems I ask them: What is your issue? What problem are you trying to solve? After discussing, I offer my ideas and then try to put them in touch with the appropriate resource or person who can best help them.”

On strategy:

“For me, thinking strategically meant taking off my technical hat and putting on my business hat and then having casual, but critical conversations with the senior leaders of my organization. Sometimes, this meant popping into their offices or catching them in the hallways and engaging them in a thoughtful dialogue around our business. I get frustrated at times with droning casual chit-chat like someone dropping into my office and asking me how my weekend was and wanting details, or perhaps some comment about the weather. I think to myself, “Really, is that all what you want to talk about? ”
If you are looking to become more strategic, focus on becoming a trusted advisor for your organizations leadership. Work to understand what is important to them, then help them problem solve and build those relationships over time. I worked to learn something about every department of the organizations I have been a part of so I would be sure to offer counsel that took into account each dimension of our business’ total landscape.”


By | 2014-05-28T02:11:10+00:00 May 27th, 2014|

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