A new executive role has emerged, the chief information officer or CIO. Five successful CIOs in five different industry types agreed to be observed for one work week each. Perhaps the most important shared characteristic among these successful information executives was their use of figurative or metaphorical language. Anecdotes illustrating this particularly effective form of communication are provided from each of the five environments: insurance, university, manufacturing, government agency, and utilities. The ability to read ongoing situations from others′ perspective seemed to enable the CIOs to use metaphorical language more effectively. In turn, seeking the appropriate metaphor or analogy seemed to sharpen their ability to read situations from others′ perspective.
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