I spend a lot of time listening to people, trying to triangulate from many stakeholders what really is the problem that I’m supposed to be solving. Most people in the CIO role are pretty intuitive, good analysts and problem solvers, and usually we’re right on the money with our instincts. But the higher we go, the more we can sometimes get ahead of ourselves with solutions that we think are right, but may not be best for the business. We need to take that step back and look for what others see as the root cause of the problem - the real issue we’re trying to solve.
I will speak with stakeholders one-on-one, get details from each of them, use that information when talking with others and start forming a proposal or solution. You have to approach stakeholders on their playing field. They do want to trust that you know what you’re doing, but they really want to know that you understand their particular issue from a business perspective.
You’re only as good as your last meeting. Even though you’ve gained an alliance with a stakeholder, it continually needs to be nurtured because people don’t just shut off their information intake. The stakeholder may understand your position and justifications, but once you walk out of their office, someone else could walk in with another idea. If you’re going to work to nurture a relationship, it can’t be done haphazardly.
For me, it’s like making rounds. I set myself regularly scheduled time to follow up on what we talked about the last time, and I try to keep everything very informal - just stopping by or seeing if they have time to chat because that stops it from becoming just another required meeting.