Hubris belongs in the news, not your organization.
In a performance driven environment, CIOs and IT leaders are continually challenged with delivering exceptional value, to foster and enable change, and to be innovative in finding solutions that will differentiate their organization in their marketplace. I've covered some of this in a previous post - The Most Important Post on Strategy You'll Ever Read
Often this means being first to market with a product or service, and then maintaining that position.
Along the way, don't fall victim to the same problems that RIM and News of the World are facing.
Here's my advice drawn from the recent headlines.
Point #1 - Don't be too smart for your own good.
RIM became known as Canada's Innovators. If I had to be given a title, I'd certainly appreciate this one. The problem was... the title had an expiry date. If you work hard and get out in front, don't assume you will stay there or that you know better than your customers. This is called hubris, and it befalls not only organizations (as outlined in Jim Collins book - How the Mighty Fall (see my review here)), but also can impact IT leaders.
While RIM is still making money, very few people are denying that there are major leadership problems, and many do not hold out great hope for RIM's ultimate survival.
Point #2 - There IS a line. Never, ever, cross it.
In its quest to be the first newspaper to break a story, certain leaders at News of the World decided that the boundaries of legality, morality and ethics needed to be moved. and they are paying the consequences dearly.
The venerable institution will shut down this coming Sunday, and dozens of people will lose their jobs.
In your drive to succeed as an IT leader, learn from this. Ignoring compliance or licensing issues to meet budgets, improper handling of personal or financial information, being lax on privacy issues are sadly not uncommon in the IT world. It's too big a risk.
What are your thoughts on lessons IT leaders can learn from the recent news? I'd be delighted to hear.