The VP of No

I can’t recall when I first found the classic book “VP of NO” — but it’s always stuck with me. Nowadays I know with more precision about the various types of VPs out there.

When IT isn’t seen as strategic (i.e. doesn’t report to the CEO) and instead reports to the CFO, then it becomes part of the cost machine. And costs need to get reduced.

When IT is known to be strategic (i.e. reports to the CEO) it’s owning more of the business priorities of the org. But if they’re only rewarded for reducing risk or reducing cost, and not rewarded for taking risks to achieve growth, then their ascribed to the business of saying no.

IT leaders who grow out of the tech-only universe recognize the importance of being valued as an upstream partner to business. That means covering the whole surface of operational efficiency WITH customer centricity.

But the Marketing leader is more easily seen as a business leader in comparison to the IT leader. That’s because there’s a high mastery of financial terminology that maps investment to returns in generating demand for an organization. Also, the CMO speaks into what the customer wants — versus talking about technology details like “responsive” or “cloud native” (i.e. “speaking machine”) — so they’re more credible as claiming that they care the most about the *paying* customer.

I’ll come back to this one day … —JM