Ep.88 The Blue-Collar CIO with Ed Toner, CIO at the State of Nebraska
Featuring Ed Toner, CIO at the State of Nebraska.
Connect with Ed on LinkedIn
Watch on Vimeo! - https://vimeo.com/showcase/9412155/video/697107505
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"Throughout my career, it seems that when you set a goal, the one thing that you have to do is make sure you communicate not only what the goal is but why is that a goal? Why is that important? Why do we need to do it? And so my entire. The basis for that was to let them know that I was going to communicate that there was nothing that I was going to ask them to do that I wouldn't back up with. This is why we need to do it."
"Was really important that we were always going to have each other's back. And what. In those first few bonds was, you've got my loyalty.
That's guaranteed. And now what I need is I need to earn your loyalty. And by doing that, we're going to move the state forward. And that loyalty involves in adopting those new ways of doing business that they've never even heard of before. But now they're evangelists. They go out there and I was not. That's not standard.
That's not industry standard. That's not the way we should do it. And that's really where it was. It was a combination of all communicate, always letting you know what I'm thinking, and I'll always have your back. You can come to me. I always have your back, but at the same time, I need you to embrace some of the new things that I'm bringing.
And I know that change is hard. And that was the message I was trying to get across."
"And we're all going to learn more from our mistakes. And sometimes what you think is a mistake at the time, turns out to be a success in the most recent one that I can remember is. We had a project here at the state that was an enterprise resource planning and ERP project that was going south.
And I pulled the plug on it and at the time I knew immediately, okay, this is going to get scrutiny and criticism. Of course it was in consultation with the governor. He said, yep, that's the right thing to do it. The next thing I knew. All the newspapers were wanting interviews. Everybody wanted to know, why did you do this?
Why, what were you thinking? And of course you never really want that level of spotlight on anything, but it comes with the job. And I knew that. And so I did multiple interviews and explained my reasoning behind what I was doing and why I was changing the direction of the. Which was initiated by another agency.
And I was really what happened was I was asked to review the project. And when I did, I made that decision that did not make me very popular. But it was amazing that the Nebraskans who read the article in actually looked at my reasoning and then saw the results of what happened afterwards. How it turned from, wow, you're killing a project after we spent quite a bit of money, but then saw that the longterm there was going to be a gain for the state in a savings long-term.
And so I ended up getting emails from people. I didn't even know, just saying, thanks for having Nebraska's back and thinking this through over multiple years versus the short term. little bit of short-term loss, but a long-term gain. And so it turned around. At first I was, believe me, I was.
I was not very popular for my decision of reviewing it and then killing it off. But then it became, it came to make a lot of sense after everyone understood my again, once I had a chance to communicate. And so those avenues of communication, like the newspaper, which I was dreading.
Actually was, they were my best vehicle because it got my message out."
And so whenever you bought a piece of machine. You had to justify it because some of the machinery I had, some of the hydraulic presses, were older than I was for sure. And so you knew when you bought that piece of equipment, it was going to be around for a very long time. And if you were going to make that investment in equipment one.
What is the payback over a long period of time. And then two, are you even going to be making that product again in 10 years? It's one of those things that you have multiple inputs that you have to evaluate to make that either piece of automation, which was very expensive. And you always had to prove to the plant manager, that this is going to pay for itself over time.
And, a lot of people think, oh, you come in with automation, and oh, how many people are you going to say? Often none. No, we're not going to do anything. We're just going to get a better quality product out the door. And that better quality is going to pay for itself over time. So I think it was really my training in manufacturing.
That really had me looking always at the long-term gains.
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