How CFOs and CIOs can avoid conflict

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Balancing Act

The Labor Department's chief financial officer Sam Mok has joked that four people meeting to make a decision is three too many.

But there is some truth to Mok's remark. CFOs, CIOs and other senior managers can struggle to agree on issues because they're focusing on the different needs of their agency.

As a CFO for more than 10 years in two separate agencies, Mok has come up with five rules that can make the coordination easier.
  • Communication is key.

  • Understand your roles and don't cut each other off.

  • Titles don't matter. You earn respect by exercising professional judgment.

  • People, people, people. Hire the right people for supporting roles and have confidence in their ability to get the job done correctly the first time.

  • Find common interests with your counterpart. If you don't have the same priorities for your agency, you will not be in sync.

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