Most conversations with top executives from large corporations are fast-paced and fun. Our conversation with John Trainor, Vice President and Chief Information Officer of Aaron’s, Inc. was certainly no expectation. The whole studio just plain buzzed with his energy.
His views on a day-in-the-life of a CIO centered on creating a great team, or more accurately a set of great teams. Groups that not only work well together but are also aligned with customers and the other functional experts inside Aaron’s. For John, agile methodologies are also key. He’s a big advocate of working with the philosophy of The Agile Manifesto, focusing on “the person, not the process, not the paperwork.”
The notion that, “Teamwork, if you do it right, is not pretty” really rounded out the perspective. Theory is one thing, making things work in the real world is quite another. Constantly asking about what is going well, what is not going well and what will be done to correct it is essential
What does he look for in someone he’ll hire? Obviously, intelligence is key. But the #1 attribute this CIO seeks is happiness. A person that is continuously positive and moving forward gets things done and gets tough problems solved. John also wants to see folks who have sought out and gotten practical experience in a field – any field – that they are passionate about. It’s not all about the technology!
The #1 mistake that will derail an IT career? Stop learning. It was fascinating to hear this guy – already at the CIO level – enthusing about all the podcasts he consumes. About programming, about network design about becoming a better CIO…
Simply way too much covered in this interview to list it all here. Tune in and get the full picture! And for sure, you need to hear the end as Trainor talks about the future for Aaron’s. Big, exciting things coming!
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