Ed Toner

Blog: My First Week

My first week as the CIO, I have two themes for this introductory entry in my blog: Communication and Loyalty .


Most of my first week has been spent getting to know the OCIO leadership team and other agency Directors. I have surprised a few folks by stopping by their workstations or while standing at the elevator and asking what their responsibilities are and how things are going. I will continue this practice so don’t be concerned. Communication is essential to any organization, and it works best when it is bi-directional. I want every one of you to feel comfortable to communicate your thoughts and ideas, not just listen to mine.

Sign: Loyalty means I am down with you whether your are wrong or right, but I will tell you when you are wrong and help you get it right.


In my discussions with people inside and outside of the OCIO I have been asked a similar question, “Are you going to wear Red during football season?” Obviously trying to determine my loyalty to the Huskers versus the Aggies. These conversations started me considering the concept of loyalty: what engenders loyalty? What qualities are necessary to maintain loyalty? After all, people want to be loyal to a person, cause, or organization that deserves loyalty.

What inspired your loyalty to the Huskers? Did you attend UNL? Have a favorite coach or player you admired? What were the qualities that inspired your loyalty? Did you grow up in a family where Husker loyalty was a tradition? Perhaps a relative is a husker fan and inspired your loyalty? What qualities in your relative inspired that loyalty?

What inspires your loyalty to your job and to the OCIO? Is it admiration for a mentor? The challenges of IT that inspire you? My goal is to inspire and build loyalty throughout the agency for both your job and the agency itself.

Thoughts on how to build loyalty:

  • Give meaning to tasks. Make sure everyone understands the reason for a task. If we can’t explain the why...we have to reevaluate the task.
  • Model behaviors you want others to follow.
  • Make it easy to get things done by offering a limited number of viable options. Standardization and Process builds efficiencies.
  • Be courageous—Admit when you are wrong...taking full responsibility for actions and admitting to mistakes.
  • If you are courageous, others will be courageous

And finally, about that Husker Red on Friday.. I will be sporting a kind of red:...I will be wearing Texas A&M Maroon….but I will have the courage to admit that I could be wrong.