Sinofsky Departs

Petraeus’s resignation as CIA Director shocked the nation, but those of us in tech were also surprised to see Microsoft’s Steven Sinofsky leaving. Sinofsky is widely regarded as the force responsible for getting the Windows client OS back on track after the Vista debacle. Like Apple’s Scott Forstall (dismissed a few week’s ago), Sinofsky was a member of the Inner Circle and arguably an Heir-apparent, but apparently couldn’t play well with others.

Last month’s profile of Sinofsky in CNET presented a “command and control”, “my way or the highway” manager that left bodies in his wake. And Ballmer’s internal email about Sinofsky’s departure called out his successor’s “proven ability to effectively collaborate and drive a cross company agenda”.

While the gossip is voluminous and interesting (check out the latest Windows Weekly podcast, among many other reports), it’s a good lesson for IT managers … No matter how right you think you are or even how right you actually are, don’t underestimate the value of fostering relationships and being part of a team. Very, very few of us are both that competent in both the technology and the Machiavellian behaviors to succeed without collaborating with our peers.

Sometimes that may mean accomplishing less than you know you can and doing some CYA.  It’s counter-intuitive and it sucks, but sometimes it is how it is.