CIOs should be a major player in all C-level meetings and discussions, but they are often treated like the little brother or sister in a room full of bigger kids. An article from Proformative argues that collaboration with the CIO is essential for business, pointing to a recent survey which revealed companies that placed a high level of importance on executive relationships with a firm’s CIO were four times more likely to be successful than companies that did not stress such partnerships.
The connection between CIO inclusion and company success is pretty straightforward. Collaboration typically leads to companies having more investments in emerging technology and applications, which allows the company to keep up with industry trends. They also tend to have more well-planned business growth strategies, as well as more deliberate approaches in managing and measuring performance and innovation. Importantly, collaboration with the CIO makes companies more likely to have IT projects performed on time and on budget and even to be more optimistic about the future.
Fostering the partnerships amongst C-level executives may not always be easy, but when the alternative is so detrimental to company health, egos must be set aside. However, even when ego is not the problem, barriers to communication can still arise:
Relationships between C-level employees can be plagued with miscommunication, different expectations and misunderstandings, making it extremely trying for departments to be on the same page about projects or growth strategies. Some of these relationships can be difficult to build, let alone maintain, as some higher-ups may believe other executives are sabotaging their projects or goals. For example, a firm’s CFO may worry that a CIO’s pet project isn’t in line with business financial goals, while a CIO may believe their plan will result in a significant return on investment and help a firm grow.
The solution is to have meetings often and to explain why projects are important and what benefits they will produce. When the other C-level executives are on board and on the same page with the CIOs, they will stop treating them like the little kid and appreciate them for how vital they really are to the business.