Are you a CEO’s CIO? What about a hybrid business-technologist? Do you have staying power? To be truthful, the CIO position is not typically a stable one. But according to Jonathan Feldman in a blog for InformationWeek, your chances of clenching this position are greatly improved by heeding three critical factors of the Chief Information Officer role.
Factor #1: Walk the Business Talk
Learn the lingo of the business world and lose the acronyms and the tech-speak. A good CIO values business over technology. Read business publications to stay knowledgeable about “the goings on” of business. Feldman recommends the Wall Street Journal or Harvard Business Review. Try earning a certification if it will keep you up to speed.
Factor #2: Manage Up, Down, and Sideways
Learn to manage “sideways” by building ties with your peers at the managerial level. Trust is an important factor that leads to digital innovation within the organization. The CIO must build relationships external to the business as well, to fish for innovative ideas and to assess the risk of those ideas. This all amounts to a marketing edge that helps the CIO minimize cost and maximize productivity.
Factor #3: People are Trickier than Tech
Since IT is never a static profession, the CIO needs to be abreast of the constant change that will be occurring; from troubleshooting problems to deploying and designing new technologies, the job is full of surprises and challenges, especially when dealing with people:
The right CIO will steer the right people into IT, see that they stay, make sure that they have the right skill sets and adapt to changing technology, and will never tolerate sociopaths. The right CIO understands that folks with this alchemical blend of skills can get another job tomorrow. It's up to him to make sure this doesn't happen so that the business continues to have an edge over the competition.
Overall, Feldman recommends that the would-be CIO seek leadership training immediately. Instincts are fine, he says, but there’s a lot more to leading an IT outfit than meets the eye.