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CIOs and the Art of Succession Planning

Through tireless efforts and diligent work, you have clawed your way from the bottom to the elusive CIO position, congratulations. However, even the best CIO inevitably has to step down someday. Dr. Jim Anderson elaborates on the importance of succession planning and why this is so vital for organizational success.

Setting the Stage for Tomorrow

When is the best time to start implementing a plan for succession? The answer is now! The worst possible outcome for a company is for them to begin their planning after there is a vacancy; this entirely defeats the purpose. The biggest mistake in choosing the next CIO is to select a candidate who aligns with your every view, the “rear-view mirror” error. You want to find a person whose beliefs align with the future business strategy and will be able to implement them successfully. Once you have selected the proper candidate, tell people! Make it known who will one day take your place. This will make it easier for the acceptance of your absence.

The luxury of time should be very much utilized because the future CIO is not stepping into the position immediately. Take this time to do a thorough background check and ensure that this person would be a positive asset to the role of CIO. It is also helpful to make sure that they have the proper skills to handle the job or work towards acquiring the skill set they will need.

As long as change is inevitable (which is forever), you need to create a proper succession plan in order to handle these changes. The next-in-line CIO should be groomed to take the organization into the future well before you plan to leave the company. Succession is an essential part of the IT job and it is what keeps the department modern and progressing forward.

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About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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