Sometimes it is because a better job comes along, and sometimes it is because no other job could be worse. Whatever the reason, when a CIO quits, it should be less of a mystery to a CEO why this has happened. Scott Lowe writes a blog post addressed to CEOs about five reasons why CIOs quit:
- Relegating IT to “keeping the lights on”
- Locking the CIO out of strategy sessions
- Ignoring governance
- Ignoring critical advice from the CIO
- Making no effort to understand what IT can do
The CIO is not a personal technician, and IT is not just a call center. Fostering such attitudes kills all creativity and enthusiasm for the job. IT should be thought of as a valuable resource for streamlining the business. Similarly, CIOs need to be incorporated into strategy sessions even if they answer to COOs or CFOs instead of the CEO, because CIOs offer a unique perspective as the arbiter of all the information flowing through the organization. CIOs needs to be present and engaged at meetings to make the best of their insights, the same as would be expected with the other C-level executives.
Continuing with the idea that IT is not a call center, all of IT’s resources should not be dedicated to solving the problems of whoever is yelling loudest. Resources should be allocated efficiently according to what projects best further organizational goals, and if that means allowing IT to seek outside help for when in-house skills are not enough, so be it. CEOs must make the effort to really grip what it is IT can do for an organization when properly funded and guided. And they especially need to make the effort to listen to CIO advice, or at least question why they are not taking CIO advice:
CIOs don’t run the organization. However, CIOs sometimes have advice and ideas that are critical to the business and ignoring such advice might leave the organization at risk. I get it… there are some CIOs that simply ramble and it can be difficult to glean the cream from the rest. So, as you meet with your CIO on a regular basis, require a short agenda that outlines the topics of the meeting with risk items being the first point of discussion. That will help you better target what you need to know. While “you can’t be a prophet in your own kingdom” is a true statement, if you’ve found that you simply ignore everything your CIO is telling you, try to figure out why. Is he the right person? Have you always been willing to listen?
A CIO should be one of the most highly valued members of an organization. When their skills and ideas are not utilized to the best of the CEO’s ability, the CIO will go somewhere that knows how to treat its people better.