5 Ways CIOs Can Avoid Fatal Pitfalls

The challenging role of CIOs endures adapting transformations of the modern business. They encounter inevitable pitfalls that may make or break them.

In this article at CIO, Jenny Beresford suggests that at the beginning of their career, the CIOs may counter potentially distracting pitfalls. While some they might avoid, the others are beyond their control. Therefore, learning the art of avoiding the pitfalls will be helpful.

The Narrow Escape

The fatal pitfalls have been part of the CIO role for years and with experience and mindful strategy, the CIOs have been avoiding them. Here are a few tips inspired by leading CIOs to help the new and upcoming CIOs save themselves from unwanted pitfalls:

  1. Turn Ego into Efficacy: Being the newly appointed CIO, you may feel the need to establish your credibility after proving your potential to the recruiters. However, you are an unknown individual to the team, stakeholders, peers, and vendors. To establish a lasting positive impact on all, take slow steps of getting familiar with the process with a contained ego and minimal audacity. Letting your ego run ahead of proving your efficacy may take you down forever.
  2. Are You the Right Fit? The role that you have taken up may have had contenders in the form of direct reports, peers or stakeholders who failed to get the job. Those applicants may be resentful and may not consider you as a deserving candidate. Moderate the risk of any festering resentment that may undermine your effectiveness in the future. Find ways to convert them into loyal and trusted team members by extending help to find a similar role elsewhere.
  3. Look Before You Hop: Poor early actions have brought down many CIOs. A critical, early error of judgment will prove costlier and more visible than a similar misstep made later. Acting too soon without adequate insight may cause lasting damage to your career. So, be careful before taking a decision on a big initiative.
  4. Hold Your Fire: New CIOs often fall into the trap of early criticisms of the previous CIOs. Avoid criticizing the situation you have inherited, or you may face isolation from your new team. If you feel the urge to criticize, do it subtly. Be assured that your beginner’s mind and critique as new CIO are highly valued.
  5. Seek Counsel: As you start your tenure, assemble a small group of trusted counselors, draw the attention of industry experts. The wise counselors may extend productive perspective and warn you for pitfalls you may not see coming. So, carefully choose the one who may help you shape your leadership skills, professional strengths, character, and ethos.

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