CIODigital Disruption

5 Lessons These Experienced CIOs Have Learned the Hard Way

Previously, success of CIOs meant managing complicated projects and identifying the next emerging market trends early. Now, the topmost skills you must possess is people management. In this Enterprisers Project article, Laurianne McLaughlin shares 5 lessons that leaders at MIT Sloan CIO Symposium revealed to her in their talks.

What These CIOs Learned the Hard Way

You might have run a successful digital initiative or have some outstanding skills under your belt. However, you can hit a dead-end if you are unable to inspire the people and lose stakeholders left and right. Following are the 5 lessons top four finalists of the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium Leadership Award have learned the hard way:

Changing Role of the CIO: 48% of CIOs as against 3% at meeting believed that the role of CIOs is going to change for the better. Principal research scientist George Westerman remarked that the role of a CIO is becoming more digital than ever.

Being Flexible to Get Work Done: Mercer CDO Gail Evans believes that you must know the business, technology, and channelize value-based dialogs. This will aid CIOs to become future CDOs or chief digital officers. You need to be a leader as well as a learner and guide or co-create with people as the situation demands.

Traditional Method of Hiring Is Gone: JetBlue Chief Digital and Technology Officer Eash Sundaram insists that technology is not a skill but a tool now. In fact, skill requirements are changing every day. So, CIOs need people with a great learning curve and adaptability skills. Eli Lilly and Company Chief Information and Digital Officer Aarti Shah advocates e-learning to upgrade employee skills. She also seeks suggestions from external advisors to identify industry trends.

Best Advice Received Ever: McLaughlin asked the four finalists of the Symposium award the best advice they have heard so far. Shah narrates taking up any new assignments without overthinking. As per Ricoh USA CIO Kris Rao, a technologist must convince the senior management about an idea instead of just informing a new trend. Sundaram reflects that you must lead from the back during heydays and from the front during turmoil.

Advice to the New Aspirants: Sundaram proposes to take one step at a time by learning throughout the journey. Shah suggests that you remain a ‘student of leadership’ to learn the business well. Rao advises understanding the psychology of people. Meanwhile, Evans says to have fun while learning.

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Indrani Roy

Indrani Roy is currently working as a Content Specialist for CAI Info India. She has knowledge in writing blogs, product descriptions, brand information, and coming up with new marketing concepts. Indrani has also transcribed, subtitled, edited, and proofread various Hollywood movies, TV series, documentaries, etc., and performed audio fidelity checks. She started her career by articulating a knowledge base for an IT client, and, eventually, went on to create user manuals and generate content for a software dashboard. Writing being one of her passions, reading books is naturally her favorite pastime. When not lost in the world of letters, she is a foodie, movie buff, and a theater critic.

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