CIOs More Strategic than Ever

It will take a new kind of CIO to juggle all of this and still remain in control of how technology is used and distributed throughout an organization. He or she will have to be part geek, part politician, part leader, and part visionary. This is where IBM, though collaboration with other groups such as MIT and the Harvard Business School, is hoping to make a difference.

“The new Center for CIO Leadership will enable CIOs to share and learn in a community environment in a way that will enhance the profession,” said Linda Sanford, senior vice president, IBM enterprise on demand transformation, in a statement. “Our survey research indicates that CIOs and their teams are looking to break out and create new value and long term growth for their companies, and the education, learning and collaboration provided by the Center for CIO Leadership will help accomplish this.”

Are We There Yet?

For those CIOs still struggling to make it to the “strategic” level, the survey offers some helpful hints. Strategic CIOs are better at:

  • Promoting collaboration between IT and businesses;
  • Persuading senior management of the importance of IT;
  • Contributing to strategic planning and growth initiatives;
  • Identifying opportunities for business process automation and enhancement; and
  • Improving internal and external user experience and satisfaction.
  • To do this, these CIOs are less technical and more focused on and have better developed “soft skills” that allow them to bridge the communication and leadership gaps that exist in any organization:

    Political savvy: Can effectively understand others at work and can use such knowledge to influence others to act in ways that enhance one’s
    personal and/or organizational objectives.

    Influence, leadership and power: Can inspire and promote a vision; can persuade and motivate others; is skilled at influencing superiors; and can delegate effectively.

    Relationship management: Can build and maintain working relationships with co-workers and external parties; can negotiate work problems without alienating people; and can understand others and get their cooperation in non-authority relationships.

    Resourcefulness: Can think strategically and make good decisions under pressure; can set up complex work systems and engage in flexible
    problem-solving behavior; and can work effectively with senior management
    to deal with the complexities of the management job.

    Strategic planning: Can develop long-term objectives and strategies and translate vision into realistic business strategies.

    Doing what it takes : Perseveres and focuses in the face of obstacles;
    and can take charge and stand alone, yet be open to learning from
    others when necessary.

    Leading employees: Can delegate to employees effectively, broaden
    employee opportunities, act with fairness toward direct reports, and hire
    talented people.