Follow the Leader

Follow the Leader

The crux of CIO magazine is leadership: leading change and leading people.

Unfortunately, too often in the past CIOs were more likely to be leading the charge as they battled the executive suite. It was CIOs versus CEOs, and CIOs versus CFOs. But times are changing, and IS and business goals are converging.

CIOs and CEOs are both looking at IT not just as a cost centre but as a strategic tool, and IS leaders are increasingly accepted as business partners by their bosses and peers. Yet even as CIOs take on a more strategic role in the business, they must continue to worry about delivering basic functionality.

More than ever, companies regard IT as a strategic tool to reinvent organisations as global competitors. And as leaders of a company's strategic technology direction, CIOs are at the hub of change. Yet IS executives must also manage the day-to-day details of implementing such visions.

One thing, however, remains constant: in order for a CIO to understand his or her corporate role as a change agent, he or she must first understand the nature of both leadership and change, both in the company and personally. From managing the CEO's expectations to defusing resistance to new technical projects, leading change in IT means far more than deciding on a new architecture for the company.

The CIO's role is becoming more and more complex. IS executives have more opportunities to be business strategists, but they must tackle strategic challenges while maintaining the level of IS service their managers and peers expect. So on one hand CIOs must be leaders, but they must also be great communicators - in other words, someone who doesn't just preach, but listens.

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