The time is now for CIOs to change the business perspective, stop playing the order-taker or back-office operational steward and rightfully claim their place within the organization. The first step? Stop waiting for permission to act like an executive. CIOs seem all too willing to wait for the business to send a formal invitation to join the executive table. An unearned invitation will never come.
According to Ehrlich, "I always hear a lot of us talk about how we're not getting invited to the table. I used to say that, too, and I got tired of it and said: "We'll create a table.' We've got a history of feeling subservient but it's something we can change."
In short, CIOs can't wait on the business to change. They need to work to shift the business's view of IT while also establishing themselves as business strategists. And if the business is too antiquated to accept a future-state CIO? Find a new employer that does.
What can you do?
The CIO Executive Council's Future-State CIO program is more than a tough love speech to the CIO community. The organization, working with internationally renowned executive recruiter and executive assessment firm Egon Zehnder, has created assessment tools that measure CIOs' capabilities in nine core executive competencies:
- 1. Strategic Orientation: the ability to think long-term, leveraging business awareness, critical analysis and integration of information to develop an action-oriented plan
- 2. Results Orientation: a focus on improvement of business results
- 3. Commercial Orientation: identifying and seizing opportunities to increase profit and revenue
- 4. Market Knowledge: understanding the market, including competition, suppliers, customer base and regulatory environment
- 5. External Customer Impact: serving and building value-added relationships with customers or clients
- 6. Collaboration and Influence: working effectively with others, including internal customers, who do not work for you to have a positive impact on business performance
- 7. People and Organizational Development: developing long-term capabilities of others and the organization as a whole
- 8. Change Leadership: transforming and aligning an organization through its people to drive for improvement in a new and challenging direction
- 9. Team Leadership: focusing, aligning, and building effective groups in one's immediate organization
The CIO's score constitutes his/her "Executive Quotient", or EQ and indicates the leader's relative ability to be a future-state CIO. In addition, CIO Executive Council members developed a business readiness assessment tool to determine a how prepared an organization is to embrace an expanded, strategic CIO role shift. This is important because - as many CIOs will attest - the CIO's capabilities do not always align with an organization's expectation or need.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.