It's complete and utter nonsense to suggest that as a new CIO you have just 100 days to prove your worth from the moment you come on deck, in the face of a barrage of organizational scrutiny.
The reality is that the scrutiny begins well before you come on board - the very moment your appointment is announced, in fact - and as a savvy CIO you should consider that 100-day clock as having started to tick 20 days earlier, according to a new report from Australian independent research company IBRS. If you don't, the report warns, the consequences can be harsh.
The start of the countdown is when savvy incoming CIOs can carry out due diligence on their new organization and begin the planning that will give them the best possible chance of making a strong, positive first impression.
That means you should start planning during the recruitment process if you are gunning to land the job from outside.
"Find out as much as possible about the organization, its position in the business sector in which it operates, its senior executives and its board members," the report recommends.
"In politics, the accepted benchmark for passing judgement on a new leader is 100 days. Likewise, business leaders have just 100 days to either prove themselves or become subject to closer, and perhaps harsh, scrutiny.
"Meeting executive and organizational expectations is the logical baseline around which the incoming CIO can start planning. Interestingly, these expectations may not be articulated clearly or explicitly during the recruitment process.
"Likely sources of knowledge include the organization's Web site, annual reports, ASX filings where applicable, and press articles."
A most excellent place to start would seem to be to find out why there is a vacancy for a CIO. If you're looking to fill an internal appointment, chances are that will be fairly obvious to you. If you're coming from outside, don't be afraid to probe your "network of nerds" or "virtual network" and or/recruiter about the circumstances in which the previous CIO left, how many CIOs were in the role before him or her, and the duration of their stay. Ask how the senior executive views IT, and the legacy issues waiting for you to resolve.
If you can, of course, and if you are a diligent networker backed by a little bit of luck you may well be able to ask the now-departed or soon-to-departed CIO for his or her perspective.
Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.