Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

21st

In 1986 BusinessWeek Magazine ran a story entitled “Management’s Newest Star:  Meet the Chief Information Officer”.  Corporate IT had arrived!  No longer would we be locked in dark basements doing our work in relative obscurity.  The business community recognized the importance of IT and the need to use technology as a strategic resource to drive the company to new heights.  From the basement to the penthouse!

There are few companies today that do not run on a technology foundation.  In fact, Gartner declares “Every budget is an IT budget.  Every company is an IT What happenedcompany.”  Technology is empowering customers and driving companies toward new processes, products, services, and even business models.  It is disrupting entire industries and causing changes in societal behavior.  It seems obvious that the pace and impact of technological change are accelerating.  In fact, 86% of CEOs say that technological advances will transform their business by 2019.

Back in 1986, the future looked very bright for the CIO and the corporate IT department.  Today we seem to be at the beginning of a virtual technological tsunami driving momentous change.  This should be a glorious age for the CIO and corporate IT! 

Yet the calls for IT transformation are growing stronger and more frequent.  We see predictions that the CMO will soon be spending more on technology than the CIO.  We witness an increase in shadow IT and technology spending outside the IT budget.  We see new C-suite roles emerging – such as the Chief Digital Officer, the Chief Data Officer, and the Chief Innovation Officer.  And these new roles are taking on duties that previously had been considered the domain of the Chief Information Officer!  There is a growing recognition that the traditional role played by the CIO and corporate IT is insufficient for the brave new world ahead.

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21st

A general does not fight a war alone.  A coach cannot win a game on his own.  And without the dedicated efforts of the IT team, a CIO will fail.

You can establish a terrific vision and direction, but if your team refuses to follow, it is for naught.  You can come up with the best strategy in the world, but if your team cannot execute, what have you gained?  You can talk about the need to be more innovative, but if your team is not engaged, that likely won’t happen. team

“People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.” —John Maxwell

Leading the IT department is not something you can totally delegate to your IT leadership team.  Yes, these managers are a key element in the ongoing success of the department and the company.  They need your coaching and mentorship (see How Are You Developing IT Bench Strength?).  The relationship that each of your managers has with their individual team members is important to the morale and well-being of the department.  But that cannot substitute for the relationship a CIO should build with each individual in the IT department.

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant.” —Max DePree

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