Today's CIO is no longer - or even primarily - keeping the lights on. After a somewhat long - and occasionally rocky transition - the CIO is now broadly respected as a true business partner.

That's a great thing.

But the current - and future - changes require a different way of envisioning CIO leadership.

I've written extensively on the current CIO transformation - but I've focused primarily on the challenges the need breed of CIO can face communicating with his or her peers in the C-suite.

That's why I found this article - How Technology Innovations Can Make Or Break A CIO- both interesting and timely. Laurie Elliot makes a number of great points in this article - and I'd strongly recommend you take the time to read it.

But Laurie makes one point that can easily be overlooked as we continue to redefine what CIO leadership means.

CIO leadership is more than communicating with other executives and with business stakeholders.

It's also about ensuring that every member of the technology team is fully committed to business goals, growth, and transformation.

CIO Leadership means rallying the troops - the technology team - and ensuring full commitment to transformation
CIO Leadership means rallying the troops - the technology team - and ensuring full commitment to transformation

That can be a challenge. If IT has been siloed for a considerable time, if Technology resources have been "keeping their heads down," or if the focus has been on technology - divorced from business value - there can be some real resistance to the new CIO leadership style and vision.

Laurie gives a number of excellent suggestions to overcome this situation - creating a shared vision, over communication, and inspirational leadership.

But she mentions one other point that is sometimes forgotten - but absolutely critical to build the team cohesion needed to ensure real, long term commitment from the technology team to larger business goals.

Celebrate the wins.

This is an easy one to forget - for even the best leaders. CIOs are very busy people. And there's the tendency in technology to always move on to the next thing - without always giving due recognition to what every team member has contributed to the initiative just finished.

But technology professionals - at all levels - value that recognition. Sometimes, more than a raise or a bonus.

So I'd like to share a great idea from one of my CIO resume and coaching clients.

At the end of every project, he'd take the team out to lunch. And he'd publicly mention what each team member had contributed to the success of the project.

That gentleman has some of the most productive teams - with some of the highest talent retention - that I've seen in my entire career as a technology executive resume writer.

Bottom line? While it's critical for the new breed of CIOs to be looking to the business and the rest of the executive suite, don't forget that - if your team isn't engaged - the transformation you're working on will take a heck of a lot longer.

- J.M. Auron

Comment