Creativity is perceived as an important part of our future and civilization, without it, there will be no technology.
Perhaps CIOs have one of the most sophisticated roles to play in the modern business world, as technology in nature is both scientific and innovative, thus, it requires CIO as IT master also being fluent in different thinking processes and business dialects in order to handle business complexities. So what are CIOs’ thinking style: Creative or critical?
1. Creativity is Crucial Leadership Quality in C-Suite
Creativity contributes to growth strategy, creativity contributes to an alternative solution to a problem, and creativity is appreciated by the end customer, thus, we still view creativity as an important part of our future & civilization, without it, there will be no technology.
- ‘Right-Brained” Creativity: Some define creativity as the innate process to create novel ideas, an ability to create new metaphors, strong pattern recognition - relationships between objects and actions, nouns and verbs, where none existed previously, CIOs need be creative enough to "dream" a new solution and "sell the dream"; logical enough to implement it, guide a team and "make it happen". A good solution is to have a creative CIO with 'logical minds' in her/his team.
- Is Creative Mind Better Suited for Top Leadership: Though that most of IT Operations involve analytical and logical work, some argue it is the creative mind better suited for top leadership. So have the CIO think of new and uncommon ways how IT can contribute to the corporation and help the business to make right strategy with growth mindset ... and have the logical mind focused middle IT management to make it work.
2. Critical Thinking Streamlines Leadership Journey
There is a need for creativity at the executive level, but it is hard to be strategic without first being able to analyze the current condition. It often takes a logical mind to determine if a creative solution will work.
- The logical mind for the CIO: The CIO is a leader, a decision-maker, and success is often dictated by the logical choices he/she make. The CIO needs to be able to recognize areas of deficiencies and inefficiencies, then ask the question 'How can we...?" of the IT team. A good CIO would keep everyone involved and foster an environment of creative thinking & critical thinking.
- “Left-Brained” Logic: Basic & traditional engineering mindset (logical, structural, rational) is very 'left brained'. CIOs have to have good analytical skills to see which creative solution works best to solve your problem or generate more revenue. You can be creative for the sake of creativity, but your creativity can backfire without comprehensive analysis.
3. “Whole-Brain” Thinkers Wanted
It is absolutely correct that logical mind is very important in IT and tech related department as machines do not work as magic but only based on instructions (in whatever form) provided to the machine. On the other side, steering IT as an organization requires more than logical thinking, it requires leadership capabilities and the ability to think outside the usual box. And it takes creativity to shape the new box. Without balance, you will go nowhere in larger organizations.
- Contemporary CIOs need to be "whole-brainers” ideally, or you may say being logic in your mind based on your years of engineering training/experiences., etc. but being creative in your heart, dream big, think big, as the CIO's vision will directly impact their organization's strategy for long term. That also says, one shouldn't classify creativity and logic as two completely different disciplines, they are also inter-connected, only mixing them seamlessly, CIOs can manage innovation effectively.
- Great CIOs must be great leaders: Great CIOs are not just determined by which side of their minds/brains is stronger (although a keen intellect and strong emotional intelligence are both key factors). Any leadership role, especially a CIO, needs to be better-rounded than to have a title of "logical" or "creative." A CIO has to be logical enough to plan, engineer and follow through, but more importantly, a CIO needs to be creative and persuasive in order to get their ideas approved and funded. A logical mind can follow directions, but a creative mind can make a difference.
- It’s all about teamwork: A CIO whose strength is management (planning, logistics, and organization) should make sure that he/she has some creative member on the leadership team (innovation, diplomacy, strategy). Likewise, if her strength is leadership (visioning, innovation, diplomacy, and strategy) then she should have good managers in her leadership team. If they are equally strong in both realms of management and leadership, they should still build a team that will share the load and offer different perspectives.
Therefore, more often than not, be both creative and critical, if it’s possible! The CIO of today must be able to transition confidently between the strategic and tactical. It is critical to position oneself to be able to understand the business and become a trusted and strategic business adviser. However, results are what matter most to those running the business groups which require a collaborative and creative approach to leverage strengths and offset weaknesses along with skilled and inspired staff who have clear direction on the call to action and how that work is meeting company objectives like driving top line revenue.