Strategic CIOs wear many colors: the color of their thoughts; the color of their character, the color of their role and the color of their talent.
A strategic thinker is a big picture person and set the direction, but trust in your staff to get things down without having to do all things themselves. Chief information officers must weave IT strategy as a key ingredient in overall organizational strategy and have the right people in the right positions to maximize strategy execution to help the organization win in the marketplace. Leveraging IT for business growth is a great strategy.
A Strategic CIO keeps the business goal in mind, and doesn't leave this goal solely to businesses, use information and leverage IT to achieve the goal: Most of the time, CIOs limit themselves to execute some business initiatives and running the IT-based systems, but leave the information usage and conceptualizing the future state of systems mostly to business leaders. This works perfectly fine under the assumption that business leaders are as technology oriented as a CIO could or should be. However, at most of the time, that is not the case.
A strategic CIO creates a blue ocean and changing the dynamics of the business enterprise: A strategic CIO creates IT and leverage information to create the long term sustainable competitive advantage for organizations. A Strategic CIO is changing the dynamics of the business enterprise by leveraging technology for strategic advantage. The difference between the tactical and strategic IT leader is that the first one thinks about the tools while the second one is thinking business, and how to use the tools to gain an advantage over competitors. In this way, the CIO will create a blue ocean for his/her organization which will provide a competitive advantage.
A strategic CIO has a role to play in balancing, not just leveling the internal playing field: Information is power and it depends whether that power is used for the good purpose of the organization or political point scoring. Most originations create a sense of internal competition that can easily make the C-level participants lose sight of the end game, a strategic CIO can well balance a positive internal relationship via systematic information management.
A strategic CIO is people oriented. Strategic and tactical planning all lead to the vision. The vision is built for the people and organizations. CIOs always discuss aligning departmental strategies with organizational strategies. A strategic CIO needs to be more people-centric, create both employee growth strategies and customer experience strategy. It would be great if CIOs can mix people, departments and organizations strategy together. Indeed all strategies are made for growth
A strategic CIO is a multidimensional thinker via different lenses: Mathematics or probability -you build the best strategy based on the circumstances that will allow the highest probability of success and controls risk. People- you need to understand your competition and build a strategy that includes consideration of competitive forces, and long-term thinking you play to win over a lifetime. Process -you need to digitalize the key business process and build a set of competitive capabilities to enable the business competing for the future.
Hence, strategic CIOs are visionary, creative, people-driven and multi-dimensional, they have the big picture to set the right direction and have the discipline to execute it diligently.