Thursday, September 18, 2014

What are the Top Skills in Being a Digital CIO?

Modern CIOs are excellent leaders, thinkers, and visionaries. 

Today's CIOs are both business strategist and technology visionary, they are always ready to understand new technologies impacting business, and make effective decisions in strategy execution or talent management. So what are the top skills that are most important in being a CIO?

CIOs have to be the business strategists who can make tactical delivery as well: When IT organizations think only from the technical aspect, not from ultimate business goal perspectives, they have almost inevitably driven against the pitfalls. The IT organization loses sight of the fact that they enable and catalyze a business, that IT success is when the business as a whole succeeds. IT is a big part, but an integral part of the business. IT is the key component of any core business capabilities nowadays, IT is doing fine when IT makes business activities so much easier. When IT focuses on making business better and more effective and delight end customers as well, it's IT at its best.
CIOs need to have the capacity to learn, relearn, and adapt: No matter where you are in IT, the world changes with accelerated speed. Experience is a wonderful thing in that it helps you put things in context. But the willingness to try something new, to test, to learn what you knew again, with new perspectives, to listen and remain balanced, can make IT work. The CIO needs to be able to listen to a wide range of opinions and approaches and understand how that might benefit the business. Learning new things won't be ending anytime soon. The ability to keep that up is the key. 
CIOs need to be an information steward: Back to the fundamental, CIOs are Chief Information Officer, they need to manage their organization’s information effectively-- understand how information can be delivered to the business as an asset. This means a broad scope of knowledge around the interaction of business and information, with the ability to extract the relevance of the information and ensuring this information is accessible to others. Or put simply, to make sure the right information can be accessed by the right persons at the right time and location to make the right decisions.
CIOs also have to strike the right balance between creativity and governance: Creativity is for simplicity that yields maximum results.  CIOs have to become innovative leaders to solve critical business problems more creatively, they shall also practice governance discipline to ensure businesses bottom line efficiency. Hence, they need to equip with the power of knowledge. 
(1) Understand your IT strengths and weaknesses. 
(2). Understand your IT teams strengths and weaknesses. 
(3) Good knowledge of your business and your competitors. And take a razor focus on what is good for the business, and what defines success. 
Envision-Strategize-Communicate skills: Ideally, CIOs should be part of the board in order to directly understand what's going on and be able to advise, inform and influence if strategic business decisions needed. And from IT management perspective towards his/her organization, he/she needs to motivate, engage and build trust in the whole organization. 

CIOs are the leadership role, not only do they need the skills to transform their IT organization, more importantly, they should have such color of characters to be an influencer, a change agent, and a talent master.


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