Are we expecting too much out of CIOs?

by

I read this article on “The Three Types of CIOs: Are You and Your Company a Match?” earlier this week and while it isn’t really anything all that new within IT or even with business execs, it has spawned some interesting discussion with colleagues and clients that I thought I would share …

(If you don’t want to read the article, the one sentence overview is that companies need to think about what type of CIO they need and can pick between Strategic, Transformational or Operational.)

First, are CIOs any different than other executives in their needs for different types of leadership? It seems to me that the three camps Curran describes could apply to CEOs as well as many other executive positions. I suppose you could attempt to make a case that IT organizational strategies change more often than their business strategies, requiring a new type of leader with each major shift, but I think I’d argue the opposite if forced to debate it …

Second, is this need for different types of CIOs at different times the reason that the average tenure of a CIO is only 18 months? If the answer to #1 is no and CIOs deal with more of a roller coaster than their businesses, then this could be a logical conclusion. But with my answer to #1, I’d say the reasons for their short tenure go back to other factors, including the average CIO’s capability gaps and the ongoing misunderstandings between IT organizations and their business partners.

Finally, is it unfair to expect a CIO to have all these capabilities? No! Leadership theory says that there is a natural preference for leadership, but if someone has reached the CIO level, and I’m not talking about an IT director of a small little organization here where you might have to make the tradeoff to afford someone or even find someone who would stay happy in the position, if they are working at a large company and responsible for both strategy and execution, they have to have all these qualities! Of course they can and should supplement themselves with strong lieutenants and/or consultants to help them, but a strong leader can seemingly effortlessly switch between these different modes and should be able to last more than 18 months. I think that’s core to the definition of a good leader, IT or otherwise.

One more note, one of the comments on the article referenced this State of the CIO study from the CIO Executive Council. If you are interested in this topic, it is definitely worth a skim. I found it particularly interesting that most Operational CIOs (what they call Function Heads) and Strategic CIOs were male but twice as many Transformational CIOs were women versus men.

READ MORE

Your Personality Is Showing

Your Personality Is Showing

There I was, minding my own business one evening, digging into my organization's SEO performance (as one does), when I came across something interesting. Search terms related to "MBTI" — or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, developed by Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel...

read more
Lessons From a Change Manager Who Hates Change

Lessons From a Change Manager Who Hates Change

Hello. My name is Monique, and I’m a change manager who hates change.   After years of receiving “consulting therapy” from various mentors, I am now able to say these words out loud and proudly. But for a long time, it felt more like an admission of guilt. I mean, who...

read more
Creativity as a Cure

Creativity as a Cure

The topic of creative solutioning has been front and center these days as we talk more and more about organizational adaptability in the face of dynamic and uncertain times. For example, I recently read about a project that got me thinking about specific priorities...

read more
Thought Ensemble, a Pariveda Company — Why Now?

Thought Ensemble, a Pariveda Company — Why Now?

Big news over here as we close out the year - we have been acquired by Pariveda, a 750-person consulting firm in 12 markets across North America! We are now “Thought Ensemble, a Pariveda Company” and I’ll be serving as the Managing Vice President continuing to lead...

read more
Thought Ensemble Joins Pariveda Solutions!

Thought Ensemble Joins Pariveda Solutions!

Dallas, December 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Pariveda, a leader specializing in solving complex technology and business problems, announces the acquisition of Thought Ensemble. With the addition of Thought Ensemble, Pariveda now provides holistic business strategy,...

read more
Thoughts on Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

Thoughts on Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act

It was about a year ago that we first started hearing about Colorado’s Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (SB19-085) and I knew it was going to be national news. We’d just gotten past the “Rocky Mountain High” jokes, and our lovely state was trying to break new ground...

read more
Disruption Is the New Normal

Disruption Is the New Normal

By nature, disruptors are not popular. “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win, then they copy you.” We have all heard some version of this quote, and we have all seen it play out in real life. We've seen it with building...

read more
What Would You Say You Do Here?

What Would You Say You Do Here?

“I deal with the … customers so the engineers don't have to! I have people skills!” That famous Office Space quote from Tom Smykowski cracks me up every single time. I know Toms. I’ve been Tom. Change the quote to say, “IT Team” instead of “engineers,” and there’s a...

read more