05-22-13 | Blog Post

2013 Midwest Technology Leaders Keynote: Competencies of the New CIO

Blog Posts

2013 Midwest Tech LeadersMichigan data center operator Online Tech is exhibiting a range of secure hosting solutions for mission critical applications, including cloud hosting, colocation, managed servers, compliant hosting and disaster recovery, at the Midwest Technology Leaders 2013 symposium for IT executives and CIOs held in Detroit, Michigan. Here’s a liveblog of one of the featured keynotes:

Keynote: Competencies of the New CIO
Speaker: Larry Bonfante- CIO, United States Tennis Association (USTA)

CIOs today must be more than a provider of technology and services. They must be able to engage with the consumer, board members and senior executives as business executives and thought leaders themselves.

Most CIOs have grown up in the IT realm, they know how to leverage that IT to help business, but the third leg (missing leg) is “human dynamics.” Today’s CIOs need strong relationship management and marketing skills, which are qualities that don’t always come easily to a CIO. Being the CIO of an organization today is a front-facing role and not just sharing IT knowledge.

People should be passionate about the organizations they work for. How many employees take their “souls” off and hang them at the door and put it on when they leave the office? We need our CIOs to bring their whole person and soul to the job.

Organizations need a vision to inspire people and find what makes their people “tick.” It needs to help people understand the link between their efforts and the company vision. It needs to become their vision and not just one hoisted on them.

The main purpose of IT is to drive business value. CIOs shouldn’t be in the business just for the sake of technology being “cool.” IT is about being the very fabric of the business and integrated with it.  IT needs to be part of the decision-making of the business. If you woke up your CIO at 2am, what would their answers be to the following questions:

  • What matters? What are you striving for?
  • How are the things we doing in IT enabling those outcomes?
  • If we are doing things that don’t matter, why are we doing them?

When it comes to communication, even if you think you have communicated enough, communicate some more! The key to communication is listening. CIOs need to become better listeners so they can become better communicators.

CIOs of yesterday were often easy to pick out of a crowd, because…

  1. They dress different than everyone else
  2. They haven’t built relationships with anyone in the room
  3. When they open their mouth, they speak “geek speak”

Today’s CIO need to speak to people in clear English. When entering the boardroom, they need to be able to speak business in the language of board members and truly fit in. Tailoring the message to the audience in the room is key.

Everyone looks at life through their own lens and constantly ask, “What’s in it for me?” If CIOs are going to be effective relationship managers, the question needs to be: “What’s in it for them?” When you’re a leader, it’s never all about you. Leaders build their team and consistently give others credit, it’s about serving others. It is critically important to work members of your team as individuals and do what is effective for them.  CIOs owe it to people to develop them to the best THEY can be.

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