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IT Leadership

What type of CIO are you?

Are you a transformational CIO, a strategist, a tactical one, an innovator, a techy, a firefighter, a jack of all trades or do you stick your head in the sand?

I was inspired to write this after the lively discussion on LinkedIn titled “Can a CIO be effective as both a strategic leader and a hands-on manager?“. Pearl Zhu summarised it well in her post at Future of CIO.

Joel Dobbs referred me to the Ken Blanchard teaching on Situational Leadership and the needs for CIOs to be flexible depending on the situation. So the question then becomes: how flexible are you to switch between the styles?

The key types of CIOs are listed below, do you recognise yourself among them? What other types of CIO have you experienced?

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TransformationalTransformational – the charismatic leader, often parachutes into a situation for a shortish period then moves onto the next challenge. Works closely with other C level executives, aims to make quantum improvements and drive the business forward. Has a tendency to ignore the smaller issues and focus on the main prize.

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StrategistStrategist – as the name implies, a structured approach to moving IT forward and building its reputation for delivering business results. Liaises closely with the other C level executives to ensure alignment. May also exhibit various other traits, but will do so within a defined and well organised framework.

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EvolutionTactical / steady Eddie / Evolutionary – keeps IT on an even keel, will solve the immediate issues and upgrade legacy technology when needed. Is likely to drive incremental change and evolution, but is unlikely to set the World on fire.

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Head-in-sandHead in the sand / Dinosaur – this is the long term CIO who is not keen on making any changes or in changing the ways things are done. In fact will often resist new technology and innovation, causing frustration for their team. Will often be part of the “old boys network” at the C level, although not necessarily due to delivering business value.

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FirefighterFirefighter – only happy when solving the current problems, works best under pressure, loves the adrenaline rush of a crisis. Often not very good in creating a well structured and planned environment.

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TechyThe Techy – happiest when talking technology, has often come up through the ranks, is more likely to discuss solutions than strategy. Loves having the latest gadget. May have a tendency to have lots of IT driven projects that the business are not championing. Runs the danger of having technology for technology sake.

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Light BulbInnovator – similar to the Techy, but more focused on new innovations and new business opportunities. May be able to deliver game changing new ideas to the business, but will often have little interest in the day to day running of IT.

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Jack of all tradesJack of all trades – and as the saying goes, “master of none”, an all rounder who tries to be good at everything, but may put to little effort into some of the key areas. Leading to limited value being delivered to the business.

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The above are my views on some common types of CIO. Do you recognise yourself amongst them, or are you a combination of several, or are there other types not listed?

Do you think one of the above is the ideal or is there an optimal mix for a CIO? Does it depend on the organisation, or its stage of development?

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “What type of CIO are you?

  1. See also the follow-on article “Do different Business Stages require different CIO Types?”

    https://martindavis01.wordpress.com/2013/04/17/do-different-business-stages-require-different-cio-types/

    Like

    Posted by Martin | May 2, 2013, 2:30 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Do different Business Stages require different CIO Types? | Martin Davis' Blog - April 17, 2013

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