CIO Role – 3 Ways CIOs Can Win People Over

CIO Role – 3 Ways CIOs Can Win People Over

CIO Role – CIOs who are committed to advancing their roles—and having a broader impact on the business—need to develop their skills surrounding the company’s number-one asset: people. Being perceived as a pure technologist, whether deserved or not, is hardly a path to advancement.

IT Job DescriptionsCIO Role – CTO Responsibilities

Chief Information Officer – Chief Technology Officer

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There are several ways CIOs can position themselves to enhance their interaction with their fellow C-Level executives:

  1. Participate in meetings outside of IT. One CIO, frustrated that her colleagues perceived the IT function as brimming with no-sayers, requested that members of her team be invited to meetings outside of IT, so as to supply their own viewpoint. As IT folks joined technology and sales teams on an ongoing basis, they not only expanded their own scope but also broadened the others’ understanding of what IT actually does. In doing so, they helped groomed themselves for other positions. In one case, a IT executive lost one of her top performers to the sales team—and even prodded the person to take the job by promising to keep a IT position open, just in case.
  2. Figure out how to create value for other functional areas. At some companies, others perceive IT as a function whose members are only interested in tracking project status—whether that is useful or not. Rather than emailing technology-packed reports to colleagues, try playing the internal marketer and ask other functional leaders what kind of report would be most helpful to them. Engaging in a face-to-face dialogue will help restore the human element to your working relationship.
  3. Help demystify IT. Having joined a company as a CIO, one executive kept hearing the same refrain: “I don’t really know what IT does.” Those who did suggest they understood the role of IT typically ventured a textbook definition that was more suited to data processing of the late 1980s. To reduce the mystery that surrounded his role, the CIO sent out a company-wide e-mail inviting all employees to join him for a brown-bag lunch on the first Thursday of every month. After six months, he regularly drew a large crowd. He used the meetings to speak candidly about the factors that impact the bottom line, and to find ways he could help support his colleagues. The dialogue not only lifted his function’s profile—other C-Suite executives soon started following his lead.

Author: Victor Janulaitis

M. Victor Janulaitis is the CEO of Janco Associates. He has taught at the USC Graduate School of Business, been a guest lecturer at the UCLA's Anderson School of Business, a Graduate School at Harvard University, and several other universities in various programs.