There are many types of CIOs-– operational, strategic, and transformational; each has their advantages. A good CIO is one that has all these traits. There is another trait that has advantages to an organization. That trait is disruptive.
Many CIOs stay within a particular industry. A pharma CIO will normally stay in pharma or a financial CIO will generally stay in financial services. Very few jump industries and very few organizations look beyond their particular industry for a different type of CIO.
However, bringing in a CIO from anther industry has the potential to be a disruptive influence in an organization. Disruptive in a positive way. A disruptive leader is one that fights the status quo; bringing in new ideas and processes – a fresh set of eyes looking at how to improve existing processes.
A disruptive CIO is one willing to step out of the rank and file and acts boldly against the norm that lulls an organization into complacency. He/she acts as a catalyst to move a company from lethargy into positive-changing actions. Being a disruptive CIO is a tough and messy role. Most organizations have a culture of fear and risk aversion that makes it difficult for a disruptive leader to step forward. However, for those that do step out, they have the ability to move a company beyond irrelevance and into a mindset that the status quo is not acceptable and change is good.