20 Influential Chief Information Officers

20 Influential Chief Information Officers from Michael Krigsman

As the Chief Information Officer role become increasingly prominent, it is important to recognize CIOs who actively stake a claim as innovators and communicators.

At CXOTALK, we bring together leaders who embody the qualities of leadership, innovation, and positive disruption.

To develop this list of 20 Influential Chief Information Officers, we relied on Little Bird, a marketing platform that uses social network analysis to identify top influencers among their peers. At the time of selection, every person in this group was active as CIO for a respected organization.

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Getting Back to Basics

Leadership and TeamworkAs a CIO, I rarely if ever do basic technology troubleshooting. Not because I don’t want too, but my staff usually discourages me from touching things these days. 

Yesterday was an unusually slow day for me. So I decided to catch up on some personal housekeeping and organizing. So I decided to move my computer and to relocate to a new jack which was not lit.

Since it was a slow day and my techs were busy, I took it upon myself to patch my own jack. Something I haven’t done in a very long time. I saw it as an opportunity to get back to my roots.

In the data center I discovered a nest of cables and miss labels. Poor cable management to say the least. I wasn’t happy but after 2 hours I was able to trace my cable and patch to the new jack.

Afterwards, I had a short conversation with my network manager about this situation.

Needless to say, I should have been more attentive to such details instead of relying on staff.

In the future, I’ll be making more unannounced visits to the datacenter and maybe elsewhere.

The Rejected CIO

rejectedAs I look for a new role that is suitable to my experience and background, I often get rejection letters. At first I would delete them but I decided to keep them and periodically review them. Not that I am angry over being rejected. Contrary, rejection letters just make me have thicker skin.

Getting a rejection letter is better then the black hole of no response.

Here are a few of my rejection letters. (Names have been deleted.)

You were impressive but not impressive enough—

Dear Arun Manansingh,

Thank you for taking the time to send your resume and cover letter for consideration for our position for Manager, IT at xxx.  We received many applications and while your qualifications and experience are impressive, there were candidates who more closely matched our needs.

We appreciate your interest in the xxx.  We will maintain your resume on file and suggest that you check our career site and apply for job postings that you are passionate about and for which you qualify.

We would also like to invite you to remain informed about the work that xxx is doing.  The best ways to do that are on our website, or other social media detailed below for example, Facebook and Twitter.

Again, thank you for applying. We wish you all the best.


Again you were impressive but we want to continue looking —

Dear Arun,

Thank you for the interest you have expressed in employment with xxx IT for the position of Sr Director IT Service Management.  Although your experience is impressive, our hiring team has decided to continue the search. 

At this time, your resume will be retained for at least one year in our database.  You will be contacted in the event our employment needs should change. We also encourage you to visit our website as new positions become available.

We appreciate your interest in our company and wish you success in your search.


We thought you were a match but now you are not—

Dear Arun,

Thank you for submitting your resume for our Chief Information Officer position, and for your interest in our firm.

Your qualifications have been reviewed, and although they are impressive, we do not feel that they are a match for our current opportunity.

We are sure your credentials and abilities will lead to other excellent opportunities, and we wish you every success in your career.


Don’t call us we will call you—

Hi Arun,

Thank you for your interest in the VP, Technology & Operations role for xxx. We have received your information and if there is interest in moving forward with your candidacy we will be reaching out to you in the next few weeks.

Thank you for your patience in our reply, as we had many applications for this impactful opening on our team.


You didn’t get the job. Here is who did—

Hi ARUN,

Thank you for your application for the position of Chief Information Officer for the xxx.  Interviews for the position were held in early March.

Xxx officials have appointed Ms. xxx as their next Chief Information Officer.  Ms. xxx has most recently served as a Manager of IT Infrastructure and Operations.  Prior to that, she worked in the IT field as a Director for more than 12 years.  Ms. xxx has a Master’s degree in Communication System Strategy & Management and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics. 

Although you were not selected for this position, the xxx and GovHR xxx want to thank you for your interest and effort in competing for this position.  We extend our best wishes for continued success in your professional endeavors.

Please feel free to stay in touch with our office regarding professional opportunities in the future.


You were not qualified—

Arun,

Thank you for your application for the CTO/SVP, Architecture, Engineering & Technology search we are doing at xxx.   After reviewing your background, we have concluded that there are other candidates better qualified for this role.  That said, thank you for your time in contacting us. 

With regards,


There were too many qualified CIOs —

Arun:

Thank you for your interest and for taking the time to speak with us about the CIO role at xxx.  We were impressed with your experience, but you were one of many qualified candidates whom we considered for this position.  Therefore, we will not be proceeding with your candidacy for this role at this time.

We wish you the best of luck in your future career, and thank you again for considering an opportunity with xxx.


Not holding my breadth —

Dear Arun,

We received your application for employment with xxx for the position below.

Job Title: Chief Information Officer

Department: Finance and Administration

 Thank you for your interest in our University.  The screening and selection

process is currently underway and will continue until a candidate is chosen. If

a decision is made to pursue your candidacy, you will be contacted by the hiring

manager.

 Sincerely,

Human Resources


The role has been frozen for now— 

Dear Arun,

Thank you for your application for the position as CIO, xxx Group.

 After careful consideration and with respect for current business priorities, we have decided to continue our interim IT Management solution throughout Q4 2013. Consequently the recruitment process for the CIO position has been postponed. We acknowledge and respect the energy you have put into your candidacy and apologize for any inconvenience in this regard. As the recruitment process may continue in a few months’ time, we kindly ask you to let us know, if you wish to sustain your candidacy for the CIO position. If so, please reply to this email no later than October 1, 2013.

Once again we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

 Best regards,

Human Resources, Zacco Group

Barbarians At The Datacenter

The Chief Executive OfficerAs I continue to look for my new CIO role. I am coming across some organizations that are looking outside their respect industry for talent. I recently interviewed with a publishing company who said flat out they want someone not from the publishing world. “Why?” I asked.  They felt that publishing expertise is lagging behind other industries in their use of technology.  I have seen other firms looking for these barbarians to manage their data. It is a refreshing thought.

This is a great opportunity for an organization to bring onboard an innovative disruptor to shake things up. As I have said in the past, change to some extent is good for any organization. As technology marches forward can any CIO say they are an expert in all areas?  Will a CIO have the experience to try new things? To take chances in order to make progress? These are fundamental questions for any CEO or CIO to contemplate.

I strongly believe that a CIO’s developed skills in one industry can be transferred successfully to another industry. Who’s to say that a medical CIO’s experience cannot be used in publishing? Granted there will be a learning curve, but there will be a learning curve for anyone taking on a new leadership role.

It might be scary for some who find comfort in knowing their respective industry inside and out. Myself- I believe that I am that barbarian that looks for new challenges. Working in different industries allows me to increase my marketability and continue to add to my toolbox.

The Questions That Get Interesting Looks

2136954235_35424aa0bcI have been actively interviewing.  While it has been an interesting time to look for a senior level role I have been cautious about the organizations I have been interviewing with. I have come to realize that some organizations still do not see IT has a strategic tool but purely at a utility with no real long-term value. It is these organizations that I try to stay away from and recently have passed on further interviewing.

I use the initial interview to really get a sense of the organization. And if there are any red flags politely decline further interviews. Here are some of the questions I have asked during the interview:

  • Is technology a component of the business plan?
  • How do executives obtain information?
  • What goals and values define the current technology organization?
  • Are technology best practices and standards followed?
  • How does the enterprise select and acquire technology?
  • How effectively does the current portfolio of application support members?
  • How does the enterprise implement technology?
  • How does the enterprise manage and maintain technology assets?
  • How does the enterprise manage security, privacy, integrity, and compliance?
  • How does the enterprise measure performance?
  • Is there a willingness of staff to embrace openness and change?
  • Is there a willingness of senior executives to serve as stewards of IT and ensure IT supports the mission?
  • Is there a willingness to keep things that work and get rid of those that don’t ‐ whether it is a legacy software application, broken business process or failing project ‐ reallocating resources to better investments?
  • Is there sufficient resources to support initiatives with skilled personnel, funding, and time?
  • Is there active and visible senior management support?
  • Is there a well‐defined and disciplined processes for information capture, stewardship, and quality and accuracy assurance of information?

I have been amazed about some of the responses I have received. But it is better to find out now then 6 months into your tenure where you might be struggling.

Core Qualifications to Being Chief

meetingsIn my search for a new leadership role, I came across this in a job description for CIO. This can be applied to any CxO roles.

CIO/CTO EXECUTIVE CORE QUALIFICATIONS:

1 – LEADING CHANGE:  This core qualification involves the ability to bring about strategic change, both within and outside the organization, to meet organizational goals. Inherent to this qualification is the ability to establish an organizational vision and to implement it in a continuously changing environment.

(Competencies:  creativity and innovation, external awareness, flexibility, resilience, strategic thinking, vision)

2 – LEADING PEOPLE:  This core qualification involves the ability to lead people toward meeting the organization’s vision, mission, and goals. Inherent to this qualification is the ability to provide an inclusive workplace that fosters the development of others, facilitates cooperation and teamwork, and supports constructive resolution of conflicts.

(Competencies:  conflict management, leveraging diversity, developing others, team building)

3 – RESULTS DRIVEN:  This core qualification involves the ability to meet organizational goals and customer expectations. Inherent to this qualification is the ability to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge, analyzing problems, and calculating risks.

(Competencies:  accountability, customer service, decisiveness, entrepreneurship, problem solving, technical credibility)

4 – BUSINESS ACUMEN:  This core qualification involves the ability to manage human, financial, and information resources strategically.

(Competencies:  financial management, human capital management, and technology management)

5 – BUILDING COALITIONS:  This core qualification involves the ability to build coalitions internally and with other Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit and private sector organizations, foreign governments, or international organizations to achieve common goals.

(Competencies:  partnering, political savvy, and influencing/negotiating)

8 hours vs 8 hours Plus – When Is Enough Enough?

How much is enough? Are you productive during your 8 hours? Some organizations expect you to put in more than 8 hours. Not really for anything else but to show your dedication to working 12 plus hours each day.

While there are times when one might put in such long days (i.e. after hours maintenance or systems upgrades), I subscribe to the philosophy that if you cannot complete your task or make progress to complete your task then you are doing something wrong. If you are just putting in hours to show your face and not really accomplishing much then you are not efficient and fully maximizing your day.

Why not be efficient and accomplish your tasks in 8 hours or under? It leads to prioritizing work efficiently and the end result is a better quality of life.