The Disruptive CIO

Leadership and TeamworkThere 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.

Bad Bad Bosses

Cowardly LionI read this recently on LinkedIn. It’s sad but I know a lot of “managers” that fall into these categories. The comments following the article are especially good.

The Tell-Tale Signs Of A Bad Boss by Bernard Marr

http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130821063221-64875646-top-10-tell-tale-signs-of-a-bad-boss

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)

So You Want To Be A CIO?

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A friend on mine sent this to me as he looks for a CIO role. Thought it was interesting enough to post:

1.Describe your experience in the development, implementation and administration of operating and capital budgets. Please be specific about your role. Include dollar amounts of budget(s).

2.Describe your experience working with executives and/or boards including preparation and presentations of recommendations regarding programs or policies.

3.What do you consider to be the highlight of your career or the most important contribution that you have made to an organization with which you have been employed?

4.The CIO is occasionally involved in disputes between opposing interest groups. Provide an example of your involvement in negotiation or mediation between such groups. Please describe the process you used and the final outcome.

5.What do you see in the arena of technology in the next 3 – 5 years? How would you prepare a company for the changes?

50/50 Employee

Do you have an employee that does some things really well but other things horrible? I call such employees 50/50.

Question, is it worth keeping such an employee on staff? Do employees like this provide value to a team or are they more trouble than they are worth?

Example, you have an employee that is a great technologist. When there is a fire he is the first one in and resolves the issue. When there are no fires, he struggles or most times does not provide the mundane information to monitor the environment. For example, documentation diagrams, KPIs, etc. So other employees have to pick up the slack.

There have been various methods used to tell this employee what is expected. From goal settings, to individual one-to-one meetings, to plain this is how it needs to be done. Yet very little improvement.

So this begs the question, does this employee’s value in a crisis outweigh his value overall to the team and department?

 

Systems Objective Scorecard

During the course of managing an IT department, it is important for IT management to understand areas of risks. There are standard best practices that can be engaged to score your department/organization. Below I have added some as a starting point. These are by no way complete.

 

Management and Planning

Objective 1

The staff responsibilities to information systems environment are assigned to specialized personnel.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to not knowing and/or too many responsibilities associated to information systems.

 

Objective 2

The strategies about information systems, development plans and budget are mapped according to the strategic goal and company business.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the design, purchase/construction, development and system operations not responding to the company and business needs.

 

Objective 3

The selection of a service provider is based on company policies.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unsuitable service and inaccurate generated information, vulnerable or lack of integrity.

 

Objective 4

The services levels given by the provider are consistent with the Management expectations.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unsuitable service and inaccurate generated information, vulnerable or lack of integrity.

 

Objective 5

Users receive correct formation in use and handling the information systems.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead the incorrect use of information assets, which could cause generated information, were inaccurate, vulnerable or lacks of integrity.

 

Physical and Logical Security

Objective 1

Tools and security techniques are implemented and set up with the purpose of assuring a correct logical techniques level, narrowing the access to the programs, data and other information sources only for authorized persons.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unauthorized access and possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information, due to absence of proper policies, the lack of implementation of these measures on information systems and ignorance on the part of users of safety standards.

 

Objective 2

Tools and security logical techniques are implemented to monitor and control actions on information systems.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to lack of control made actions on information systems, with possible impact in information confidentially, integrity and availability.

 

Objective 3

Information systems are correctly protected against external attacks and/or malicious codes.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unauthorized access and possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information.

 

Objective 4

Tools and security are implemented to allow access to information systems only to authorized users.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unauthorized access and possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information, due to an incorrect access profiles management.

 

Objective 5

All information resources are fixed by a correct security control, access to critical areas are restricted to authorized personnel.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to unauthorized access and possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information, as well as failures or incidences in information systems working and other disaster or extraordinary accidents.

 

Objective 6

All company information resources are identified and managed.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead the incorrect of fraudulent use of equipment and/or data they have, leading in a possible exposure, theft, modification, damage or loss of information.

 

Applications Development and Maintenance

Objective 1

Development or maintenance applications of projects are consistent with the management’s intention.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the design, purchase/construction and systems development not responsive to the end users’ needs.

 

Objective 2

Migration process of replaced old applications is carried out accurately and completely.

Deficiencies in this objective could negatively impact information integrity and validity.

 

Infrastructures Operations and Maintenance

Objective 1

Infrastructure development or maintenance projects (database software, networks, equipment) are in consistent with the management’s intentions.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to changes not responsive to the users’ needs.

 

Objective 2

Technological infrastructure are correctly identified and supported.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the changes not responses to the users’ needs, as well as a possible loss of knowledge in information assets.

 

Objective 3

Information systems levels of service providers are consistent with the management’s expectations.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the information systems not working correctly, resulting in potential risk to the availability of the information.

 

Objective 4

In disaster case, every essential business processes are recoverable in a defined time.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the information integrity and availability, due to incomplete, inaccurate or no recoverable data.

 

Objective 5

The information is kept in accordance to company laws, regulations and politics, could be recoverable, in case.

Deficiencies in this objective could lead to the information integrity and availability, be incomplete, inaccurate or not recoverable data.

The CIO Paradox – A Book Review

I don’t often read books about IT leadership because I find that most try to fit business principles into technology and vice versa.  The square peg into a round hole dilemma.

So when Martha Heller approached me to read an advanced copy of her new book The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership it felt more like homework.  I am thought to myself here is yet another step‑by‑step guide. And that is where I was wrong – very wrong.

The CIO Paradox by Martha Heller

The CIO Paradox by Martha Heller

For those of you who are not familiar with Martha; for over a decade, she has established herself as a figure in IT leadership. She is President of Heller Search Associates, a Boston-based firm specializing in recruiting CIOs and other IT executives across multiple industries. She is probably best known as a Founder and Managing Director of CIO magazine’s CIO Executive Council, a professional organization for CIOs. It was here that she developed leadership programs for CIOs and directed the CIO Best Practice Exchange, a member-only network of CIOs from top-tier organizations. She continues to engage with CIO audiences through CIO Paradox column, as author of CIO.com’s Movers & Shakers blog, and author of You and Your CIO, a blog on CFO.com.

As a CIO for some time, I often read articles and books but never anything that truly captures the essence of what it means to be a CIO. Does this sound familiar:

  • “Your many successes are invisible; your few mistakes are highly visible.”
  • “You were hired to be strategic, but spend most of your time on operational issues.”
  • “You are the steward of risk mitigation and cost containment, yet you are expected to innovate.”
  • “IT can make or break a company, but CIOs rarely sit on corporate boards.”
  • “You develop successors, yet the CEO almost always goes outside to find the next CIO.”
  • “Technology is a long-term investment, but the company thinks in quarters.”

In the book, Martha posits the collection of CIO paradoxes into four larger categories addressing the multi-faceted influence CIOs have on a company. Below are some of the key paradoxes influencing companies today through the perspective of IT executives that Martha has talked with:

1. The CIO Role: You’re Damned If You Do, and You’re Damned If You Don’t

The mindset surrounding how the CIO should function is based on traditional approaches that limit true innovation. For example, our current era grants CIOs the opportunity to drive serious breakthroughs, but this prospect does not decrease the need for cost efficiencies.

2. The Stakeholders: Will the Business Ever Love IT?

As the business and employees get smarter about technology, the more they dislike IT. This is seen when CIOs are intimately involved in every facet of the business, yet they often don’t get a seat at the table.

3. The CIO’s Staff: They Just Don’t Make Them Like That

Recruiting and developing a core of well-rounded IT professionals is laden with structural obstacles and unrealistic expectations. When a rapidly developing field such as technology hasn’t evolved its recruitment process since the dot-com bust, you know there’s a problem.

4. The Future: What’s Next for the CIO?

The forecast of current and future CIOs is a multidimensional one that can negotiate assumptions for demand. A clear example of this is when the CIO role meets many of the specialties a corporate board values, yet CIOs are rarely appointed a seat.

The CIO Paradox is a book for the everyday CIO. The CIO who is in the trenches dealing with these paradoxes each and everyday. It is a good read with just the right amount of humor and wit to engage and captivate.  This is not average boring IT book….