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.

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CIO As A Visionary Leader

Pick up any book on leadership, and you will find statements that state that for someone to be called a leader they must be a visionary. In fact, it could be argued that those who are not visionary are not true leaders.

Can a CIO be a visionary? As technology leaders can we imagine what does not yet exist, but might be in a possible future? Can we bring out the best in our people by motivating and inspiring and help guide our organizations to greatness? Yes! CIOs can indeed be visionary leaders.

In the CIO universe, technology drives change. That is a fact of our profession. We are the guardians of technology, keepers of the information. To keep pace with technological progress, it is essential that the CIO be a visionary leader. A leader that must understand the current environment and predict future trends in technology. But there is more. To be a truly effective visionary leader, we must also understand the business operations of our company. We must be able to effectively apply technological solutions to every corner of our company to help the firm move forward into the future. After all, at the most fundamental level, isn’t technology just a medium to provide information and communication?

To be a visionary, we must be committed to learning. And not just reading tech magazines, surfing the web, and attending trade shows. Spend time getting to know what issues affect your business. You should know what challenges your company is facing today, tomorrow, and next year. What role does technology play in answering these challenges? Our job as CIO is to create a role where no one thought technology might fit and make it work.

Being a visionary leader means getting out form the daily rut of being a technology grunt. CIOs should not have their heads buried all the time but instead have their heads up looking towards the horizon to see what is coming. A visionary leader is an effective leader. A leader that is looking ahead….