Six Learnings of a New CIO

Being a CIO is much more complex and challenging than one might expect. Being a good CIO is not just about technology. Here are six important lessons.
Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Mark, who had been working in the IT industry for many years, had always been fascinated by technology and its power to change the world. He eventually worked his way up to the position of CIO (Chief Information Officer). It was a dream come true, as he was finally given the opportunity to lead the company’s technology vision and strategy.

Before I continue, I should clarify that this is a fictional account of a prototypical new CIO. This story is an amalgamation of the learnings of new CIOs – lessons that are useful to a new CIO, IT Director, or anyone fulfilling those responsibilities.

At first, Mark was thrilled and eager to get started. He quickly realized that being a CIO was much more complex and challenging than he had expected. He soon faced many difficult decisions that would impact the company’s future.

Lesson 1: Communication is key

Mark’s first and most important lesson of being a CIO was the importance of communication. He had to communicate with executives, department heads, and employees to understand their needs and to ensure that the company’s technology goals were aligned with its business goals. He also had to communicate with vendors and partners to ensure that the company was getting the best value for its investment in technology.

Lesson 2: Be Adaptable

Mark soon realized that technology was constantly changing, and he needed to be able to adapt to those changes. He learned the importance of continuous education on new technologies and being open to new ideas and approaches. He also realized that he needed to be flexible and willing to pivot his strategy if it was not working as planned.

Lesson 3: Embrace Failure

Mark also learned that failure was a part of the process. He experienced several setbacks, including failed projects and technology failures. He realized that these failures were opportunities to learn and improve. Mark learned that it was necessary to embrace failure and use it as a learning experience to make better decisions in the future.

Lesson 4: Continuous Improvement

Mark learned that he could utilize the information gained from listening to others, by remaining current with technologies, and through failures to develop a method of Continuous Improvement. He saw that by combining these insights into a systematic structure he could build a culture of improvement and agility.

Lesson 5: Lead by Example

Mark learned that as a CIO he was leading the entire company, not just the technology team. He needed to lead by example and demonstrate the importance of technology in the company’s success. He also realized that it was necessary to empower employees and give them the tools and resources they needed to succeed.

Lesson 6: Be a Good Listener

Lastly, Mark learned that being a good listener was just as important as being a good communicator. He realized that he needed to listen to the needs and concerns of his employees and work with them to find solutions that would benefit the company. He also learned to listen to the market and understand the latest trends and innovations in technology.

Leveraging these hard-learned lessons, Mark became an effective and respected CIO. He led the technology vision and strategy and helped to drive the company’s growth and success. Mark’s journey as a CIO taught him many valuable lessons. He learned that communication, adaptability, embracing failure, continuously improving, leading by example, and being a good listener were all critical to success as a CIO. He also learned that being a CIO was not just about technology, but about people and how technology could be used to benefit the company and its employees.