4 Tips For Staying CIO Once You Become The CIO

by drjim on September 25, 2013

CIOs need to find a way to keep their balance once they become CIO

CIOs need to find a way to keep their balance once they become CIO
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Becoming a CIO is a difficult thing to do. It turns out that staying CIO once you reach this lofty position is also very hard to do. Recent market studies have revealed that the average length of time that a CIO holds on to his or her office is 5 years and four months! If you don’t want your tenure as CIO to be this short, then there are some very specific things that you are going to need to do.

4 Reasons That CIOs Lose Their Job

Look, in order to become a CIO in the first place you had to be a sharp person. The reason that you might lose this assignment is not because you’re not smart enough to do the job. Rather the reason might be that you just didn’t realize what blunders you needed to avoid in order to prevent yourself from being shown to the door. Here are four mistakes that you must never make as a CIO:

  • Not Blocking & Tackling: Clouds, mobility, analytics – these are all things that as CIOs we are eager to find out more about and launch new projects to implement them at our company. However, it can be very easy to overlook the simple fact that the rest of the company expects us to take care of the basics such as ensuring that the email server stays up. If we drop the ball on the IT fundamentals, then it’s really not going to matter just how good of a job we do when it comes to the shiny new stuff.
  • Using The Wrong Vocabulary: I love technology, you love technology. That’s pretty much where things stop. The rest of the company, including your CFO or CEO boss don’t love technology as much as you do. This means that when you talk with them it’s your responsibility to change the words that you use. Don’t talk tech with them. Instead, change your vocabulary so that you discuss things using the financial terms that they use every day. By doing this you’ll fit in better and you just might save your job.
  • Mo Money, Mo Money: One of the biggest mistakes that any CIO can make can occur when it’s time to create your next budget. Sure, everyone expects you to ask for a little bit more money each year, but if you keep asking for a lot more capital in order to fund new IT projects then you are going to be nobody’s friend. As CIO what you need to be doing is finding ways to reduce the amount that you are spending on infrastructure each year so that savings can be used for other IT projects.
  • Make Important Friends: It turns out that one of the keys to being a successful CIO is taking the time to build the right types of relationships. No matter who you report to, be it the CEO or the CFO, you need to get the CEO to be on your side. Take the time to find ways to talk with him or her and make sure that they are fully aware of all of the things that are going on in the IT department.

What All Of This Means For You

Becoming a CIO is hard work. Staying CIO once you get there turns out to be hard work also. CIOs who don’t know what blunders they need to avoid may end up holding onto the CIO job for a very short time.

The four classic mistakes that you want to avoid include technical failures and not taking care of the basics, using the wrong vocabulary when you talk with others, always asking for more funding, and failing to build the right relationships with important people. Simply being aware of these pitfalls might be all that you need in order to avoid them.

Your company has worked long and hard to make sure that you have both the training and the experience that you’ll need in order to be a successful CIO. Don’t let them down by blowing it and dropping the ball. Make sure that you don’t commit any of these four CIO mistakes.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: What’s the best way for a CIO to reduce your operational expenses each year?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

How much time every day do you spend thinking about risk? No matter what your answer was, I’m willing to bet that considering the importance of information technology you are not spending enough time on this important subject. Every person who has the CIO job knows that there are risks all around us each and every day. In fact, the number of risks that your company is facing is probably growing every day. The big question is what should you be doing about this?

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