What It Takes To Become A High Potential CIO

by drjim on October 20, 2010

Image Credit High Potential CIOs Are The Ones Who Become Successful

High Potential CIOs Are The Ones Who Become Successful

What is it going to take to make your CIO career a success? Sure, you can deliver IT value and get your projects done on time, but will that be enough? The answer is no. For you to be seen as a successful CIO you are going to have to be seen as a “high potential” CIO – one who is going to go places beyond your current assignment. Clearly you need to know what it’s going to take to get others to consider you to be high potential…

The Intangibles

The reason that many CIOs get stuck in their current job with the current responsibilities is because others don’t believe that they have “what it takes” to handle other responsibilities. The things that it will take for you to be viewed as being a high potential are intangible (can’t really be expressed in words) and generally can’t be written down on job descriptions or yearly evaluations.

The good news is that Dr. Douglas Ready and a team of researchers have been looking into what it takes for an IT worker to move from regular to high potential workers. They’ve uncovered four factors that can transform you from everyday to high potential in the eyes of others.

Drive Time

Do you have what it takes to succeed? Can others tell that you have this drive? Just being good isn’t enough for you – you have to want to be great and it needs to show.

The key here is that others need to be able to determine that you are willing to make the extra effort to succeed. This means that they are going to have to be able to see you make sacrifices in order to advance in your career. Everyone has to know that your personal life comes second when it comes to your job.

The Ability To Learn / Do

High potential CIOs are always learning new things. However, this isn’t enough. Just because you are willing to constantly be learning new things doesn’t make you a high potential IT worker.

Instead, you need to show others that you have the ability to not only learn new things, but to also take what you’ve learned and apply it to what is happening right now. The use of new ideas to make IT more productive for the company is what is going to set you apart from everyone else.

Become A Risk Taker

Despite all of us understanding that IT is all about change, it can be too easy for CIOs to get comfortable in their jobs. When this happens, they lose the desire to take new risks and they are no longer viewed by others as being high potential CIOs.

What we need to do is to be willing to take on new ways to make the company more productive. Sometimes this involves starting a risky new project, or developing a new set of IT skills that will require us to leave what we already know behind.

Develop Your “Spidy Sense”

The comic book hero Spiderman has what he calls his “spidy sense” which tingles when there is danger approaching. High potential CIOs need to develop their own version of this type of sensing that allows them to detect when a danger to their careers is approaching.

Career dangers can include such things as projects that are doomed to fail from the start, or avoiding providing feedback to senior managers that could help the company do better. High potential CIOs have a highly developed sense that allows them to know when to push forward and when to pull back.

What All Of This Means For You

Just being a CIO is not enough. In fact, just being a good CIO is not enough either. What you want to be is a high-potential CIO. This will open doors to new opportunities at the firm that you are working for and at other firms also.

In order to start to be seen as being “high potential”, you are going to have to start doing several things. These include showing a keen sense of drive to succeed, the ability to both learn new things and then apply what you’ve learned, take proper risks, and sense when an opportunity is either a good thing or a bad thing for your career.

The good news is that any CIO can become a high potential CIO. Simply by adopting these traits you can quickly move from being seen as simply a good CIO to being seen as a high potential CIO.

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

Question For You: Would you be willing to make sacrifices in your personal life in order to be seen as a high potential CIO?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Will these Internet crazes never end? Just in case you’ve been living under a rock someplace and haven’t heard about the “Twitter” revolution, guess what: it’s arrived and this time around as a CIO wanta-be you should be an active participant.

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