How Can A CIO Adjust To Working For A New CEO?

A new business card means that you're working for a new CEO
A new business card means that you’re working for a new CEO

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Roughly half of the having the CIO job is communicating with other people. We all know about communicating the importance of information technology to the rest of the company; however, one of the most important people that you have to communicate with is your CEO. When there is a change at the top, then all of a sudden you’ve got a brand new person to report to. This has got to become your #1 job…

It’s All About Change

When a new CEO comes in, it’s all going to be about change. During their first 90 days the new CEO will be looking to make their mark on the company. You need to find a way to get out in front of this wave of change.

One way to get off to a good start is to not wait until the new CEO takes over. Instead, see if you can arrange to meet with them before their official start date and brief them on the current IT department strategy. Your job has to be to find ways that the IT department can support the types of changes that they are going to want to be making.

Don’t Hold Your Tongue

All too often, very few people in the company are going to have the guts that it takes to disagree with the new CEO. This creates an opportunity for you; however, you need to move carefully here.

Take the time to pick the situations in which you choose to disagree with the CEO. Make sure that you believe that their plan will harm the company – that’s why you are speaking up. Pick the right time and place to voice your opinion and make sure that you let them know that you support them, you just think that there is a better way to do something.

Passive Never Wins

Just sitting back and letting events unfold is never a good idea for a CIO. Instead, make your own future and forge your relationship with the new CEO. When you see opportunities where the IT department could help the company, speak up!

The new CEO may view the IT department as a cost center. Don’t let this happen. Don’t use that complex IT jargon and instead, position yourself and the IT department as strategic tools that the CEO can use to accomplish their goals.

What All Of This Means For You

Nobody likes change and the person in the CIO position is no different. One of the biggest changes that can happen in a CIOs life is when the company’s CEO gets replaced. All of a sudden a key relationship needs to be rebuilt and quickly!

In order to make this new relationship work, the CIO has to understand that the new CEO is going to be making changes and the IT department has to be there to support him or her. Being quiet and not speaking up won’t serve the new CEO well. Instead, speak your mind when you think that it can help. Finally, don’t be passive. The new CEO needs all the help that he or she can get and you’ve got a responsibility to help out.

It’s important to think of the changing of the CEO guard not as a setback, but rather as the opening of new opportunities for both yourself and the IT department. Take the time to work on developing a relationship that will benefit both of you. The time invested will pay off for both of you.

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

Question For You: When a new CEO comes on board, do you think that you should get in contact with them or should you wait for them to reach out to you?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Due to the importance of information technology, CIOs are in charge of an IT department that works on many different things. As much as we’d all like to think that we are balanced – we care about all things having to do with IT equally, it’s just not true. Depending on your background before you got the CIO job, you are probably biased in one direction or another. Which do you favor more – applications or infrastructure?