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Top Focuses for Driving Change as a CIO

Top Focuses for Driving Change as a CIO

What does it mean to lead change as a CIO? It means moving at the right moments, pushing when you need to, and being constantly prepared for industry changes.

Recently, the Enterprisers Project (one of the blogs on our CIO Reading List) asked technological leaders from organizations on the cutting edge for their advice on driving change. We’ve summarized, but you can read the full article here.

Driving Change: Advice from Leaders

Whether you want to be a “progressive” CIO, or call yourself something more pragmatic, there are some common traits of CIOs who can embrace change and lead their organization into the future:

Leading and Partnering

When the only constant is change, the CIO needs to know when to focus and push towards a bigger goal, when to bring in help, and when to align IT with the rest of the organization.

Related: Who will lead the Digital Transformation in 2017?

Be an Enabler

CIOs that can stay ahead of the curve are those who can anticipate what’s on the horizon—moving fast enough to avoid being a roadblock. CIOs who can drive change can step out of their comfort zone, helping others embrace the change that’s occurring at an organization. When the CIO can prove that he or she is a change agent who can reach out to others, the role is no longer that of the “no” person.

Be a Partner

IT needs to be an internal service provider that encourages innovation. Find ways to work within the business to deliver the best outcomes that drive the organization forward.

Related: How CIOs Can Own the Future of IT Infrastructure

Capitalize When the Time is Right

With underlying decisions in place, as well as an increased amount of flexibility, CIOs can move when it’s right in order to protect and expand their roles. This is where it pays to watch what’s going on—not only in your own industry but related industries.

Focus on the Opportunities

If you can prevent yourself from becoming change resistant, you can learn when, where, and how to capitalize on the opportunities as they arise. With the technological landscape continually evolving, it’s important to focus on what skills and tactics that IT can learn and use to transform an organization.

Related: Top Five Top Tens for the CIO

Develop a Sense of Urgency

With business moving faster than ever, it’s important to know when to capitalize—even if that means going out of your comfort zone. Nowadays, success is based on how well you can lead the organization’s technological evolution. Test, learn, fail small, and win big.

There Are Always Unknowns—Understand and Embrace

When looking into the abyss that is the outside technology world, consider what you know and what you don’t:

  • known knowns: there are things we know we know
  • known unknowns: we know there are some things we do not know.
  • unknown knowns: we intentionally refuse to acknowledge that we know
  • unknown unknowns: the ones we don’t know we don’t know

IT needs to not only prepare for the unknown, but embrace the uncertainty. For CIOs, this means you need to strategize—but know to steer the strategy, reacting to knowns and unknowns.

Bring It All Together

As a CIO, you have to balance the role of pragmatic technological leader with that of leading the technological transformation. As a leader in the financial and technological space, Wipfli offers CIO Advisory Services for organizations in need of advice, support, and guidance in driving digital transformation and technological evolution. Learn more about the work we do and read these articles to learn more:

Need Even More? Download our Guide to CIO Advisory Services, and get in contact with us for more.


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