What does every CEO really want from their key leaders? The simplest answer is likely to be “better results, faster.” Now it gets complicated.
For a CIO who understands his or her role, you’re in the best possible position to make the most difference with every other part of the organization. Done well, you can help every other division to clarify, focus on, and determine what would help them grow their valuable contributions in the best and most dynamic ways.
This is where the difficulty really begins to show up.
How many of your business partners and divisional colleagues truly have a well-honed, clear, widely communicated strategic plan? I am not talking about the annual document that lists goals and strategies, but in reality, often does very little to elevate and accelerate that division’s success and results.
Nevertheless, their “strategic plan” doesn’t stop them from making lots of demands for IT support. Your question always has to be: “What would serve the most important and valuable results of this division, as well as the company?”
It is so common for a gap to exist between what a division and your company is asking for, and what it truly needs, would value, and find critical to get their most important results faster.
When you operate as a valued partner to your colleagues, it is up to you and your team to help your clients think deeper and better to ensure that what they are asking for will make the biggest and best impact. Simply stated, what your CEO hopes – and expects – you to do, is to be the ones that aligns the IT investment with the best interests with each division and the company.
CIO’s have the greatest success when they facilitate with their business partners to clarify the truly meaningful, high impact results that are needed (versus the rushed, low-level, non-strategic requests). Only then can they be as efficient, effective, and valuable as possible by bridging the gap between where clients are and where they need to be to maximize their success.
One of the challenges here is also one of the greatest opportunities for you and your team. Keeping the conversation and work on what is most important and valuable to do, you clearly demonstrate how great an impact you have on the results and success of everyone you touch. Your first and most important step in allocating and aligning your resources to best serve your clients and the organization is to ensure every project has a clear purpose and objective that aligns with the most critical strategic goals of that division and your organization.
When that alignment is unclear or proves elusive, you have the opportunity to save your organization a lot of headaches and wasted effort by first ensuring that what you’re being asked to do is going to be worth doing and valuable. The skill to do this is what separates a truly valuable, indispensable IT leader from merely a tech savvy IT provider.
The art and science in helping your clients clarify, focus on, and impact what is most important and valuable is key to your becoming an indispensable partner in their business success. This is what every top CEO would love to his or her CIO and their team do successfully.