I recently had the pleasure of delivering the closing keynote at the Rethink! ITEM Europe event in London, where the audience comprised CIOs and IT leaders. My theme was CIO 2.0. Here is a summary of the key action points:
- Define how you want to be perceived. To increase your strategic relevance, this should downplay technology management and upplay your credentials as a business leader.
- Update all references to yourself to reflect this newly defined brand. This includes your LinkedIn profile, plus any other references. The aim is not to lie, but merely to highlight your experience and credentials in a manner that is in harmony with your brand.
- Deliver and behave in a manner that is in keeping with your brand. Not everyone will warm to the ‘new you’, so there may be some pressure to keep the status quo. Do not be deterred.
- Be adaptable. If the market or your organisation changes focus, be prepared to quickly adapt / abandon the plan.
- Constantly check your relevance. Waiting until you change job is too infrequent, even for interim CIOs.
- Agility is important, but so too is the ability to anticipate what lies ahead, along with the attentiveness, should the unexpected (threat or opportunity) emerge.
- Treat your career as a path to mastery. Becoming world class will present you with greater career choice and greater rewards.
- Treat your career as a lean start up. Use data to plot your career path, rather than gut feeling or a lingering fantasy.
- Again you are encouraged to downplay your technology management capabilities, but upplay your technology trends expertise. Remember Toys, Threats and Table stakes. Many CEOs cannot make the connection between ‘new’ new technologies and their business, seeing them as toys. Even when some of the competitors embrace them, they do not see it as a threat. Sometimes waiting for the technology to become table stakes can be fatal. This is your opportunity to save the business!