Today’s CIO does not need a deep understanding of technology, but better understand what technology can do for the business and have the leadership skills to make it happen.
Trending Toward Non-Technical IT Leaders
Have you noticed how many CIOs and chief digital officers didn’t rise through IT? I’ve seen this trend accelerating during the past 15 years.
Why is this happening?
There is a continuously shrinking gap between IT leaders with business knowledge and business leaders with technology knowledge. Let’s be clear. I’m not talking about business folks with programming skills or the ability to configure a network. I’m referring to the increasing understanding of what’s possible with technology.
There was a time when the CIO had comprehensive knowledge of business processes because IT evolved to support nearly every aspect of the business. We saw a growing trend of business-savvy CIOs becoming COOs or General Managers. That made perfect sense.
And while more of the business grew dependent on technology, those business leaders developed an increasing understanding of how technology could support their business goals. These business leaders were not necessarily technical, but they grew to understand how they could use technology.
So how does the non-technical business leader thrive in the CIO role? (Note that this article is designed for the chief information officer and chief digital officer roles but does not necessarily apply to the chief technology officer role. Contact us if you’d like clarification.)
Leadership Skills for the CIO
While traditional CIOs may have led their teams through technical vision and deep technical skills, today’s CIO needs a much broader and balanced skill set. Especially the non-technical CIO.
We’ve identified six leadership skills that will help the CIO earn trust, credibility, and respect from other business leaders, the board, and the IT organization. For anyone that follows us regularly, you know that trust, credibility, and respect are what enables the CIO to navigate through the IT Value Journey and transform the business.
These six leadership skills include:
- Rally the team around a vision
- Develop and execute strategy
We’ll dedicate the next six articles to explaining each, with an emphasis on the non-technical IT leader. You’ll see how important it is for the IT leader to not necessarily have deep technical skills but, rather, to have a clear understanding of how technology can help the business.
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with many of our readers and encourage you to continue to reach out. Email Emily@WolffStrategy.com and she’ll be happy to schedule a call with me.
Larry Wolff is the founder & CEO of Wolff Strategy Partners, a boutique consulting firm specializing in Enterprise Strategy Management and Digital Transformation. Larry has served as CEO, COO, CIO, CTO, chief digital officer, and management consultant for public, private, international, and emerging growth companies. His specialties include corporate and IT strategic planning, technology led business transformation, business and IT turnarounds, merger integration and large-scale project rescues. His methodologies span industries and scale to companies of all sizes.