Leadership

Video: Five signs you aren't cut out to be a CIO

For many IT professionals, the ultimate job in technology is Chief Information Officer (CIO), but do you really know what a CIO does? This episode of Sanity Savers for IT Executives looks at what the CIO job involves and provides five warning signs that you may not be cut out to be a CIO.

Welcome to the first episode of TechRepublic's new weekly video show, Sanity Savers for IT Executives. This show will provide actionable tips for CIOs, IT directors, and other senior IT leaders to help them become more effective leaders, make good technology decisions, align IT and business goals, and better manage their teams of IT professionals. We'll also provide tips aimed new IT at leaders to help them get a jump on the path to success.

The inaugural episode is about your career goals. For many IT professionals, the ultimate job in technology is Chief Information Officer (CIO), but do you really know what a CIO does? This show looks at what the CIO job involves and provides five warning signs that you may not be cut out to be a CIO. This isn't meant to kill your enthusiasm about the CIO job, but to help you avoid it if it's not the best career path for you.

For many IT pros, a senior-level leadership position in the IT department doesn't have to mean CIO. Some may find that the best fit could be Director of Software Engineering, Director of Network Operations, etc.

For more, you can also read the original article that this video was based on, download the article as a PDF, and read the original discussion thread:

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

26 comments
monseratef
monseratef

Nicely summed up, good points about leadership too in the thread. I'm at the Director level now in IT, so the next 'logical' step in my case would (or could) be CIO. Even at this level, the points being covered in the video apply. I've found that in order to be successful in an upper level IT position, you really have to round out your game. That goes for your people skills (and not just upper management), your knowledge of IT systems and how they interact (all that apply to your organization), your entrepenural sense, your knowledge of the industry your employer is in, as well as the corporate culture. That said, in many ways, you are....also a CEO. You're the individual that runs the IT company that operates as a subsidiary of the company that employs you. Your IT company is a strategic partner that must operate in line with the identity, purpose, and direction of the parent company....And the pressure and everything that comes with it is on. Could you imagine making a decision that takes the company's IT operation in a different direction than the actual company itself? Very challenging, but also very rewarding. That's my two cents anyway...

cindytech
cindytech

I'll try to be not in y Goal

kendi
kendi

Nice inaugural video. Nice polished look with the use of the green screen and graphics and picture inserts. I agree with the other poster though, your hand gestures were a little distracting, so I listened to your article instead of watching it. Specifically you do these left hand right hand, almost walking, step gestures. Just a suggestion, you could try sitting behind a table so you can rest your hands on the table if you aren't sure what to do with your hands. Regarding the video player, do you have a repeat video or replay button?

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

You're exactly right. I use my hands way too much. I blame it on the Italian side of my family. We all talk with our hands. :-) TechRepublic has already filmed multiple episodes of the show, and I can tell you honestly that the hand motions don't get better for a while. By episode 8 or 9 you'll start to notice the hands moving much less. Just giving you a heads up. Thanks for watching, and for posting your feedback.

raywrio
raywrio

Jason your hands are not a problem. Also being italian I did not even notice it. Please do not worry about. They are just being up-tight, its a natural thing never be ashamed about it.

pavppz1
pavppz1

yea try to just not use your hands as much. maybe think about not using your hands while talking! use graphical illustrations more then dictation

papatweet
papatweet

If you want to be CIO, become the CIO. Find out the duties and challanges of the job, and figure out how you would deal with them. Learn to look at the workplace, especially yourself, from the CIO point of view. Solve the CIO's problems for them, letting them take credit, but making the department more successful and effective. Deal with difficult co-workers as you feel a good CIO should. Help them find concensus. Champion good ideas regardless of source. Be sure problems from all customers of the department get handled effectively. Become the go-to person for everyone, and pass the problems to appropriate people. "How to Be a Star at Work: 9 Breakthrough Strategies You Need to Succeed: Robert E. Kelley" is very comprehensive and insightful.

mwesthoff
mwesthoff

This is pretty good. I would whittle it down even a little more. Basically, as one goes from technical to management to CIO, relationships become more important and more of what one does day-to-day, and technology, personally that is, becomes less important and less of what one does day-to-day. Nurturing and building relationships is number one, in my opinion.

IT Generalist
IT Generalist

CIO roles require great flexiblity. From what I can understand after reading Wayne Anderson's article "10 signs that you aren???t cut out to be a CIO", this role needs to be really good at not only managing IT but understanding and utilizing technology to help organization achieve its business goals such as sales, marketing, production, busines processes and customer service. This role needs to have the vision and capabilities to formulate strategies to achieve these goels. In addition to serving as a positive role model for co-workers, successful CIO must also be capable of inspiring others to recognize, develop, and apply their talents to their utmost potential to benefit the organization.

Turd Furgeson
Turd Furgeson

you missed some signs You can't inspire people to do their jobs better. You are all about yourself and your career. You are not willing to be open. You play the blame game.

pandemoniumctp
pandemoniumctp

...would be signs of a uneligible co-worker, regardless of position. Or a poorly developed person in general!

sheila crowe
sheila crowe

Those are needed qualities for this kind of leadership role, but one can hope that the people who attain these roles got there by exhibiting (particularly) these qualities.

lanmanjs
lanmanjs

How very true these are. If you have the people skills of the dead stumps of trees you're not going to be an effective leader and no one will have much of a degree of respect for you. Leadership should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 80% to 85% people skills. The business aspect of the job will be based on your education and experience background. You either have the skill or you don't. People skills are what really should matter.

dkcarl
dkcarl

I think the first part, and maybe even the others, said another way is 'leadership.' The middle manager can get away with "managing" but the executive cannot. If you haven't developed inspirational leadership you don't belong in the CIO slot. Unfortunately, I don't think this is a skill that will readily come for some people and you're better off being honest with yourself and recognizing which type of person you are capable of being (at least right now).

papatweet
papatweet

But: Become a leader, or become a commodity. (Start with leading yourself.)

p.j.hutchison
p.j.hutchison

Interesting video. Looking at all the points, I am sure I could do the job, I am good with numbers/finance, I love change, I can cope with strategy, making policies and decisions (as long as have the right infomation to hand) and no problem working with upper management.

jagadish.rao
jagadish.rao

Great stuff, clarified in a very simple terms.

pavppz1
pavppz1

Alright, so this is a very interesting concept, but what if you look at it from a different perspective. A CIO is not a CIO, but its an entropreneur. This person is someone who not only adapts to fit different roles within the company, but it is someone who has to play the same role within the company differently at a different level of progression of the organization. The CEO or CIO, are very complicated positions especially for a liquid entity, which must change with the times in order to avoid being sucked into the downward vaccum created by organizations around it rising above. So that being said, is it really possible to categorize this entire topic into ten or twelve, different aspects of a CIO's job which might or might not make you feel comfy? The bottom line is that any position especially in the IT industry, weather its a small IT firm, handling small time IT support contracts, or a multi billion dollar organization, which has thousands of employees, which all serve as tentacles of the monster. Your role in this position will be a successful one, only if you are a vivid observer of opportunities. You must seize every financial, marketing, strategic, or technical, opportunity which presents it self outright, or just by glancing the surface. The biggest challenge any CIO will face, is the actual ability to foresee, or envision these opportunities. The fact is, every individual with ambition at the core of his/her being, will either realize this opportunity through their personal creativity and ability, or fail because any of those ten aspects do not fir their bill. I say that a CIO, must have the knack, and understanding of the concept that is risk taking, one which sits outside the realm of most reasonable people. I agree that 1 in a million possesses the ability to reinvent themselves to fit their surroundings. These qualities are not ones which you can read and agree with. Instead they are the ones which put you outside of the box. The challenge of becoming or being a CIO is not a fear of an uncomfortable aspect of the job. Rather it is the ability to manage, merge, diverge, converge, overcome, everything before you, and the greatest success will be achieved by those who know when and how to handle people. www.computer-answers.com

snideley59
snideley59

I'm a network/sys admin. The only one of the five that I passed is that I'm always looking for change to newer technology or better solutions. I'd rather hang myself with a wrist strap than enter that world of paper and meetings and let's do lunch. The reason that the server room has a controlled access list is that it needs one, and I'm happy that I'm on it. I do realize that I am the cost of doing business, so if I don't provide better, more cost effective solutions through technology and user education, I should find some other career path. The biggest problem I have with senior management is when they force me into decisions based on the fact that they think they know my job better than I do.

Sze Wong
Sze Wong

So true. Actually, anytime you go into the C Suite, you need to be prepared to run the company. CEO, CFO, CIO, all share the same function and that is to run the company. So if you don't like the basics of running a company (looking forward, be financially sound, etc.) then of course CIO is not what you want. www.zerionconsulting.com

kaptandrews
kaptandrews

Good info but I would work on the preso skills. Without being too critical, I wanted to here what you had to say but too much hand movement can be a bit distracting. Just a suggestion.

tobybray
tobybray

Good topic and well covered. I scrolled the video off the screen after I figured out the presentation would not ad anything to the material covered. Never point your finger at the audience even when its a camera.

tuomo
tuomo

Nice video. Now, funny, scope is different but put problems seem same when you are either high or low in food chain. Think about that - only middle management can say "not my problem" and prosper, if you are high, it is your problems, if you are low in chain it is your problem and you better take care of it. Of course the size of most problems is different and the marketing aspect may be missing, except internal marketing skills are useful anywhere. But on those levels you are alone. Maybe we should start looking CIO material somewhere else except power hungry middle management who have forgotten how to be responsible of own decisions and actions? Who (do/should) want change, your CIO's and your operators. Who don't want to "rock the boat" - well.. Who can't point a finger to someone else and get away - well, here we go again.

chaynes33
chaynes33

the kind of person that would make the perfect CIO should have multiple bi-polar disorders. Jokeing of course .. Glad I'm retired. Seems like things get more complicated every day as we advance our technology. But yet, the basics don't change. The tools DO.