CIOs: Gartner's tips for raising your game

Crank up personal and enterprise performance from good to excellent...

After a passage of bumpy economic turbulence, the next 12 months represent a great opportunity for CIOs to tune up personal and enterprise skills, says Gartner's John Mahoney.

2010 was undoubtedly the transition year when organisations emerged, bleary-eyed, from their bunkers to try to make sense of the post-recession landscape. It was the year when most businesses returned to making healthy profits, while governments started to accept historic overspending realities.

Although the economic aftershocks look set to continue, the next 12 months will be a period when concrete decisions will be made about the changes needed to structure the post-recession world.

CIOs and the organisations they lead must be fit to support new growth patterns in business and deep changes in government. The next year offers more opportunities and, at the same time, more challenges than we have seen for a while as economies, markets and communities rebuild, renew and retrench.

Post-recession: Post-recession CIOs need to eliminate bad practices, whether they date from the downturn or have gone unrecognised for even longer

CIOs need to eliminate bad practices, whether they date from the downturn or have gone unrecognised for even longer
Photo: Shutterstock

With this in mind, Gartner has put forward some key goals for CIOs as they journey through the next 12 months. These are not the main-agenda, top-of-mind issues you'll find elsewhere in Gartner's research. Rather, they reveal important but less obvious actions to raise personal and enterprise performance from good to excellent.

We need to focus on getting in shape for the challenges ahead in terms of the organisation, our own personal readiness and future growth, and on eliminating bad practices that may have grown up during the recent difficult times or that may have gone unrecognised and unchallenged for even longer.

These objectives are organised under four key headings.

Ensure organisational fitness to meet your goals

  • Praise the unusual and hire some oddballs During periods of crisis or uncertainty, it's important to keep people focused on core activities and executing them well. But in the aftermath, organisations must adapt to the changes taking place around them. They need to disrupt the status quo of the organisational culture a little to start making it more dynamic, inquisitive and reforming.
  • Start a quiet conversation about business ethics The recession has already raised major questions about business ethics and a vibrant international conversation continues about the appropriate parameters for issues such as board-member bonuses and government regulatory responsibilities. However, ethics are diffused through the culture of companies, not just in the oaths that individuals might swear. That issue raises a question: what are your business ethics as an IT leader and what are those of the team around you?
  • Spend more time on information strategy and less on technology strategy CIOs are good at assimilating changes brought about by new technology. But what about the changes they could achieve through new access to existing information and by new information itself? CIOs need to promote discussions on what it would take to become an intelligent business.

Ensure personal fitness to do your job

  • Review your tenure and strengthen your personal career goals The next 12 months will be a period of transition for exploring new opportunities. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, what you want and what you have to...