NOTE: While this is focused on the responsibilities of a great CIO, everything here if relevant to every senior executive who is committed to delivering exceptional value.

“Give me a lever long enough, and a place to stand, and I can move the world.”  Archimedes

Nothing is as critical to the success of an organization today than being able to make rapid, high quality decisions with excellent vision, focus, insight, knowledge, and perspective. A highly successful CIO – and his or her team – is one of the most important keys to enabling this kind of organizational capability and success.

Thus, the future of the CIO depends on how well your business partners and clients get their most important strategic objectives met with your support. CIO’s – and every significant strategic leader – must understand:

  • The most important initiatives, priorities, and objectives of everyone they serve
  • How to get your clients focused on what is really most important
  • The resources and requirements that are key to achieving these priorities
  • What they should say ‘yes’ to – and what they need to learn to say ‘no’ to
  • The keys to making critical decisions in the midst of constant, rapid change

While this should seem obvious, what most often gets in the way is lack of clarity about and alignment with business partners on what their most critical objectives are.

I have seen that all too often, urgency about low level activities and less-than-important requests clog the decision-making, prioritization, and production process. More people in organizations today suffer from overwhelm than ever before – and this is a terrible state of mind to make critical decisions in.

A successful future for a CIO rests on his or her ability to be the stable center in the swirling rapids of business activity and demands. The more the CIO is the focal point for ensuring important decisions are aligned with the most critical strategic objectives, the more valuable and important a leader he or she is.

 Of course, making these critical results happen is an assumed and important element of success. What we find is that poor decision-making and prioritization is where many disasters originate from. Getting the priorities clear, organized, and agreed upon are what makes for the efficient and effective execution that delivers what really matters.

This critical capability for clarity of focus and decision-making determines whether the CIO is a cog in the wheel of business, or a critical leader in driving the success of their business partners and company. As a leader this means you and your team must have a crystal clear:

  • Recognition that your role is to be a critical provider of what accelerates your client’s most important results
  • Alignment of the priority strategic objectives of each of your clients with the company’s most important results
  • Allocation of resources to maximize delivery of the priority results
  • Structure and strategy for intelligently adjusting priorities as needed
  • Communication skills that keeps the focus on what really matters (versus what clients get fixated on)

With these capabilities, the CIO and their teams becomes the balance point or fulcrum that ensure that each division’s priorities serve the ultimate corporate objectives. The CIO and their teams, based on their knowledge of what everyone needs, is in the best position to be the strategic arbiter of what would move the organization best. Although every senior leader should be doing this, the CIO must do this to be successful.

Bringing coherence to the organizational decisions about what matters most is the calling card of the CIO of the future. This is the most powerful and valuable outcome that digital transformation, technical expertise, and agile development actually aim to deliver.

To accelerating and elevating your success,

PS: When you need faster and better strategic insights to accelerate your progress and results, contact me at – or at 978-369-4525.