CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 64

I think for CIOs, understanding the fundamentals of the business
situation they're in and what the imperatives are is pretty important.

If you're moving from one CIO role to another, that

Moving into a startup environment, where you're laying

typically means you're moving between organizations.

the foundations for the IT infrastructure and maybe

There, what you're facing are classic C-level onboarding

technology is absolutely core to the business proposition,

challenges, like understanding the business, the culture,

is very different from finding yourself in a turnaround

and how you're going to operate in it. You need to figure

situation, where you're trying to dramatically pare

out who's who and how influence works and how you're

back the organization. You may be ripping out existing

going to build alliances.

systems and putting in new stuff. I think for CIOs,

What about a newly minted CIO?

understanding the fundamentals of the business
situation they're in and what the imperatives are is
pretty important.

The people I've worked with who are just becoming CIOs
have struggled with the breadth of the role. For instance,
the CIO has effectively become the Chief Security Officer
or has a direct report who does that. That's a very
interesting expansion of the role.
If you're moving into the CIO role for the first time,

What if someone realizes, after 90 days
or 100 days, that he is not on the right
path? Does that person have the chance
to course-correct and, if so, what
should he do?

you'll need to become part of the senior executive team.
That means wearing both the IT hat, if you will, and

Panic. Actually, the serious answer is that it depends.

the full enterprise hat. How do you balance those two

Some things are irreversible. We know that people form

things? You've got to sit around that table and represent

opinions early on, on the basis of very little data. We

not just the IT function but also the strategic needs of

know that once people have made up their mind about

the business as a whole.

something, they will collect data that supports that

And like any other C-level leader, it seems, CIOs need

belief and push away data that doesn't - that's called

to figure out what those strategic needs are - and do so

the confirmation bias. Those dynamics operate very

pretty quickly.

powerfully in transitions. You come in and you make

In the book, you lay out the STARS
model, which captures five situations
a leader may be moving into: startup,
turnaround, accelerated growth,
realignment, and sustaining success.
What are some of the challenges for
CIOs in these different situations?

some early missteps or you annoy some key stakeholders
or you don't pay attention to some key stakeholders and
they get offended. It can be hard to turn that around.
You need to realize that you're not on the right path, but
you may be having trouble precisely because you're not
good at realizing things like that.
But, if you haven't messed up too badly, you've still
got a chance. If you've made a decision too quickly or in
a way that doesn't match the decision-making style in

CIO Straight Talk | 64



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6

Contents
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Cover1
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Contents
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 3
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 4
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 5
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 6
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 7
CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - 8
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CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - InsertA
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CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - InsertB
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CIO Straight Talk - Issue 6 - Cover3
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