A few weeks ago, I had a great conversation with my good friend Mark Polansky. Mark, as many of you know, is Senior Client Partner and Managing Director of the IT Officers Practice at Korn/Ferry International. From his post at Korn/Ferry, Mark has a genuinely unique view of the evolving role of the CIO in the modern enterprise. He also knows what CEOs and executive boards look for when they are hiring a new CIO. Here are some nuggets of advice that Mark shared with me:
No matter how fast the technology landscape changes and shifts, nothing beats good old fashioned leadership. You can improve your leadership skills with a combination of formal and informal training. Make sure you’re getting 360-degree feedback and don’t be afraid to look in the mirror.
Create the time for mentoring, in both directions. Find a mentor for yourself, even if you’re a CIO reporting to the CEO. Find a mentor on the board, or find a mentor from another company — maybe the CIO at a bigger company. Also make sure that the people who report to you have mentors.
One of the biggest challenges facing CIOs is developing the leadership skills of those behind them. Some of the world’s best CIOs measure their success by the number of people who have worked for them and then went on to become CIOs themselves.
I really like how Mark frames the CIO’s role in terms of executive leadership instead of technology management. As Mark says, “CIOs have rightfully earned their seat at the table.” The enterprise needs their leadership – especially in today’s uncertain times.