As businesses expand, their technological capabilities must expand with them. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) now have a broader role in business strategy.
The qualities a potential CIO must possess aren’t limited to technical competencies; they must encompass business leadership and management skills. Here are important factors to consider when hiring a CIO.
It used to be that creating a business’s “vision” was strictly within the CEO’s purview. It was the CEO’s job to gain support for and lead expansions and business innovations. Now, no CEO can accomplish those things without the help of a like-minded CIO.
CIO candidates must be able to articulate how they see technological innovations advancing the business, whether through reaching new customer groups or better serving existing ones. For every bold idea the CEO proposes, the CIO must be able to assess how technology and information management can support company goals.
The stereotypical tech geek has never been CIO material. Although CIOs must be fluent in tech-speak and several steps ahead of technical innovations that will impact company operations, they must also be able to convey technical information to non-technical audiences.
Every time a business adopts a new software, database platform, or other enterprise-wide system, every employee feels the impact directly. Their work lives will change, they’ll need additional training, and they’ll want to understand why the current way of doing things isn’t good enough. The CIO must explain innovations and changes succinctly and in a way that inspires enthusiasm and buy-in for technical advances.
Commitment to Diversity
While technical fields have made some advances in diversifying their ranks, tech still has a long way to go in welcoming women and other underrepresented groups. It’s an established fact that companies with diverse workforces are more successful than those with homogenous teams. A candidate’s record of championing diversity in the ranks of technical staff should be one of the most important factors to consider when hiring a CIO.
Top-down, command-style leadership has been obsolete for some time now. A CIO must be able to energize technical workers across the spectrum of roles. Even more important, a CIO must ensure the organization company-wide feel valued, supported, understood, and motivated. These are the basics of a service leadership style.
Analytical and Strategic Thinking
Data may be the most valuable commodity any business can develop. Analyzing data and figuring out what it reveals about company operations, consumers, and inefficiencies and developing strategies to deploy data for business improvement and growth are central responsibilities of a CIO. Working with the rest of C-suite, the CIO must use data to support strategy to outpace the competition.
As they’re accomplishing strategic innovations, CIOs must always have their eye on information security. Protecting the business’s intellectual property and securing its data is paramount, and a CIO candidate must demonstrate success in avoiding data breaches.
If your business is hiring your first CIO or filling a vacated CIO position, call Battalia Winston for help. Our CIO recruiters become part of your search committee, identifying your needs and building a roster of candidates that will help you drive your business to the next level.