For CIOs who aspire to excellence, and who may seek another corner office in the company, succession planning is one of the responsibilities that come with the job.
After all, once the hand-picked replacement is ready, doesn’t that make the boss expendable? Well, that all depends. If the CIO is perceived as a well-regarded and valuable member of the executive team, then grooming a replacement is considered responsible executive behavior. However, if that’s not the case, it’s entirely possible that the CIO may not be in a big hurry to develop his or her potential replacement, regardless of whether they have the time to do so.
What Can We Do About It?
It remains true, however, that CIO succession planning still lags as compared to other executive positions. The question is, what can we do about it?
First and foremost, it is incumbent on any CIO, whether he or she is on firm organizational footing or just hanging by a slender thread, to take an executive and professional approach to succession planning. Beyond that, CIOs owe succession planning, and the accompanying developmental exercises and opportunities, to their direct reports, some of whom may aspire to be a CIO.
Finally, CIOs owe it to themselves. For CIOs who aspire to excellence in their role, and who may even aspire to another corner office in the company, succession planning is one of the many responsibilities that come with the job.
Reflecting on my own experiences, I admit I had some trepidation about succession planning. It wasn’t something that came naturally to me, and it did seem to imply or acknowledge some sort of built-in obsolescence. However, I came to understand and realize the importance of succession planning and, more importantly, it provided me with the opportunity to work with some very talented IT people who aspired to higher leadership levels.
In the end, I was the one who gained a lot from the experience, the benefits of which are still with me today.
About the Author
Formerly CIO at Amerisure, Frank Petersmark is CIO Advocate at X by 2, a Farmington Hills, Mich.-based technology company specializing in software and data architecture and transformation projects for the insurance industry. He can be reached at fpetersmark@XBY2.com.
You can read Petersmark’s previous CIO Insight article, “Wanted: Executive Peers,” by clicking here.