IT Management Slideshow: Strategy Questions Every CIO Must Ask

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 11-23-2010

Strategy Questions Every CIO Must Ask

Who is your primary customer?Determine if this customer is the prime focus of maximized delivered value.

Strategy Questions Every CIO Must Ask

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Identifying your prime customer can lead to tough choices.Example: Amazon.com had to choose between consumers and independent retailers - and picked consumers. Every action since then has been framed by the question: How will our actions impact consumer sentiment?

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Core values shape priorities.Use your core values to prioritize shareholders, employees and customers. Achieving success is simplified when all parties share the same core values. Often, shared values are lacking.

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Are your employees committed to values equally for your shareholders and your customers?Hint: If they perceive shareholders or customers as nuisances "to be dealt with" rather than partners, commitment may be an issue.

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What critical performance variables are you tracking?You're responsible for creating accountability for each variable.

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With performance variables, less can be more.The greater number of variables, the more you'll increase the potential for restrained innovation. A project serves as a "checklist generator," rather than inspiring adventure.

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What strategic boundaries have you set?Some "means to an end" are off-limits. Red-flag these with your staff, vendors.

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When to say no.Just say "no" to creative initiatives that steer your organization off its critical strategic track. Example: Steve Jobs avoided the development of PDAs, instead focusing on something called the iPod.

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How are you generating creative tension?Creative tension is the fuel for innovation.

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Is your style of creative tension is productive or destructive?Are you encouraging constructive competitiveness that elicits a sense of excitement and engagement within your teams? Or are you cultivating an atmosphere of resentment and anxiety?

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How committed are your employees to helping each other?If they're quick to "share" responsibility as opposed to copping a "not in my job description" attitude, it's a positive sign.

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Build employee bridges with a "mix and match" approach.Pair workers who don't normally "hang out together" or who may have even clashed in the past. Working together toward one goal leads to a long-term "value" bond.

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What strategic uncertainties keep you awake at night?Your staffers need to know what these are. Otherwise, as a team, you can't work toward resolving them.

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Build a solid radar systemEncourage your team members to participate in professional social-media groups and off-line associations or networking opportunities. It will position them to help you effectively spot trends and business shifts.

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