Conclusion 02

Conclusion 02: CIO Skills

There's a gap between the skills IT execs need and those they actually have. IT execs say their jobs require business understanding, leadership ability and communications skills. Yet they rate their own skills in these areas much lower than the value they place on these abilities. And a related attribute, interpersonal skills, ranks extremely low on the lists. There is no skills gap in more traditional IT capabilities: IT execs feel they have stronger analytical skills and technical acumen than the job demands. Strategic thinking proves to be an attribute more likely found in larger company IT executives.

The most important skills are where we find the largest IT exec skills gap—the difference between how many place high importance on a particular personal quality, and how many claim to possess it. Forty-five percent rate business understanding as important, but just 32% claim to have it. With leadership ability, the figures are 45% and 37%; with communications skills, 37% and 26%.

IT execs have years of IT experience, but consider technological acumen the least critical attribute to have, at 9%. Integrity and interpersonal skills were cited as important by 10% and 11%, respectively.

Large companies have strategists, smaller ones have problem solvers as IT executives. Being a strategic thinker is a much higher requirement in a larger company, at 40% versus 21% in small firms. Smaller companies require problem solvers 31% versus 14% in larger, and analytical ability in 19% of companies, versus 9% in larger ones.

The Myers-Briggs profile of the respondents counters the traditional "tech geek" image. (The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a well-researched analytical tool for assessing personality types along several axes: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, Thinking/Feeling and Judging/Perceiving.) Of the 66% of respondents who know their type, 53% report themselves to be extroverts. The most likely Myers-Briggs types for the sample are INTJ (introvert-intuition-thinking-judging) and ENTJ (extrovert-intuition-thinking-judging), together totaling 37%. These are types commonly found in people who devise strategy, establish plans and direct others.

This article was originally published on 04-15-2002
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