CIOs are uniquely positioned to drive the transformation of a business due to their knowledge of technology, culture change and business processes.
Given that some of the types are better than the others as it relates to business transformation, is it possible for a CIO to change from one type to a more desirable type? "Certainly, anything is possible in theory," Cecere says. "However, the ability to successfully change depends largely on whether they were forced into the position they were in or found themselves there by their own skills."
An experienced and talented CIO at a travel company, for example, was forced into a soldier role because this was the company's culture: IT was an order taker. When that changed because of technology-enabled technology threats, this CIO rapidly advanced into a leadership role. "This was tangible as she even became a member of the executive committee," says Cecere. In contrast, a CIO at a health-care services company was a talented technologist with great hands-on IT skills, but the individual’s leadership and communication skills were weak. "When the company started a transformation project, this person had little chance to take on a leadership position, and the CEO quickly decided to hire a consultant to represent IT," says Cecere. The CEO’s decision was a wise one as it provided myriad benefits for everyone involved—and heightened the project’s odds of success.
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