CIOs must build powerful CxO relationships

building powerful relationships
Posted under: From the Blog 27th of August, 2013

The Australian Computer Society recently invited Gartner to present on why and how CIOs need to build stronger relationships with CEOs, CFOs, COOs, etc. Recent article by Marcus Darbyshire via Technology Decisions 

More recent data was presented to reinforce how many CIOs still don’t get it. Gartner 2004 report “Improving the CEO’s view of CIO” said “Relationships matter. The difference between how the CEO views the CEO-CIO relationship, and how the CIO views this relationship creates the potential for a dangerous disconnect, limiting the value generated by information technology and the power of the executive team. Understanding the CEO’s expectations and view of the CIO helps create the right relationship based on personal style and enterprise need.”

In 2008, Gartner expanded to encourage stronger CIO-CFO relationship

In 2013, it’s not just the CEO and CFO relationships that matters but extending to wider executive relationships with all the key people the CEO regards as pivotal to delivery of the CEO’s top priorities.

Take home message?

HBR article of May 2011 “The New Path To the C-Suite” examined hundreds of executive profiles over a decade reveals-

One strikingly consistent finding: Once people reach the C-suite, technical and functional expertise matters less than leadership skills and a strong grasp of business fundamentals. Chief information officers need to know how to create business models; chief financial officers, how to develop risk management strategies; chief human resource officers, how to design a succession plan and a talent structure that will provide a competitive edge. In other words, the skills that help you climb to the top won’t suffice once you get there. We’re beginning to see C-level executives who have more in common with their executive peers than they do with the people in the functions they run. And today members of senior management are expected not only to support the CEO on business strategies but also to offer their own insights and contribute to key decisions.

This article on “The Key to Powerful Relationships” describes it well:

Business isn’t business.  Business is peopleEverything an organization wants to achieve it achieves through its people. Your ability, therefore, to galvanize the support of key individuals, build incredible teams that are relentlessly dedicated, and excite rooms filled with innovators and investors all depends on your ability to build powerful relationships.

It offers 7 useful tips:

1.  The person you are talking to is the Messiah in the room

2.  Listen & Learn.  Then Speak.

3.  Be Vulnerable – you don’t have to have all the answers

4.   How can I help you? Help me help you!

5.  You Have to Make the Ask (no excuses)

6.  Follow Up and Follow Through

7.  Be Confident and Passionate

So who said this – “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” ?


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