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CIOs: Has your time finally come?

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By Manoj Chugh- ICT Expert

In 2022, I had the honor and opportunity to meet with many CIOs in small cohorts. A question that often cropped up during our one- on- one conversation related to leadership. Did they have an opportunity to make it to the top spot, given that every business was becoming a technology led one? After all, the CIO was best qualified to leverage technology and help their organization derive business benefit. Did they truly have a fair chance? What is the secret sauce that could help catapult them to that position.

I mulled over their deepest desire and as the New Year Dawns have penned down some ingredients, based on my own four decade roller coaster ride.

Building powerful leadership skills are critical for one to achieve professional and personal objectives. These are built over a period of time and there is no short cut. It begins by being compassionate & determined even in the face of obstacles. There has to be an innate desire to do something great. The conviction and perseverance to never “ give up” is key. How hungry you are to achieve your goal and deliver results is very visible.
A leader should be aware of the latest happenings, particularly in the fast paced and changing World of Technology. One needs to “read ahead to remain ahead”. I always carry articles, and reading material around with me, both in Digital and Physical form and savour them whenever I get a few minutes.

To move the needle, one has to take big bets—but never rash—always based on a careful study of the outcomes. Taking risk but side by side enabling sustainable solutions is the task one needs to master. A few years ago, I made a big bet to enter a vertical business segment, where we had not been successful in the past. I proverbially put all my eggs in one basket. It was a major investment and determined the future trajectory of my business. For CIOs’ Digital

Transformation offers that opportunity. Taking on traditional ways of serving customers and then rethinking the entire process or helping identify new opportunities can turn out to be very rewarding. Being seen as a business leader and not just a technology leader is important. One CIO was able to help his firm launch new products by massaging vast amounts of data that had been archived over the years and hitherto not seen to be of much value.

As you expand teams, hire smart people who bring diverse experience and skills. Encourage them to bring new thinking and challenge existing ways of leveraging technology. It takes a disciplined approach to achieve and maintain success. Be hands on and lead from the front. Nothing more exciting than being in the trenches with the team. That is where you have the most fun!

One of the most important leadership qualities is integrity. Trust binds all relationships. The willingness and ability to trust people is absolutely essential to your ability to perform at your very best. A leader should be a mix and match of empathy and boldness. Leaders can be mapped in a 2×2 matrix stating with Good Leader, Bad Leader, Good Boss and Bad Boss. A good leader could be a great boss similarly a good leader could be bad boss too It’s up to us to choose. Once a colleague of mine had the misfortune of going through a traumatic period of challenge, on account of certain personal issues within his family. He was distraught and “broken”. Normal business sense would have determined that I hire someone else and move on with life. Instead, (which on hindsight I believe was a good move), I assembled our entire team and asked them to take on a little more load each, if they felt that they could and wanted to help their team-mate. Everyone stepped up. Nine months later, the dark clouds disappeared and this colleague was back in action. Today, I am proud that he is a Senior Leader in our Industry.

Help others in your team to become a good leader as well. People with potential don’t simply become leaders overnight. It’s up to us to train the next generation, showing them how to guide a group of people toward a specific vision or goal. Leaders create Leaders. It’s a lifelong practice. Teamwork requires everyone having a shared vision; clear roles and responsibilities; delivering their best to help the entire unit succeed; and keeping personal differences from derailing the group’s performance and results. The substance of teamwork is about people working together to achieve more than they could have by working individually and independently. CIOs support all departments across the organization. They can play a key role in breaking the silos and re-architecting the processes and workflows that encourage better teamwork. They can break barriers and walls and thereby be viewed as the Big Unifiers.

The ability to take risks, manage failure, learn from failure, overcome the fear and continue to have faith in yourself is the biggest skill one needs to master. Be resilient in order to bounce back from failures, because failure is just a passing phase. It’s good to have a few failures in life. It helps you to understand your competencies. Failure is Success in progress.

It is important to start out with the right motivation, because a good start can build momentum that you can sustain for a long time. If you start out right, you have a much better chance of succeeding. Thus, start small, stick to one goal, examine your motivation, commit to it publicly, be excited, build anticipation and print it out, post it up at a place your eye doesn’t miss a look.

As the New Year dawns, I would like to urge all CIOs to gear up; put on their safety belt and get ready for the exciting ride in the ever changing Digital World. The best businesses are going to be those that innovate continuously and have the best technology. Who better than the CIO to lead that charge- into the Brave New World!

Good Luck for 2023!

The views expressed by the author are personal

For more articles written by Manoj Chugh, please refer to this link:
https://www.expresscomputer.in/tag/manoj-chugh/

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