Stereotypes are quite destructive things aren’t they? The IT Crowd would have you believe that the most important skill in an IT professional is their ability to treat ‘users’ with complete disdain and to deliver a witty one liner at the appropriate moment in time, not to mention be a socially awkward misfit. How the skill-set should have changed!
For me the most important part of the CIO role is the skill of leadership, swiftly followed by communication. A modern CIO is part of the executive of an organisation. They need to be part of the team, not simply there because they are the IT ‘geek’ but because they bring leadership attributes to it. Gone should be the days where the CIO is at a leadership meeting to ensure that the PowerPoint slides work.
Roy Trenneman: [picking up the phone] Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again? Uh… okay, well, the button on the side, is it glowing? Yeah, you need to turn it on… uh, the button turns it on… yeah, you do know how a button works don’t you? No, not on clothes.
The art of transparency is a skill that is becoming more and more valued in a public sector IT leader. Being identified as the leader of an organisation and representing that organisation to the consumer is something we now need to foster in aspiring leaders. Innovation is just as much about belief in leadership to achieve goals as it is about technology delivery.
The ability to act as soothsayer is also an expectation of new IT leaders. Spotting the solution to the problem and align it to how the organisation delivers is a skill that comes from leading a technology organisation away from being ‘IT’ and ‘the business’ and to becoming part of the business itself.
Maurice Moss: [picking up the phone] Hello, IT… Have you tried forcing an unexpected reboot?
All in all though, the most important skill of the CIO is a realisation that your role is business transformation and engagement. Enthusiasm simply for Big Data or the Internet of Things will not deliver change.