How & Why CIOs Can Influence the Highest Ranks

We have to get to the point where the CIO is seen as being as important as the CFO.

In our enduring search for actionable management advice, The Build Network editors read and hear a lot about CEOs’ board involvement. Far less is ever heard about other C-suite executives acting as board members. That’s why Michael Hickins’s recent story in the Wall Street Journal caught our attention.

Hickins reports that Shawn Banerji, a technology recruiter for Russell Reynolds Associates, has “seen as much demand for CIOs to sit on boards in the last few months as he has ‘in the past 10 years combined.’”

Virginia Gambale, a former CIO who’s currently on the board of JetBlue Airways, explains to Hickens that “perceptions of technology are changing at the board level. In the past year, directors have gone from looking to CIOs for assessments of cyber risks to focusing on the opportunities afforded by new generations of technology, including cloud, mobility, and big data.”

So, more CIOs on boards. Good to know. What, then, is the actionable advice for CIOs? Gambale tells Hickins that CIOs should:

  • Sharpen their business skills by asking to rotate for short stints into other departments, such as finance and corporate strategy.
  • Get board experience by serving on nonprofit boards;
  • Develop a strong relationship with the corporate general counsel, who often sits in meetings CIOs can’t attend and who can ‘plant the seeds about risk,’ preparing directors for the messages delivered subsequently by CIOs; and
  • Ask to attend the dinner the evening before board meetings. “We have to get to the point where the CIO is seen as being as important as the CFO.”

Article provided by   © 2013 Mansueto Ventures LLC


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