Every leader has to wear several hats. In order to effectively lead the process of change, a person must effectively play numerous roles at various junctures in the transformation process.
First and foremost, a CIO is a business executive. Anyone who has a “C” in the title is expected to function at an executive level and have the broad perspective of the entire organization when making decisions. Functional knowledge and experience is table stakes, not differentiators. Of course the chief marketing officer is an expert at marketing the products and services of the organization and understands how the company fits into the competitive landscape within which it plays. The CFO is expected to be able to master cash flow and determine how best to invest the organization's financial assets for both short-term liquidity and long-term growth. The CIO is expected to be able to leverage technical solutions and information assets to help drive the agenda for the organization. The real value added is when these business leaders can roll up their sleeves and pool both their collective business acumen as well as their specialized functional expertise to help strategize and drive value for the organization. First and foremost, if you want a seat at the table (an expression I can't stand), you have to know what to do once you get there!
A couple of years ago, I heard a presentation at a major technology conference at which I was speaking. The presenter ...