Top CIOs all share these 10 traits

While successful CIOs bring unique characteristics, they also share 10 attributes that make them technology, business and industry leaders. (Includes infographic.)

leadership circle
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In their book, "Confessions of a Successful CIO: How the Best CIOs Tackle Their Toughest Business Challenges" authors Dan Roberts and Brian Watson offer nine vignettes of CIOs who have uniquely shown the skills and characteristics of natural leaders. For example, Filippo Passerini of Proctor & Gamble is "The Anticipator," Steve Bandrowczak of HP is "The Fixer" and Carol Zierhoffer of ITT is "The Pilot."

While the book highlights how Passerini, Bandrowczak, Zierhoffer as well as Rebecca Rhoads (Raytheon Company), Lynden Tennison (Union Pacific), Wayne Shurts (Sysco), Don Imholz (Centene), Sheleen Quish (Sheleen Quish Consulting and formerly of US Can) and Greg Schwartz (USAA) answered the call (in some cases literally) to advance their careers in unique fashions, Roberts and Watson say that there are 10 common traits that tie together these successful CIOs.

The nine CIOs Roberts and Watson highlight take risks and are not afraid to pitch big ideas because they know they can speak the language and justify the investment. They have the confidence to step up and answer the call when needed to save their companies.

Successful CIOs, the authors say, value people and understand the value their people bring to their organization and don't treat them like interchangeable parts. Despite their human side, these IT and business leaders understand that the need to make tough decisions and realize that they can make the difference in their company's health. These CIOs are are results-oriented and are focused on measurably improving the business versus pie-in-the-sky R&D.

Successful CIOs, Roberts and Watson say, are innovators who do more than build teams to drive technology. They create changes that move the business forward. They are also transformational leaders who have not only vision but also the motivation to inspire their teams to achieve that vision.

They not only have a vision they have the ability to motivate their teams around that vision. They are also self-aware and base actions and decisions on past successes, failures and challenges. Top CIOs don't stress over the day-to-day but rather excel anticipating the future and identifying risks and opportunities and strategize themselves ahead of the curve.

Finally, successful CIOs know how to network. They have cultivated extensive professional networks and know how to tap those networks to share their experiences.

Roberts and Watson highlight these Top 10 Attributes of CIOs and share a few other tidbits in the infographic below:

confessions infographic 120

(Click for larger image.)

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