Transformation by nature is not formulaic\u2014every business is different, and culture plays a huge role in what can be done, and how. But, there are common elements that, according to members of the CIO Executive Council, CIOs ignore at their own peril.\n1. Articulate the motivation \u2013 Change is tough, so there needs to be a damn good reason to care, to commit and to act. The motivation for IT transformation should tie to business success and jibe with stated business goals. But don\u2019t forget the personal motivation. What\u2019s at stake for our IT organization and the people who comprise it? What positive outcomes will transformation make possible? What negative consequences will it avoid?\n\n2. Create a vision \u2013 What will the future-ready IT organization look like? How will it be different from today\u2019s incarnation? How will it function in the context of the rest of the enterprise? How will roles and duties and job satisfaction be different? How will IT\u2019s rank and file employees fit in this vision?\n3. Develop a strategy \u2013 Adapt successful IT strategy development formulas to create a transformation strategy. Leadership, responsibilities, accountability, timing, milestones, phases\u2014all the typical elements apply. IDC research shows that the transformation must be done in three years or less, otherwise it could drag on indefinitely, and ROI will evaporate.\n4. Get CEO backing \u2013 IT transformation not only needs buy-in from the top, but air cover. Another reason to keep the timetable short\u2014Fortune 500 CEOs have a median tenure of 4.9 years. They are less likely to care and go to bat for a transformation effort that will last longer than they will.\n5. Get the CIO on the executive team \u2013 Sorry, but the C-suite (and the board) need to hear about the transformation\u2014plans, progress and setbacks\u2014directly from the CIO. This is too important to be filtered through a CFO or COO.\n6. Enlist stakeholders \u2013 Don\u2019t go it alone; transformation needs allies. Even IT\u2019s biggest critics might be so happy to learn that change is in the offing that they may be eager to help. Look for partners to participate in agile or DevOps pilots, to offer job shadow opportunities for IT leaders who need business immersion, and to provide introductions to end customers. And bring enterprise HR on board\u2014you\u2019re going to need talent resources and support.\n7. Put someone in charge \u2013 This is not a part-time role or another project lead assignment. Dedicate someone who knows the organization, is respected, and has a record of influence. People who need to be liked are not appropriate\u2014there will be ruffled feathers and unpopular decisions.\n8. Cultivate ambassadors \u2013 The CIO and his\/her lieutenants can\u2019t be the only ones beating the transformation drum. Find respected middle-level managers and rising stars who can carry the beat into the rank and file, and incent them to do so.\n9. Focus on the IT masses \u2013 There are change boosters, there are change resisters, and then there are the other 80 percent of the IT department. The latter are the people whose hearts and minds you need to win. Make the transformation matter to them personally (see No. 2: Create a vision, above). The resisters will weed themselves out over time; don\u2019t sweat them.\n10. Build talent \u2013 You and everybody else are lacking the talent needed on a future-ready IT staff. Identify the biggest current and anticipated needs and gaps, then create a campaign to attract talent from the outside and build it from the inside. This needs to be a priority for your company\u2019s HR leader. If your staff is heavy with 30-year veterans, institute a reverse-mentoring program and present them with opportunities to learn new disciplines at company cost.\n11. Create an IT transformation brand \u2013 Give your IT organization transformation a catchy but meaningful name that will work in conversation and look good as a Facebook page. This is your rallying flag.\n12. Measure success, document wins \u2013 It\u2019s a long slog, so measure success in reaching transformation milestones. Create an online IT transformation \u201ctachometer\u201d and update it weekly.\n13. Communicate everything \u2013 Nobody outside IT is paying any attention to your transformation gambit. Same goes for many in IT. Communication is a necessary part of the transformation overhead. You\u2019ve got to communicate intent, progress, leverage your transformation brand, celebrate wins and explain setbacks.\nDon\u2019t even think about doing this in a newsletter. Create a Facebook page and invite followers. Ask for advocacy from your business partners, who can speak to the program wins and share in the glory. Get external recognition through awards programs. Tell your story publically via the media (here is where the CEC\u2019s Global Media Bureau can help). Don\u2019t assume you can\u2019t talk about it till you\u2019re finished\u2014people want to know what you are up to and how you are going about it. This will attract attention and, potentially, talent.\nTransformation and change leadership are not new rodeos for CIOs. Neither is the threat of irrelevance and of being sidelined. But, never have CIOs faced an inflection point like this one, the digital remaking of the entire business landscape. A future-ready IT organization led by a Future-State CIO\u2122 is the only solution that will serve.