by Gary Beach

The Future Leadership Strategy of the CIO

Jun 26, 20072 mins
IT LeadershipIT Strategy

To be a business strategist, you have to act like one.

“When it comes to the future,” says John M. Richardson Jr. of American University, “there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”

I was thinking of Richardson as I listened to H&R Block CIO Marc West and Chevron Global Downstream CIO Louie Ehrlich introduce the CIO Executive Council’s Future-State CIO program at the recent CIO Leadership Conference.


What It Takes for a CIO to Be a CEO

CIO Executive Council  

The Future-State CIO program is focused on making the future happen by advancing the CIO profession and helping it to play a larger role in driving, not just enabling, business strategy. At the core of this new program is the Future-State CIO model, created in partnership by the CIO Executive Council and Egon Zehnder International, a global management talent assessment firm. The Future-State CIO model, which you’ll find in “What It Takes for a CIO to Be a CEO,” breaks the CIO role into three general aspects: the Function Head, focusing on operational excellence; the Transformational Leader, concentrating on business process transformation and IT-business alignment; and the Business Strategist, driving enterprise strategy and innovation. CIOs need to devote some of their time to each, but the program’s goal is to help CIOs spend the bulk of their time as strategists.

The Future-State CIO model plots two assessment scores: the overall leadership competency performance of a CIO (the Executive Quotient) and the organization’s readiness to accept an expanded CIO role. What this can reveal is the existence of any gap that divides the CIO’s capabilities and potential from the organization’s expectations for his strategic contributions. The goal is to eliminate the gap by changing those expectations.

It can be done. As Abraham Lincoln said, “The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.” To learn more about how you can change your organization’s vision of you and about the Future-State CIO program, e-mail Dexter Siglin at

You can also join CIO Executive Council members Ehrlich and West for a live Future-State CIO presentation on July 19. Register for this Web conference at

Gary Beach, Publisher