CIOs who focus on business strategy are surprisingly similar to CEOs. Although most CIOs profess no interest in running a company, thinking more like the CEO can only strengthen the CEO-CIO partnership and sharpen the strategic impact of the role.\n \u201cThe difference between CEOs and CIOs is markets, products and sales channels,\u201d concludes Michael Capellas, who recently became CEO of Acadia, a joint venture of Cisco and EMC to provide private cloud solutions. The CEO looks at those three areas from the customer\u2019s perspective, focusing on sales. CIOs typically focus internally, on following a product through the supply chain and recording expenses. CIOs should develop more of an outside-in point of view, says Capellas, who in the late 1990s was promoted from CIO to CEO of Compaq.\n \n When you compare the performance of CIOs and CEOs as leaders, they\u2019re remarkably close, says Chris Patrick, global CIO practice leader with executive recruiter Egon Zehnder International. Egon Zehnder has compared thousands of individual executive performance assessments. The only major gaps between CIO and CEO performance appear in externally-focused skills such as knowing a company\u2019s market, understanding customers and identifying new revenue opportunities.\n \n Those gaps are significant, however, and it can be challenging for IT leaders to close them. \u201cWhen you\u2019re so busy in your everyday role, there\u2019s little time to hone some of these skills or take on that knowledge\u201d says Rodger Riney, founder and CEO of Scottrade. Yet IT leaders who excel at such outward-facing skills can even make the leap to CEO. \u201cIf CIOs have the desire and ambition to do it, and are given the luxury of time to broaden themselves, it\u2019s just a very short step up, quite frankly,\u201d adds Riney.\n \n CIOs with no ambition to be top dog would still do well to put themselves in a CEO state of mind, advises Capellas, \u201cLearn your CEO\u2019s agenda and make it your agenda. Wear it on your forehead, reference it in your discussions with staff.\u201d When the CIO\u2019s agenda is fully in synch with the CEO\u2019s, the CIO becomes the true partner of the CEO in moving the business forward.