Why you should make your new CIO’s first 100 days a success

Politicians and business leaders are gauged on their first 100 days in office as a harbinger of their term’s success or failure.

Gartner applies the ‘100 days’ concept to the role of the chief information officer, and explains why the IT leaders around them should help ensure their early days at work should be a success.

Even though CIO turnover is a predictable event for IT organisations, senior IT leaders often overlook the opportunity to help the new CIO be successful in their critical early days, notes Gartner.

The new CIO may already have done some research before accepting the role, according to Gartner analysts Darren Topham and John MacDorman.

But the practical information they most need isn't available until they start working directly with their new organisation, they state in a new report on How to Prepare for the New CIO's Arrival.

“This is the time for you to step in and promote your personal brand as a competent operational IT leader,” they advise.

Senior IT staff should have ready a completed orientation guide to present to their new leader on day one Darren Topham and John MacDorman, Gartner

“The new CIO's success is your success, so you must aim to make the CIO's first 100 days a win-win situation by helping them to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the IT organisation.”

Don't wait until the new CIO has started to begin gathering and collating the operational information they will need, they state.

Senior IT staff should have ready a completed orientation guide to present to their new leader on day one.

The entire IT organisation depends on the new CIO's early success. Waiting for a new CIO to discover the organisation's operating model, commitments or problems is not an optimal strategy.

“It is also a missed opportunity that only puts the CIO and the entire IT organisation at greater risk,” they state.

The entire IT leadership team should proactively prepare for the new CIO's arrival by preparing a thoughtful and accurate briefing for the CIO that describes the operating model, the culture, the people and the business value position.

The IT operating model shows ‘how things get done’ within the IT operating framework. The report cites nine specific elements.

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IT leaders can help the new CIO understand the culture and governance inside the organisation.

It is important to map the key constituencies and relationships that are critical to the CIO's success, and ensure that you clearly identify dissatisfied stakeholders, according to the report authors Topham and MacDorman.

IT leaders do not need to go into too much operational detail but instead, highlight some prevailing attitudes and beliefs held by the department.

An area they can help with is whether staff members are happiest working in a highly directed and controlled environment or in a more self-regulated way.

They can cite examples of recent process or behavioural change such as the adoption of agile or DevOps methods.

“Point out areas of discontent or activity resistance,” they advise.

The IT leadership team should also summarise the current IT commitments and delivery schedule to alert the new CIO to any immediate projects that require their attention or intervention.

If the organisation needs to carry out quality, security or compliance audits on your suppliers, these should also be noted, along with any inspections due to be carried out, in the next 100 days, they conclude.

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