Stretch assignments help future IT leaders shine

CIOs tap trusted lieutenants for anything from strategy to applications and infrastructure leadership, ostensibly bolstering the organization’s leadership bench.

The most successful tech chiefs hand off many critical tasks to trusted lieutenants, in part to groom potential leaders to help future-proof the company. Choice Hotel CTO Brian Kirkland is a master of such delegation, assigning leaders with high potential tasks that extend beyond their regular job duties.

Thanks to these stretch assignments, which help leaders bolster their strengths and shore up weaknesses, Kirkland has built an IT function that is capable of operating without him.

"I try to obsolete myself as much as possible," Kirkland tells "The key is to identify [his staff's] aptitude and interest. What's their oxygen? What do they enjoy doing and what do they hope to get out of their career?"

CIOs have long tackled stretch assignments with an eye toward helping themselves level up in the business, as reported. And while it behooves up-and-coming IT leaders to push their managers for such assignments, many CIOs like to stress-test potential successors or those who may assume leadership roles in adjacent areas of the business.

Developing tomorrow’s CIOs

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