You are working in the IT department of a company at a senior position. Your boss tells you that you are being promoted to an IT leadership role. How does that feel? Obviously, it feels great but it also brings tons of different challenges and responsibilities with it.
Most new IT leaders don’t have an idea about the number and types of hurdles they are about to encounter in this journey. You are not only supposed to protect your digital assets and lead digital transformation initiatives but also expected to deal with issues such as widening talent gap, retaining existing employees, safeguarding your team for employee burnout and work related stress by smartly balancing the workloads.
Throw in negotiations with vendors and other stakeholders, reporting to board members and discussions with business unit heads and you have already bitten off more than you can chew. Thankfully, there are ways to get over these problems and you can still succeed as an IT leader who is just starting out.
You might be wondering how? By learning from the IT leaders who have gone through this phase. This way, you can learn from their experiences without making the same mistakes. In this article, you will learn about seven laws from the CIO playbook that every CIO must follow in order to thrive.
7 Laws Every New IT Leader Must Follow
Here are seven rules straight from the CIO playbook that will help you succeed from day one as an IT leader.
Listen More, Talk Less
When you are just starting out, it is better to listen more and talk less. This allows you to learn things you didn’t know about. Once you get to know how things work, you can easily adjust into your new leadership role. Benefit from the knowledge and experiences of experienced employees as they will teach you things that no book or course can. All this will help you to anticipate problems and know how to fix them. The better you understand the environment and culture around you, the more likely you are to create a winning IT strategy.
Master The Business Side of Equation
You might be technically sound but might lag behind when it comes to business acumen. Most new IT leaders face this dilemma. When you become the CIO, you need to broaden your horizon and look at how technology can help your organization fulfill their business goals.
Instead of telling the board members you need a ERP system or a CRM solution or a specialized technology such as VPS Singapore, you must tell them how you improve your efficiency by using those tools. Adapt your solutions to fulfill specific business use cases in order to help businesses achieve their objectives.
Know Your Target Audience
Delivering a presentation or report in front of board members could be a big challenge especially for new CIOs but they can overcome any hiccups if they spend time understanding their target audience. The board could comprise individuals that belong to different departments so you need to convey your message in easy to understand language.
Remove technical jargons from your presentations and make it easy to understand for laymen. Your reports and presentations should contain language that can easily be understood by a non-technical audience. Avoid using acronyms and complex concepts or define them clearly. Board members are usually concerned about optimal resource utilization and business outcomes. You need to convince them that you can use the allocated resources to fulfill the business objectives.
Convey The Obstacles You Are Facing
Most IT leaders try to take on every challenge that comes their way head on. Instead, they should convey the issues they are facing so that everyone is aware of those issues, whether it is talent shortfall, retaining the best talent, driving digital transformation forward, getting buy-in for buying dedicated server hosting or preventing employee burnout. By communicating the problems to C-suite executives and board members so they can shift their expectations and set realistic goals. There is nothing wrong in setting ambitious goals but in turbulent times, you should adjust your targets.
Put Customer First
Aligning your thinking and mindset with the business leaders is not easier said than done. You need to agree on common terms. One thing you both can agree on are customers. By putting customers first, you can unite all the stakeholders and bring them on the same page. This allows your business to make decisions with consensus and move forward together. As a result, you will not only be able to deliver a better customer experience just like with cheap dedicated hosting at every touch point but also delight your customers with the right products and services they want.
The transition from being a team player to becoming a leader can be challenging. You will first have to build trust as it is pivotal for your success as an IT leader. Once you have done that, now you should target low hanging fruits. Achieving a few quick wins early on will give you a confidence boost and increase employee trust on your policies.
It can also be a great opportunity as you now have the power to fix issues that disturbed you when you were a team member. Involve team members in the decision making by taking their feedback but make decisions on your own even if it is small decisions such as buying cheap dedicated server hosting.
There are instances when you are promoted to the IT leadership role instead of someone else. This could lead to jealousy. Instead of adding fuel to the fire, you should eliminate all the negative emotions and sentiments and work together to achieve a common objective.
Try to win the trust of their person and they could help you realize your vision. Focus on building healthy relationships throughout the organization and try to remove barriers along the way. Prevent toxic culture from gaining roots as it can wreak havoc on your leadership success chances and your ability to achieve organizational goals.
Which laws helped you survive and thrive during the early part of your tenure as a CIO? Let us know in the comments section below.