Last week I read an interesting article at Connect2Speed regarding basic but great CIO habits that make them more efficient. I found interesting to reproduce here three of them that are usually really important, but sometimes we don’t pay attention to…

Be strategic, not tactical.

CIO’s are expected to be strategic and contribute to the development of the overall business strategy. The IT strategy is not an undertaking that can be turned around in a few weeks but rather is developed over the course of the previous 12 months. CIO’s and their leadership team must be engaged with the business throughout the year and jointly developing key IT objectives for the next year. Too often, IT is tactical and forever reacting to business requirements as opposed to proactively planning.

Thinking strategically can be broken down into two components. The first component is to identify those critical projects IT is going to do that will support current business objectives, that are innovative, and that have positive impact on the bottom line. It is not an account of all the projects IT will undertake, just the critical few.

The second component is to identify what changes, if any, are to be made in IT that will support the first component. These include improved governance, skills development, hiring key roles, organizational change, outsourcing, insourcing, etc.

Be concise when writing the strategic plan. Nobody will read a book, but will appreciate a compact, 2 page document with a 10 slide PowerPoint presentation.

Develop key business relationships.

A leader is lost without the ability to influence. The ability to influence does not come with the title, but rather comes after business relationships have been built. Relationship building is a never-ending activity. The CIO’s level of success in relationship building is based on factors such as integrity, ability to deliver, and commitment to operational excellence and to the overall success of the business.

Communicate to key business stakeholders regularly using business-speak.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. Minimize the use of acronyms. Use many communication methods. For the CIO, opportunities for communication can take place in every meeting of every day. Preparation is key. A consistent message is vital! A good practice, if you can afford it, is to have a communication specialist on your staff. Effective communication is undoubtedly the key to great leadership!

All in all, maturity and expectations of the CIO role have evolved. Today’s CEO’s and CFO’s have a heightened understanding of both the CIO’s role and IT’s challenges. Following these habits will make you the most sought after CIO.