The conclusions presented in this book are the result of empirical research, qualitative data, in-depth interviews, observation and experience.

Each source was analyzed for patterns and subsequently validated against each of the other sources to guarantee the rigor and depth of the conclusions.

The foundational research on executive leadership came from a combination of empirical data from Korn/Ferry International’s proprietary StyleView assessment methodology and normative data from KFI’s Lominger research.

StyleView benchmarks executives’ thinking and leading styles and their emotional demeanor against a pattern of best-in-class executives. (The best-in-class patterns were determined by analyzing an initial set of 120,000 executives for the behavioral qualities that lead to success.) Lominger’s library of competencies is empirically mapped to the StyleView framework, enabling the translation of a best-in-class profile to a rank-ordering of competencies critical for success.

The authors also analyzed the deep, CIO-specific research conducted by Gartner and its Executive Programs business—including an annual CIO survey (the 2010 CIO agenda report was based on the participation of 1,600 CIOs responsible for more than $120 billion in corporate and public sector IT spending) and case-based discrete research projects focused on key themes identified via the annual survey and of most interest to CIOs. This research is supplemented by ongoing observation (thousands of client inquiries and interviews annually) and the knowledge of the company’s highly experienced analysts.

After establishing a data-based profile for CIO success, the authors sought to interpret the data in the context of acting CIOs through in-depth interviews, asking the CIOs about themselves, their leadership style, how they saw their priorities, how they got work done and where they spent their time.

Some of the high-performing CIOs were identified by results from KFI’s leadership assessment tool, others through recommendations from the authors’ global networks or on the basis of personal knowledge. The authors cross-checked the CIOs’ answers with the best available research from outside sources and through speaking with peers and subordinates.

Interview transcripts were content-analyzed for patterns. Having identified a core set of themes and initial conclusions, the authors followed a parallel process of secondary interviews and "road-tested" their conclusions. They presented initial findings to CIOs in 10 cities, representing an additional 150+ companies of various industries, sizes and ages. Discussion and feedback consistently supported the authors’ initial conclusions, which form the foundation of this book—a powerful view of what the most effective CIOs do differently than the majority of CIOs.

Through research and case studies, the authors demonstrate the power of driving results by putting people first.
Robert B. Carter
Executive Vice President and CIO, FedEx