Gartner Research

From Partner to Trusted Ally — How to Stay Relevant as a CIO

Published: 23 May 2017

ID: G00326565

Analyst(s): Alvaro Mello, Lee Weldon


Half of CIOs state that they are considered partner CIOs by their business counterparts. In the digital business era, CIOs will need to become trusted allies, responsible for enterprisewide strategic decisions. We explore how to make this necessary change.

Table Of Contents


  • What Does It Mean to Be an Effective C-Level Leader?
    • Wear Two Hats — Functional and Corporate
    • Bring a Unique Perspective
    • See the Big Picture
    • Develop Strong Peer Relationships
    • Act as Enablers, Not as Barriers
    • Provide a Public Face for the Enterprise
    • Hold Strong Opinions Weakly
    • Act as Entrepreneurs
    • Speak With a Common C-Suite Voice
    • Lead Change in the Face of Uncertainty
  • What Does It Mean to Be a Trusted Ally CIO on the Executive Team?
    • They Combine a Business and IT Background
    • They Are Seasoned Executives, but Relatively New in Their Current Organization
    • They Don't Necessarily Report Directly to the CEO
    • They Constantly Look for New Challenges
    • They Consider Culture a Higher Priority
    • They Prioritize Customer-Facing Business Issues Over Transactional Ones
    • They Work More With Startups and Small and Midsize Businesses
    • They Build Their Credibility Through Measurable Results
  • How Can You Become a Trusted Ally CIO?
    • Craft and Communicate Your Unique Personal Message
    • Measure and Communicate Your Business Impact as a C-Level Leader
    • Invest Time and Attention to Build Relationships With C-Level Peers
    • Find Talent Everywhere
    • Take On Other Relevant Leadership Roles
    • Increase Your Self-Awareness and Adapt Your Cognitive Style to Others
  • Take Action Now

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