Gartner Research

Step Into the Leadership Gaps in the C-Suite: Behave for the Role You Want

Published: 19 February 2019

ID: G00368488

Analyst(s): Graham Waller , Jenny Beresford, Christie Struckman


Digital transformation is creating leadership gaps in the C-suite. Leading CIOs are stepping up to business leadership beyond I&T and moving beyond the functional CIO role by cultivating their entrepreneurial bent, acting as business leaders first and technologists second, and building credibility.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Question
  • Opportunities and Challenges
  • How This Report Will Help


  • Acknowledgments

Executive Summary

  • Section One: External to Your Business
  • Section Two: Internal to Your Business
  • Section Three: Yourself
  • The Good News: The Door Is Open for CIOs to Take Other C-Suite Roles
    • Build New Digital Business
    • Invent New Digital Product
    • Optimize Existing Business

External to Your Business

  • Do: Generate New Revenue Like an Entrepreneur
    • Act Like a Product Owner
    • Invent Like an Entrepreneur
  • Learn: Cultivate Digital-Era Customer Value
    • Be Curious
    • Engage With Peers
  • Practice: Find a New Digital Revenue Source
    • Use Profitability as Your Lens
    • Find Partners and Investors
  • Don’t: Be Risk Averse
    • Say “Yes, and...”
    • Push Your Limits

Internal to Your Business

  • Do: Run a P&L Like Investors Are Watching
    • Monetize IT
    • Be a T-Shaped CIO
  • Learn: Speak Business Analytics
    • Use the Permission Space You Already Own
    • Capitalize on Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As)
  • Practice: Lead I&T Like a General Manager/COO
    • Become an Experienced General Manager
    • Manage the Whole Spectrum of the Organization
  • Don’t: Be an Island
    • Identify a Champion
    • Partner With CFOs to Manage Costs and Drive New Revenue


  • Do: Pivot Your Personal Brand to Business
    • Accept New Challenges
    • Find Ways to Challenge Your Thinking
    • Become Proficient at Explaining in Business Terms
  • Learn: How to Know Yourself Differently
    • Unlearn and Relearn
    • Use Mentors Unabashedly
    • Look for Differences
  • Practice: Manage Complexity and Lead Change
    • Celebrate the Complexity of Change
    • Lead Change Within Your Own Organization, and Beyond
  • Don’t: Undervalue Yourself
    • Behave the Way You Want Your Peers to Treat You
    • Value the I&T Role Enough to Set It Up for Success When You Leave
  • Conclusion

Appendix: Tolerance of Ambiguity Scale

Appendix: Interviewees’ Career Paths: Selected Highlights From Functional CIO to Business Leader

Further Reading

  • Related Content
  • Gartner Executive Programs Reports
  • Core Research
  • Books
  • Articles

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