6 New Year’s Resolutions for CIOs to Adopt in 2018

How CIOs can develop themselves and their teams to continually evolve the CIO role and drive digital business transformation.

The new year has arrived and, as is expected, so have the promises of new beginnings and habits — study harder, eat healthier, laugh more, spend additional time with loved ones. Whether they succeed or fail, these personal pledges are made time and time again by people of all ages and cultures. There is no universal agreement as to why, except that it’s tradition.

Gartner has a tradition of its own. For the past 15 years, it has provided New Year’s resolutions for CIOs. They are actionable ideas that extend beyond the CIO agenda and can be used to nurture and improve the performance of both leaders and their teams.

These suggestions are intended to help CIOs become fitter for the digital business leadership role

“In our personal lives, we resolve to take self-improving actions such as learning a language or giving up junk food,” says Mark Raskino, vice president and fellow at Gartner. “By analogy, these suggestions are intended to help CIOs become fitter for the digital business leadership role they are increasingly being asked to play.”

This year’s resolutions fall into three categories: Scale, leadership and personal development. Raskino recommends CIOs commit to three to five resolutions and choose them with the help of a close peer, mentor or trusted advisor.

Scale resolutions

Designed to help CIOs scale the digital transformation of their organization up and across the enterprise.

I will prepare to deal with enterprise digital fatigue. There is no longer a need to evangelize digital business. Executive leadership understands the power and urgency of digital, but grapples with the enormity of the changes ahead. This allows digital fatigue to set in. Concentrate on achieving digital business success and pare down messaging to a concrete goal with a business and operating model focus.

I will make business-resilience war games a habit in our enterprise. Losses or outages to enterprise systems and communications are eventualities for which all CIOs must prepare their business executive teams. CIOs who have experienced such events strongly advise their peers to practice for them with war games and other disaster-incident rehearsal exercises. Protection is not the main issue. What’s important is crisis management.

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Leadership resolutions

Intended to develop the leadership capabilities of CIOs, their team and their peers.

I will ensure that the executive committee directly experiences a new technology every quarter. Experiencing new technologies is vastly different and more impactful than hearing about them. Provide firsthand experiences that are exploratory, emotionally engaging and increase the tech-savviness of committee members. The goal should be to provoke interest and spark conversation about the possibilities — from exoskeletons and digital pills to electric paint and Internet of Things office furniture.

I will introduce a new culture behavior across IT, as well as a way to measure it. It’s hard to change something as big and amorphous as culture. Focus on one or two specific behaviors, which can improve the organizational culture more quickly and deeply than that of a large-scale change initiative. For example, to create an innovative culture within their IT organizations, CIOs can model experimentation and risk-taking behaviors.

Personal development resolutions

Created to increase CIO knowledge, skills and digital dexterity.

I will take deeper learning courses in selected technologies. CIOs are digital stewards responsible for introducing new technologies to their organization. This requires a basic understanding and knowledge of new technologies. Set aside time for dedicated learning each month. Don’t shy away from difficult topics. Instead, seek out the complex, such as blockchain, quantum computing and neural networks.

I will maintain my brain and general fitness for business. Burnout is a real possibility for many CIOs. They are under mounting pressure to deliver results quickly and drive change while managing significant risks — making physical and mental fitness an imperative. Protect yourself by doing what countless others have resolved to do this year: Get enough sleep, eat right, exercise frequently and practice mindfulness.


Gartner clients can read the full list of resolutions in CIO New Year’s Resolutions, 2018 by Mark Raskino et al.

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