The role of the CIO is evolving from technology expert to business strategist, and IT executives are facing some serious leadership challenges. Ahead of Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2019, Smarter With Gartner reached out to Gartner experts presenting at the conference to ask what leadership challenges IT leaders are facing and how to tackle them.
A changing leadership mindset
Christie Struckman, VP Analyst
The biggest leadership challenge in 2020 is for CIOs to shift their mindset from being a technology executive to a general manager of the business. Recognizing that their executive peers are all general managers, just with different sources of expertise (finance, operations, sales, and for the CIO, technology) levels the mental playing field.
CIOs can then build on the strengths that they hone through IT work — managing complexity and change — to partner strategically with their general manager peers to achieve the digital ambitions of the business. But it starts with CIOs adopting their own learning mindset — unlearning, learning, and relearning, and being willing to let go of biases and beliefs that could hold them back.
See Christie at her IT Symposium/Xpo sessions:
- Step Into the Leadership Gaps in the C-Suite: Behave for the Role You Want (Orlando, São Paulo and Goa)
Dealing with disruption
Helen Huntley, Managing Vice President
Disruptions always occur and often they can be seen coming; however, most CIOs are far too reactionary in their actions against disruption and changing conditions. They must have a proactive strategy that prepares them to deal with disruption before it occurs — and they must identify which role should be responsible for addressing and taking ownership of disruption-related issues. When disruption hits, CIOs have two choices: Play defense and try to resist this force to maintain their existing mindsets and practices or embrace them as opportunities to explore, learn and develop the next practices for success.
See Helen at her IT Symposium/Xpo sessions:
- Six Steps for Dealing With Digital Disruption Intentionally Versus Accidentally (Barcelona and Orlando)
- Ask the Expert: Insourcing — Myth or Reality? (Barcelona)
Frank Buytendijk, Distinguished VP Analyst
CIOs see an expanded responsibility, not only for the digital business, but for how their decisions around the use of technology and data influence the digital society as well. The challenge for CIOs is to develop a vision of how they see their influence on society, and make it an impactful and a positive one.
See Frank at his IT Symposium/Xpo sessions:
- The Future of Data and Analytics: Tales and Trends From the Center to the Edge (Orlando)
- Artificial Intelligence and Ethics: What You Need to Do Today (Orlando and Barcelona)
- Digitopia 2035 – Why the Future Has a Bad Rep and How the “Pragmatic Futurist” Will Save the Day (Orlando and Barcelona)