By Mark Raskino
A new year often brings a sense of clarity as we look back on the accomplishments, challenges, and lessons learned from preceding year. We all strive for improvement, and the start of a new year is an opportunity to set intentions to reach new personal and professional heights.
As the role of the CIO continues to evolve and gain executive influence, those in this position must strive to sharpen their leadership skills, extend and augment the organization’s tech talent, and help the enterprise persevere amidst crisis. Navigating 2022 will be like driving through a rainstorm, straining to see what’s just ahead through the windshield – and the CIO’s personal drive and leadership skills must be sharp.
To achieve success as a business and technology executive in 2022, here are 7 resolutions that CIOs should consider, with the idea of committing to the two to four goals that best resonate with their personal ambitions.
1. Prioritize like a hostage negotiator
In the face of competing and constantly evolving demands, CIOs need to be able to quickly form a solid position and move quickly when decisions arise. This resolution urges CIOs to develop a core vision around their top business and technology priorities and target it like a hostage negotiator. Hostage negotiators use a range of techniques such as active listening and creating rapport that CIOs can employ when discussing 2022 priorities and decisions with C-suite peers.
2. Seize the opportunity to re-platform your career
Since enabling the rapid shift to remote work at the start of the pandemic, CIOs have gained rightful kudos and overdue credibility. In 2022, there’s even more room to take these wins and build upon the momentum collected in 2020 and 2021. Businesses are embracing a more resilient, ecosystem-centric style of growth and CIOs are at the centre of that digital ecosystem.
Resolve to develop digital platform provisioning expertise, which will be critical in this new business environment. Stop thinking about IT as a service provider — instead, consider how IT can create and connect ecosystems to drive innovation and help the enterprise enter new digital markets.
3. Tool up to balance weak points and blind spots
To stay apprised of the latest tech innovations, CIOs must continually practice using tech on themselves. In 2022, resolve to use digital personal-productivity technology – such as a timekeeping app, a writing aid or a wellness tracker – to promote a growth mindset. Ask mentors, colleagues and family to identify the personal productivity traits to fix, improve or offload. Acquire two or three new apps or gadgets that hit your specific imperfections, and discipline yourself to use them every day for at least two weeks to make them habitual.
4. Seduce job candidates to “swipe right”
In 2022, the war for talent is on every CIO’s mind. Like it or not, your enterprise is in a “dating game” and it’s the CIO’s job to get IT talent to “swipe right.” Recent Gartner survey data found that 69 per cent of digital workers said they were more likely to consider a new role that allows them to work from a location of their choice. Resolve to offer a proposition that talented candidates can’t resist, which focuses on flexibility in where, when and how people work.
5. Drive the inclusion of diverse new talent
While many organizations focus on attracting and hiring diverse talent, they often overlook the role of inclusion for these new employees. CIOs driving a diverse and inclusive talent strategy can take a new approach using small actionable habits. For example, consider using brief, anonymous surveys to ask newcomers a question or two about inclusivity. Let high potential talent tell you what stunts their growth, and build an environment for them to thrive.
6. Become a CIO activist for a better world
The combined pandemic, economic, social equity and climate crises have shifted how society thinks. Gartner surveys say that businesses are facing increased pressure and accountability for environmental, social and governance (ESG) change; it has become an important brand visibility issue.
CIOs have the capacity and a duty to help drive socially responsible business behaviors. In 2022, it’s time for CIOs to get off the sidelines: Pick a societal progress subject that matters to you personally and form habits around engaging in your chosen area of activism, whether that’s education, policy development, community service, or the like.
7. Restore your longer-term leadership game
For two years, emergency demands have been breaking hard-won IT governance principles. That could cause IT to regress to a vicious cycle of ugly workarounds that corrupt good design and integration principles and degrade systems.
Now is the time for CIOs to restore longer-term leadership to escape the vicious cycle. Resolve to practice the art of saying “no” to regain control. Update your long-term, tech-enabled industry vision to shift business thinking back to the strategic horizon. Focus on building composability, which creates a strong foundation for rapid innovation and adaptation.
Mark Raskino is a Distinguished Research Vice President at Gartner, Inc. and a Gartner Fellow. Mark works primarily with CIOs and their business executive colleagues, researching business and technology trends and their implications for business strategy, innovation, models, leadership and executive relationships.