Attributes of Top Performing CIOs

Top performing CIOs are both visionary and good executors. They understand how to manage risk around technology experimentation and business innovation.


Jul 11, 2015

Based on reviewing plenty of case studies, and interviewing many CIOs,  Dion Hinchcliffe discusses his opinions as to what makes a top performing CIO. He talks about the ability to work with the business, advance IT capability while managing risk.


​we tend to see visionary CIOs can have a effectiveness if they are good executers. If they do both, they can’t just be visionary, and if you are only an executer you can’t lead the organisation when digital has become how business gets done, and there is so much to do and those that just execute don’t have a grand vision and they can’t communicate it and it won’t get there.

The reason they can’t do it is because industries are so different, some industries are so different. Right, what would go great with the high-technology CIO might not be the same set of skills right, so that you would want in a traditional company CIO. Although I still think most CIOs tend to be risk adverse, and the great CIOs find ways to manage the risk. And this is one of the big lessons in IT is that it fails so often, and they look to the start-up community where they assume that nine out of 10 of their projects that are start-ups will fail. Right, and you really have to try 100 times to really find a hit that will lead in industry.

And so we look at what makes a great CIO is a way to be able to fail fast and the willingness to fail creating a safe environment that happened yet protecting the business. So it’s this concept of core IT and edge IT, and great CIOs will find ways to enable experimentation and innovation around the edge, keep their core business leaders happy and you know thinking of new ways to organize.

We also see – I look at a lot of CIO case studies every year and talk to a lot of projects and try and look at what really works, and we’re finding that those CIOs that open their doors to their customers, and let them in and find out what they really want, then give it to them as soon as possible, highly responsive CIOs tend to be pushing projects that are succeeding the companies that are moving forward in IT other ones that are highly customer centric.

Published Date: Jul 11, 2015

Author: Michael Krigsman

Episode ID: 204