How can IT leaders build a career ladder to the C-suite?

IT leaders should not necessarily be talking about just the tech. Maybe that's the trigger, but I think it's really the one-two punch of being able to show how something that they are passionate about contributes to the company's IT strengths or the company's IT weaknesses. It's picking something that they love—and there's a breadth of things that you can love in technology—and running with it; or, even more powerfully, picking the thing that the company is the poorest at, whether it's risk management, cybersecurity, data analysis, or understanding your customer's needs, or whatever. Whatever that is, pick your passion project, and then start talking about it. Knock on doors, meet with your leader, meet with other leaders. Talk with your peers too. And it better not be just folks in IT. One of my favorite books that I actually read pretty often is called The New CIO Leader. It was written in 2004. Email was still kind of novel back then. That's what everybody used for their digital communication. Technology is completely different than it was then, but the concepts are still very sound. The core of that book is this: as a CIO, you've got to be able to translate that technology to your stakeholders: the board, your actual shareholders, the CEO, the president, and your customers. As the technology leader, you're going to propel your career into whatever you're passionate about by getting closer to those core stakeholders and shareholders.

Anonymous Author
IT leaders should not necessarily be talking about just the tech. Maybe that's the trigger, but I think it's really the one-two punch of being able to show how something that they are passionate about contributes to the company's IT strengths or the company's IT weaknesses. It's picking something that they love—and there's a breadth of things that you can love in technology—and running with it; or, even more powerfully, picking the thing that the company is the poorest at, whether it's risk management, cybersecurity, data analysis, or understanding your customer's needs, or whatever. Whatever that is, pick your passion project, and then start talking about it. Knock on doors, meet with your leader, meet with other leaders. Talk with your peers too. And it better not be just folks in IT. One of my favorite books that I actually read pretty often is called The New CIO Leader. It was written in 2004. Email was still kind of novel back then. That's what everybody used for their digital communication. Technology is completely different than it was then, but the concepts are still very sound. The core of that book is this: as a CIO, you've got to be able to translate that technology to your stakeholders: the board, your actual shareholders, the CEO, the president, and your customers. As the technology leader, you're going to propel your career into whatever you're passionate about by getting closer to those core stakeholders and shareholders.
2 upvotes