What are the top challenges CIOs face in developing trust with the business? Is it that they don't speak the language of the business, but in technical terms? Is it political savviness and stakeholder management?

Top Answer : Both.  CIOs, particularly newer ones, have a comfort in the technology, so they're comfortable setting vision and goals around tech vision and goals, but very few organizations have a goal of, great email uptime, or making the CRM the best CRM ever. So, a CIO with these goals isn’t really delivering the actual value the business wants. One of the things I do when I go into an organization is ground myself on those actual mission goals. And then, I reflect on the goals of the CIO organization, which is usually a whole bunch of technical stuff like, "We want to deliver this software, we want to upgrade this network, we want to secure this." I push those goals to the side, because the goals for the organization are different. For example, at Baltimore Police, the goal was to reduce homicides. That's not a very technical thing, but if the tech doesn't do that, then what is it there for? You have to align around those mission areas. To do that, you need to engage the business. I actually like getting on sales calls. I like walking not just my hallway, but walking the hallway of the business. How is it making these deals? As a CIO, you're not just the leader of IT, you're a leader in the overall business. You’re not going to be effective if you don't understand how conversion works, how the company makes money, or how it delivers their mission. This doesn't mean you need to be the best salesperson, nor do you need to have in-depth expertise in marketing, recruiting, etc.  But you need to understand how those things work, and understand how those people are successful. In my experience I wanted it to be really easy for me to say, "This person succeeds and gets a promotion because of these characteristics. This is how they succeed." By knowing that I can say to them, "I can help you with what you need." And then as an effect, I get more trust to do what I want to do, or what I need to do to make them successful. That's it. That's how you pivot from being that CIO, a technical down-facing leader to, "I'm a business leader, and my portfolio happens to be the technology stack."

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Both.  CIOs, particularly newer ones, have a comfort in the technology, so they're comfortable setting vision and goals around tech vision and goals, but very few organizations have a goal of, great email uptime, or making the CRM the best CRM ever. So, a CIO with these goals isn’t really delivering the actual value the business wants. One of the things I do when I go into an organization is ground myself on those actual mission goals. And then, I reflect on the goals of the CIO organization, which is usually a whole bunch of technical stuff like, "We want to deliver this software, we want to upgrade this network, we want to secure this." I push those goals to the side, because the goals for the organization are different. For example, at Baltimore Police, the goal was to reduce homicides. That's not a very technical thing, but if the tech doesn't do that, then what is it there for? You have to align around those mission areas. To do that, you need to engage the business. I actually like getting on sales calls. I like walking not just my hallway, but walking the hallway of the business. How is it making these deals? As a CIO, you're not just the leader of IT, you're a leader in the overall business. You’re not going to be effective if you don't understand how conversion works, how the company makes money, or how it delivers their mission. This doesn't mean you need to be the best salesperson, nor do you need to have in-depth expertise in marketing, recruiting, etc.  But you need to understand how those things work, and understand how those people are successful. In my experience I wanted it to be really easy for me to say, "This person succeeds and gets a promotion because of these characteristics. This is how they succeed." By knowing that I can say to them, "I can help you with what you need." And then as an effect, I get more trust to do what I want to do, or what I need to do to make them successful. That's it. That's how you pivot from being that CIO, a technical down-facing leader to, "I'm a business leader, and my portfolio happens to be the technology stack."
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