Do you have the Executive nous? – Part I

Influencing the growing number and diversity of ICT stakeholders has been the most demanding leadership challenge for CIOs in 2015. Over the past decade, the role of the CIO has been changing, and it is increasingly becoming a more essential part of the C-suite.

Much of the changing CIO role has been driven by new problems that the business faces such as high visibility data breaches and regulatory demands for tightening data security. However, there is also growing recognition of how vital data insights and analytics are for the financial and non-financial functions of the enterprise.

In the 2015 Deloitte Global CIO Survey, when asked which reporting relationship would most enhance their effectiveness, 47% of CIOs believed they would be more effective in a different reporting relationship to what they currently have. Of the CIOs in the survey, 55% thought that they would be more effective reporting into the CEO. The study further found that CIOs that reported into the CEO were very satisfied (89%), but only 18% of the CIOs that reported into the CFO thought that they were most effective in that reporting relationship.

The survey also asked 1,270 global CIOs to select the top five competencies for a successful technology leader; then those same CIOs were asked to identify their own top five strengths. The gaps between these responses highlight critical areas where CIOs need to improve to make a lasting impact (see Figure 1).


Out of 12 leadership capabilities, CIOs overwhelmingly picked six as the most important for success in their role: 1) influence with internal stakeholders, 2) communication skills, 3) understanding strategic business priorities, 4) talent management, 5) technology vision and leadership, and 6) the ability to lead complex, fast-changing environments.

Of the CIOs in the study, 91% acknowledged lacking at least one key skill.  The three skills with the largest gaps were:

  • The ability to influence the business’ internal stakeholders;
  • Talent management in their ICT area;
  • Technology vision, maturity and architectural sophistication.

Some CIOs lack the necessary skills for influencing their internal stakeholders

The top skill deemed to be the most important was the ability to influence internal stakeholders (79%). This was also the skill with the greatest gap with only 55% of the CIOs saying that this skill was a key strength they possess.

Getting the right reporting relationship is critical when you have the right CIO in place, who can influence the vision and strategy

The skill of influencing internal stakeholders is important with the increasing trend for the CIO to be reporting to either a C-level executive or to the Board. In the 2014 Global CIO Study this was the case for 76% of the surveyed CIOs and this increased to 80% in 2015. As for CIOs reporting to the Board, this was 8% in 2014 but in 2015 increased to 14%.

In Part II of this series, we will conclude on the changing role of the CIO and the key capabilities that CIOs of today need to master.

Did you miss any of our previous Source Point Blog posts? Read them here.

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