Berwick Partners were recently pleased to host a cross section of the brightest IT leaders from across the North. The evening centred upon a timely theme; Delivering Optimum Business Value, a topic close to the hearts and minds of all.
As ever these evenings are about making, and refreshing contacts. They are very much at the heart of what we do; good people know good people. At the centre of the evening was a Chatham House rule discussion around our title theme – it proved to be an area of significant agreement and purpose. As the economy has gradually shifted from recession into a steadier state, the CIO mission is moving away from cost reduction. With fat trimmed, and dead wood cut away the focus is now upon supporting growth, investment and of course delivering value!
The evening provided a multitude of perspectives, and these are what we feel to be the ‘top 5’:
1. There are no prizes for making IT work. It is an absolute given and the minimum requirement to merit a seat at the table. The age of the hero constantly averting disaster after disaster is gone.
2. Engagement is critical, be a bridge. Invest the time to understand the commercial drivers and culture of your business. Leave the confines of the IT Department, walk the floors, spend time with the stakeholders at every level.
3. Communicate. CIO’s have a legitimate reason to interact with leaders from any function without some of the inherent, silo mentality, and tensions that can divide wider leadership teams. One CIO likened his role to that of marriage guidance counsellor!
4. Create and add value. Once you have the attention of your board, influence and drive through proactive thought leadership.
5. Resist! In the rush to find influence, don’t become a push over – challenge is a critical part of progress.
Away from the personal actions there was one unifying theme - you are reliant on the strength of your team to give you band width to drive these actions home. Take the time to invest and build a good team. We can probably help you there too!
Matt Cockbill, Partner, and Alex Richardson, Consultant, are members of the Berwick Partners IT Leadership Practice and specialise in the recruitment of IT leadership roles for clients in a broad array of sectors across the UK.