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Product Strategy

Is the perfect CIO an unscrupulous idiot?

Didier Fleury
Didier Fleury
Senior CIO

Under this provocative title inspired by the book “The Perfect Woman is a B*tch!” (original title: “La femme parfaite est une connasse!”), my objective isn’t to shock, but to show that the ‘loved by everyone’ CIO doesn’t exist.

However, it is entirely possible to develop and strengthen your skills to become a CIO whose voice carries beyond your own immediate plain.

Perfect CIO

Start by showing courage and surrounding yourself with allies.

To successfully fulfill your mission, it’s essential to demonstrate courage and surround yourself with allies within the company from the start.

These allies include colleagues, peers, the CEO, and partners.

You must also establish a moral contract with your CEO by standing firm on your approach, convictions, and expectations. Are they aligned with the goals set for you and the expectations for the IT department?

What can make you miss your goals?

First, take the time to listen to all stakeholders to understand where the dysfunctions are and what their causes are.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of where issues can occur if you don’t:

  • Lack of vision and, above all, lack of sharing the vision (Where are we going? Why?)
  • Absence of a concrete IT trajectory (written and followed at the CEO level) of the company in connection with its strategy
  • Heterogeneous practices among different subcontractors, even though rules have been stated in consultations
  • Deficiency in the governance of the client (closely related to the previous point)
  • Lack of documentation of the IT system (architecture, flows) which has deteriorated over the last 10-15 years, with uncontrolled multiplication of initiatives and digital applications
  • Outsourcing of key functions, resulting in a loss of control over the IT system
  • Distance from business units, often marked by a large number of external AMOA actors who act as interfaces (consulting firms that often have the ear of your CEO)
  • Internally demotivated teams because they are listened to less
  • Pressure for immediate results when the conditions for obtaining them are not met

So… what do you do?

Implement your plan with two priority axes that you will pursue in parallel:

  • (R)Establish an IT delivery model
  • Define an IT trajectory (a first version, it will evolve constantly in the beginning) and its governance by all stakeholders

Even though you must embody it, your action plan cannot be top-down.

It will succeed if it becomes the action plan of all stakeholders and therefore that of the company.

So how do these actions change the view of the ‘perfect’ CIO?

So, the perfect CIO (or CTO) is not unlikeable or an irritation, but a professional who does not hide problems and does not sell dreams.

They initiate an action plan where business and IT have their place and collaborate in trust. Trust that is given rather than imposed.

Communication is key; don’t hesitate to seek support in this regard. Just because you “know” doesn’t mean you should impose your vision on others.

However, you should not get carried away in endless workshops and discussions.

You need to implement!

Don’t forget that you will have all those who wanted to do the same thing against you. You will have all those who wanted to do exactly the opposite. And you will have the vast majority, who didn’t want to change anything.

See you very soon.

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