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Gartner: 5 fatal pitfalls for new CIOs

With only 100 days to make an impact, a new CIO can avoid the common pitfalls - outlined in a new report from Gartner – and pave the way to success

Janet Brice
|Jan 10|magazine6 min read

It is widely known that a new Chief Information Officer (CIO) has 100 days to make an impact and pave the way for a successful career.

In a bid to help new CIOs make this smooth transition, consultants Gartner has produced a report titled, 5 Fatal Pitfalls for New CIOs. According to the report, at least 25% of CIOs are “in transition” at any given time, changing their organisations or their roles.

In the report, Gartner paints a picture of a CIO’s first day in the job for an IT organisation. 

“By the end of the first day, you are getting a sense for the culture. By the end of the first week, you’re thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” There are five common pitfalls that — when managed correctly — position you for the success you envisioned,” says the report.

Gartner points out the five common pitfalls include:

  • You’re communicating a personal brand (but it’s not the one you wanted)
  • You think you know how IT is perceived (but you’re wrong)
  • You think what you did in your previous role or company was better than what they have here (but you’re wrong) 
  • You think you understand the organisation’s priorities (but you don’t) 
  • You think you understand the business’s capabilities and capacity (but you don’t)

The key recommendations to avoid those pitfalls include:

Build credibility and a brand that sets the tone and direction for what you will accomplish by determining both your enterprise’s expectations and your personal ambition.

Learn about the current IT operating model by spending time with your direct reports and other team members, and then identify any gaps in talent, motivation and workload. 

Be highly self-aware, conscious and cautious of your personal assumptions or a desire to quickly prove yourself. Listen more than you tell. 

If you are under pressure to act immediately, buy some time to solidify action by communicating your next steps to gather more insights. 

Ensure the organisation’s capabilities and capacity are aligned by determining how the current initiatives need to be changed to meet the future direction and working with stakeholders (internal and external to your department or division).

“The mitigating tactics we recommend to avoid or escape these five common situational risks are not technical, but flow from your personal mastery of listening, empathising and imagining. Practice these tactics,” concludes Gartner.

Click on the link below to read in depth how to overcome the five pitfalls in a series of scenarios produced by Gartner.

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