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CIO Competencies Mon 20 Nov 06

The other day as part of my job search I visited the website of Russell Reynolds, a major global retained executive search firm.  While there I found a very interesting paper entitled "CIO Leadership Diagnostic - A Pathway to "Best In Class" Performance" .  The paper was written by Eric Sigurdson who leads the Information Officers practice at Russell Reynolds and George Klemp, founding partner and President of Cambria Consulting, a Human Resources consulting firm.

The paper states "Independent of industry Knowledge & Experience, the top CIO's all share strengths in the below ten competency areas arranged into four leadership categories".  The competencies are:

  • Strategy
    • Establishing Vision and Direction
    • Strategic Thinking
  • Team Leadership
    • Creating a High Performance Climate
    • Building Talent
  • Execution
    • Data Driven
    • Results Oriented
    • Decision-Making
  • Influence
    • Organizational Influence
    • Communication
    • Prioritization / Negotiation

They also list a number of attributes for each competency which space does not permit me to list. 

It is interesting to note that as they describe the Knowledge & Experience as "hard skills" achieved through work assignments and educational training.

  • Industry Knowledge
  • Functional Knowledge
  • Technical Aptitude
  • Scope and Scale
  • Geographic Responsibility (domestic, continental, global)

As a personal and unscientific observation I've noticed a change in focus compared to my last job search in 1999.  What I've seen is shift from employers looking in 1999 for technical skills in a CIO to looking in 2006 for the types of competencies listed above.  By way of example, a job specification I recently received from a large national executive recruiting firm conducting a search for a industrial equipment manufacturer explicitly listed Critical Competencies for Success - Leadership Skills and Project Management.  Additionally, while talking with an executive recruiter about this he mentioned that he has spent hours talking to candidates about their competencies and by comparison virtually no time on their technical skills.

It is evident that technical skills alone are no longer sufficient to succeed as a CIO.  In addition to the core skills you must have developed key competencies that allow you to view IT strategically and run IT like a business to succeed as a CIO.

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