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Model the power to influence. The new generation of CIOs: ‘Walk in the Shoes’ of the Leaders that Drive Change and Business Growth!

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I am always fascinated to get a better insight into what makes one manager better than another – if for no other reason than in the hope that it will help me to do better! My colleague Kat has a complicated role description – see below – but has always provided me and others with much to think about. I challenged her some time back on the skills for the new CIO and this is her very interesting profile as to what makes a CIO successful. Hope you find it as insightful as I did Andy Katiushka Borges is Senior Advisor for Capgemini UK. She is a communications specialist, journalist, psychological profiler, NLP Master business trainer, CXO executive coach and ‘half a geek’. "I’ve been working for at least 20 years trying to understand what make business leaders succeed by choosing to ‘put myself in their shoes’. I have tried all sorts of fine pairs, styles and shapes to understand what makes them tick. Early this year, I decided to try on ‘the shoes of the most influential CIOs’ that are now leading the way. What an exciting experience! These new CIO shoes felt like a glove with wings, so I decided to walk the path of this new generation of amazing CIO leaders and pay respect to them as they can inspire us all! Please take a look at their leadership styles, and notice what has changed from the role of IT Director to the new influential CIO. How can we understand what is in the mind of a CIO? What drives this new generation of influential leaders? It is not only about IT, it is about business. We all can see how the role of the CIO has become an even more strategic, and exciting position to be in. They are passionate about technology and how technology can drive the business forward. Their leadership roles now also involve diverse forms of communication from informal social events and lunches, where they are keynote speakers, through to more formal newsletters, meetings and events; apart from the two-way dialogue with people in the company. The have stepped out from their offices to show us the way forward. What has changed? CIOs sit at board meetings and what they have to say is listened to, by the CEOs and other board members, who know that linking technology with business growth is the way to go! They seem to be focusing more on technology and innovation than ever before, and they are managing all the functions more holistically across the companies they work for. How can we build a portrait of common qualities and preferred communication styles to identify what drives them to succeed? I went inside their heads, like the experience of opening a portal…a door or a window into their minds. If you have seen the film ‘Being John Malkovich’, you know what I mean. Once I put their shoes on, I applied a ‘Strategic Personality Profiling (SPP)’ method I developed over the past 20 years with the motivation to understand “the difference that makes the difference”! SPP is based on rigorous research criteria and systemic analysis of publicly available data (press, video and podcasts), language patterns, values and beliefs. I used some of the principles of Modelling Excellence, based on what Richard Bandler and John Grinder (creators of NLP) developed around what makes people excel at what they do, and how that can be duplicated. How can we see through their eyes, listen through their ears and tap into their minds? I wanted to understand their driving force, their ways of looking at technology and how they are now behind the wheel of business growth. Please come with me on this journey to understand what makes them, in my opinion, the business leaders of today. 5 key findings: 1- Empowering leadership styles Every move in their career has allowed them to better integrate lines of business and functions to drive efficiencies. They like to support and empower their teams towards collaboration and success. 2- High achievers They are successful not only because they have achieved every goal they set out to achieve but also they have moved out of their comfort zone to engage, communicate effectively and manage complex organisations. They love challenge. 3- Strategic Innovators They have driven business innovation and taken the step of strategically aligning IT to the business; by not only delivering at an operational level but also by keeping projects on track. 4- Well balanced communication styles They shared preferred communication styles, such as Kinesthestic (can do approach – hands on –make ideas tangible - grab and deliver – fix and solve – material results) and Auditory Digital (Auditory in a Visual sense, which means they connect ideas in their head like a flowchart that integrates both audio and visual components into events - information in a structured way). 5- Valued board members Excellent at understanding the importance of sitting at a board table and talking business. Self-assured of the role they need to play in driving business growth in a holistic way, by connecting all the dots and all aspects of the business. 10 Key personality indicators to model their power to influence The key qualities, including values and beliefs they share:

  1. Proactive, honest, determined, hard-working, and confident.
  2. Intellectually active, their minds are quick and agile.
  3. Business and customer focused.
  4. Energetic and rigorous thinkers. Every action should be considered thoroughly and every move should have a very clear purpose.
  5. They bring expertise and knowledge from other sectors to drive business change, with an understanding of what can and cannot be done.
  6. Good at translating ideas into action with unity of purpose.
  7. Great skill in commanding attention when they present their thoughts to others. Creative use of metaphors, communication is important to them.
  8. Ability to influence others and get them aligned to focus and work towards a common goal. They coach and empower their teams.
  9. Focused on ways of using technology to grow the business and reduce costs. Strong drive to excel and succeed.
  10. Innovative and strategic. Open to listen to new ways of doing things that bring ‘material results’.
Walking in someone else’s shoes is not easy. However, keeping a pair of ‘fine shoes’ like these handy, might help us understand ‘the difference that makes the difference’. Voila. Vive la difference!" Any comments or questions, please add a comment to this blog or email katiushka.borges@capgemini.com

About the author

Andy Mulholland
Andy Mulholland
Capgemini Global Chief Technology Officer until his retirement in 2012, Andy was a member of the Capgemini Group management board and advised on all aspects of technology-driven market changes, together with being a member of the Policy Board for the British Computer Society. Andy is the author of many white papers, and the co-author three books that have charted the current changes in technology and its use by business starting in 2006 with ‘Mashup Corporations’ detailing how enterprises could make use of Web 2.0 to develop new go to market propositions. This was followed in May 2008 by Mesh Collaboration focussing on the impact of Web 2.0 on the enterprise front office and its working techniques, then in 2010 “Enterprise Cloud Computing: A Strategy Guide for Business and Technology leaders” co-authored with well-known academic Peter Fingar and one of the leading authorities on business process, John Pyke. The book describes the wider business implications of Cloud Computing with the promise of on-demand business innovation. It looks at how businesses trade differently on the web using mash-ups but also the challenges in managing more frequent change through social tools, and what happens when cloud comes into play in fully fledged operations. Andy was voted one of the top 25 most influential CTOs in the world in 2009 by InfoWorld and is grateful to readers of Computing Weekly who voted the Capgemini CTOblog the best Blog for Business Managers and CIOs each year for the last three years.

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