Gartner to CIOs: Flip your leadership to succeed in digital business

Gartner to CIOs: Flip your leadership to succeed in digital business

Kiwi CIOs have acknowledged the need to adapt their leadership in order to ensure their companies survive and thrive in an increasingly digital world – however, they’re also facing flat IT budgets.

Gartner’s annual global CIO survey, which includes 161 CIOs from Australia and New Zealand, shows 79% of respondents felt they needed to adapt their leadership style in the next three years in order to grasp the digital opportunity.

Speaking at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo on the Gold Coast yesterday, Gartner vice president and executive partner Graham Waller said many technology leaders face three persistent issues that impede digital opportunities.

“In order to grasp digital opportunities, CIOs need to flip from legacy first to digital first in terms of technology leadership, from what’s visible to what’s truly valuable in value leadership, and from control first to vision first in people leadership,” Waller says.

“In short, to thrive in this digital era, CIOs must flip to digital leadership.

“The digital world has moved from the shadows to centre stage. Digital is a game changer, creating winners and losers in all industries and geographies, including Australia and New Zealand.”

Waller says being a powerful digital leader and influencer takes time, and control-first leadership doesn’t suit the high-speed, innovative, uncertain nature of the digital world and can be an obstacle.

Instead, he says high-performing CIOs are spending less time running the IT shop and making extra time to engage their board and senior leadership, flipping people leadership from control to vision.

Having a deputy – a COO of IT – reduces the time a CIO spends running IT by 5%, or around one day a month, according to the 2015 CIO Agenda. Despite this, only 42% of ANZ CIOs have a deputy or similar, compared to 47% worldwide.

Waller says that vision first, or inspirational leadership, is one of the most powerful attributes of the digital leader, who needs to flip from aligning with corporate culture to building a digital culture.

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