With a great deal of help, I put together an IT leadership development program – Central Ohio IT Leaders.org – in 2017 for aspiring CIOs in Central Ohio. The following message is my effort to share what I have learned from the tremendous CIO guest speakers that have presented as part of the program.
Central Ohio IT Leaders.org is a peer group that meets monthly to network, discuss ideas, learn from experienced speakers, and establish collaborative relationships with the goal of nurturing the next generation of Columbus IT leadership. Several times throughout the year, the peer group will host CIO guest speakers to discuss various aspects of IT leadership. The following lesson learned is based off of my interpretation of a recent presentation by Angelo Mazzocco, CIO of Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC).
There are five key attributes of the CIO role. Today we are going to discuss interaction between the business and the IT department. Back in the ‘old days’, before digital transformation, before businesses knew how to leverage technology to provide themselves with a competitive advantage, IT was viewed as an cost center. Odd to think of it this way anymore, but often the CIO reported to the CFO and was told to do as much work as possible with as little funding as possible and keep everything running all the time and never have unexpected expenses. If you are still working in a shop like this, it is time to change jobs or become the force that changes your shop.
During his presentation, Angelo discussed his job history at the Dispatch Printing Company, Progressive Medical, Central Ohio Primary Care and how he addressed the CIO role in relation to the business. He went to the leadership of each division and learned about each intersection that technology and the IT division had with that division. He understood that each of the other divisions – ‘the business’ – is really a separate client with unique needs. Human Resources, Operations/Production, Sales, Legal and Finance all have separate needs and he treated them as such. By listening and learning, he was able to provide services tailored for each division and ensure satisfaction across each division.
This type of communication exhibits tremendous leadership. By making the extra effort to engage, by learning to speak the language of others outside of IT, by communicating your vision without resorting to technical jargon, Angelo and other smart tech leaders forge relationships with every aspect of the business and drive the value of the IT division. With these strong relationships and open communication, the IT team will be much more accurate when it comes to creating technical solutions that will drive the business forward.
In next week’s post, I will share another key attribute of the CIO role that was discussed at Central Ohio IT Leaders.org.
If you’re interested in discussing the IT Leaders program, digital transformation, cloud technology or how to get involved with Central Ohio’s IT community, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.