Your Company Needs a Great CIO

July 9, 2020 John Ryan, CMO

Risk is a requirement for a legacy

Prometheus got himself into big trouble. We’ve all done things to upset somebody, but how about a god? How about Zeus (the big honcho) himself? Yikes. In Greek mythology, Prometheus was a titan, not a god. Here’s what got him in trouble with Zeus; he defied the gods by stealing fire and giving it to humanity. This act of defiance altered the course of humanity forever. Zeus was not in a power-sharing mood. Prometheus was chained to a rock and tortured daily as punishment from Zeus. 

This myth teaches us that risks are required to alter the course of anything. Also, it’s an HR learning moment - you may want to run some decisions by other team members. Sure, Prometheus paid the price for the greater good, but we remember his name, and humans even named a Saturn moon after him. Looking at the big picture, we’ll call this a legacy win for Prometheus! The other titans are hard to remember. See the lesson? One titan takes a risk, while most are forgotten during their time. There is a cost to timidity and a lack of action.

Innovation is a smart risk to take

In the real world, we are never in a risk-free environment. In business, we simply define our risk portfolio and prioritize our actions to achieve our goals. One area of smart risk is innovation. We frame change based on internal resources and external influences. An innovation strategy can be interrupted or restricted by short-term thinking. Unfortunately, while some companies are busy not innovating, their innovative competitors blow by them and take a larger piece of the future’s growth pie. 

Think of innovation as a bank account. How many investments have you made, and is there anything to withdraw? We’ll call it the Innovation Account, and there is no rich uncle to save your company from a lack of investment. Fortunately, digital transformation allows your company’s operational innovation to leap forward. The technology can be purchased and tailored within your budgets. Some of your competitors are already well on their way, and not doing so is a growing existential risk to your company. See how risk finds a home all on its own unless you shape it? When we fail to choose, a choice gets made for us.

The immediate future requires effortless digital workflows

For the love of Zeus! The CEO and CIO must commit the company operations to effortless employee and customer workflows to elevate business outcomes. The productiveness of employees and customers is critical if you look at any business model of any company. It’s impossible to find a more crucial part of your business. It’s the difference between having a fire and not having a fire on a chilly night. 

Can you afford to have your best employees move to better work experiences? Watch as customers leave and tell their peers why they left (reputational hit), and they likely didn’t feel they owed you an explanation. As a company, you had months or years to delight the customer, and you didn’t. Bye! And shame on you for stealing time from the next customer.

I know this sounds harsh, however, being brutally honest mobilizes your company around what matters most.

Great leaders serve

Great leaders do not identify as people who rest on their titles. They know each quarter, each year, and each career move demands progress. Great CIOs tie their initiatives to business outcome improvement. They combine a firm grasp of technology, a growing command of the business, the ability to sell their ideas, and execution excellence. Otherwise, it was only a title, and it may not last for long. Your company needs a great CIO.

What eventually happened to Prometheus? Hercules freed Prometheus because, well, that’s just the kind of thing Hercules did. In today’s reality, you can bring innovation to the team and release yourself for greatness at the same time. Not even a titan was able to do that.

 

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