Many new CIOs make the same mistake. They’ve just been hired into their new position and have a mandate from those who did the hiring—the board, the CEO, an executive search committee—to “shake things up.” They’ve been told in interview after interview that IT needs to get better connected with the culture of the company and that IT needs to change in order to meet the evolving business needs of the company.

Executive Summary

For a newly hired CIO, taking the time to understand the company's culture before pulling a lot of triggers will pay dividends over time and will contribute in no small way to accomplishing the core mission of IT—planning, executing, delivering and innovating, says X by 2's Frank Petersmark.

As the new CIO your job is to make that happen, and as such your first course of action is to focus on the technology, the projects and the people in IT as a way to assess the current state and develop a go-forward plan. But as logical as this may sound, it’s a recipe for a suboptimal start to your new tenure as CIO at the company.

That’s not to say that the technology does not matter or that the projects and people are not important. Of course they are. But in the context of laying the proper foundation for long-term CIO and IT success, they are tactical issues that often get in the way of focusing on the one strategic issue that will enable everything else to fall into place: fully and completely understanding the culture of the company you have just joined.

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