10 quotes to inspire IT leaders

10 quotes to inspire IT leaders

Stay fired up about your IT leadership role and keep climbing, using wisdom from your peers

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November 29, 2017
CIO as Digital Leader

We can all use the occasional boost in our jobs – reminders, small and large, of why we love what we do.

Here’s the good news for CIOs and other IT leaders: Your reminders are everywhere. The IT community is as vibrant as it’s ever been. You'll find enthusiasm and inspiration in abundant supply. Of course, IT leaders are busy people, so we saved you some time and collected 10 inspiring quotes from your peers and other sources to help you stay fired up during this busy time of year.

On the evolving and increasing value of the CIO:

“The CIO role is always evolving. As we progress through this digital revolution, it’s becoming more important to have someone in that role and have their responsibilities evolve, too. When you look at how we plan on interacting with customers, it’s all changing. Millennials want a completely different experience than what we’ve offered in the past. We need to manage the legacy aspects of that, learn from that, and continue to evolve because that’s something that crosses a couple generations of people.” – Craig Richardville, CIO of Carolinas HealthCare System

On the current opportunities for CIOs and their teams:

“It is a great time to be a CIO. IT, as a discipline, has emerged to being a business weapon. Never before has this role been as important inside businesses. You shift the thinking from being a cost center, and you are a party responsible for driving and enabling the company's business strategy. The opportunities are endless.” – Trevor Schulze, CIO and VP of IT at Micron Technology, in an interview with Forbes

On the reach of IT in the digital business era:

“At Box, we like to say that it’s not about rewriting your software, it’s about rewriting your company. The CIO is elevated out of the back office and into the C-suite because all eyes are on them to help the company think through its digital transition. It’s a great time to be a CIO because of that.” – Paul Chapman, CIO at Box (via HMG Strategy)

On IT's new mandate to generate revenue for the business:

"CIOs and their teams shouldn’t feel blindsided or intimidated by this new mandate. In fact, they may be more prepared and well-suited for the role than they realize.The IT organization typically has skills and expertise relevant to revenue generation that other parts of the enterprise do not. For instance, IT probably already has people who understand and deliver technical solutions to customers. Who better than those people to lead the way on revenue-generating technology investments? IT people are likely ideally suited because of their understanding of cloud solutions, mobility, and what technology-oriented consumers want and need.” – Lee Congdon, CIO, Ellucian

[ You're probably not a transformation slowpoke. See our related article, Dear CIOs: Stop beating yourselves up for being behind on transformation. ]

On CIOs’ growing influence in the C-suite:

“Generally, CIOs at top-performing enterprises are more likely to sit on the executive committee and report to the CEO than are CIOs at typical and trailing enterprises. CIOs manage to broaden the pool of executives they influence through membership in the enterprise’s executive committee.” – from Gartner’s “Here’s Why CIOs Will Be the New Executive Leaders”

On reshaping your place within the business:

“Within IT, I asked my team to question everything they were doing. Not because it was wrong or they were doing it incorrectly, but because I wanted them to look at our standard processes and think, 'Is there a better way we could do this? Could we be more effective and efficient and make things smoother for the business?' This questioning led to better devices, new software, collaboration tools, and more. And the business started to see that and say, ‘You know, we could leverage some of you differently on our teams.’” —Steve Zoltick, CIO, Hasbro

On the positive impacts of CIOs’ growing visibility:

“CIOs’ increased visibility, particularly among the C-suite and customers, is starting to bear fruit. Nearly half (46 percent) of CIOs now report in to the CEO, the same as last year and the highest since 2004. CIOs are also getting much more face time with customers and the board of directors. Sixty-one percent of CIOs are communicating with the board, up from 58 percent last year, and slightly higher among strategic and transformational CIOs. On the customer front, 76 percent of CIO respondents said they met frequently or occasionally with customers compared to 62 percent last year.” – 2017 State of the CIO report

On the importance of partnership and shared goals:

“My relationship with my leadership team is critical to me. I have to trust that they’re on board in messaging what I want messaged, and they’re pushing my agenda throughout not just IT, but the rest of the business community, because I can’t be everywhere. I also need strong leadership to speak up when I’m making a mistake. We work as a team. I don’t want to feel like their boss; I want to feel like their partner and that we're all driving to the same goal.” – Kathy Kountze, CIO, Eversource Energy

On the power of transparency for innovative CIOs:

"The most successful IT teams are those that are open – that not only share knowledge and work inclusively, as their predecessors did, but also understand the value of transparent, portable, and plentiful data available to them from inside and outside the organization. Today's CIO is therefore much more like a Chief Innovation Officer – a catalyst for ideas that can drive the business, someone who looks at a digital technology and asks: "Is it defining?" Is it providing the kind of valuable insights the organization needs to set its direction and make its most difficult decisions?" –  Mike Kelly, CIO, Red Hat

On the importance of being in the moment:

“The most important relationship in my current role is the relationship in the moment. Whether I’m working with a team or with an executive, whether I’m talking to the CEO, or saying ‘hello’ to the environmental services worker, being in the moment is what matters. It’s the most important relationship on a continuous basis.” —James Noga, CIO, Partners Healthcare

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Kevin Casey writes about technology and business for a variety of publications. He won an Azbee Award, given by the American Society of Business Publication Editors, for his InformationWeek.com story, "Are You Too Old For IT?" He's a former community choice honoree in the Small Business Influencer Awards.

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