6 goals that should be top of mind for CIOs

Award-winning CIOs share the leadership improvements that should be at the top of your list of priorities for the year ahead
3 readers like this.
IT Careers 2021

What are your most important goals this year? While project KPIs and digital transformation benchmarks may be top of mind, don’t neglect to prioritize goals that can help you improve your leadership skills and practices in the year ahead.

We asked winners of the New York CIO of the Year ORBIE Awards to share the leadership resolutions IT leaders should adopt this year. From building your personal network, to rethinking your talent development practices, to canceling non-essential meetings, consider adding the ideas below to the top of your 2023 to-do list.

Invest in your own personal growth

Michael Smith

Michael W. Smith, CIO, The Estée Lauder Companies: This year I encourage fellow CIOs to invest in themselves. So many of the CIOs I know in my own life are working hard, spending time heads down on important projects, and achieving great professional successes for their companies.

However, to best serve our teams, we actually need to spend time on ourselves. You can’t fill up others from an empty cup. To me, this means developing new skills, building my network, and learning about trends and future predictions for our industry. It also means taking care of my mental and physical health in order to be the best leader I can be.

When we take the time for ourselves, we can bring more to both our employees and our peers on our executive teams, and ultimately results in better outcomes for everyone.

Adopt a people-centered purpose

Lidia Fonseca

Lidia Fonseca, Chief Digital & Technology Officer & EVP, Pfizer Inc.: As we race into an increasingly digital future, let’s keep in mind that technology is actually all about people – connecting them, engaging them, and empowering them. If we pursue innovation without a people-centered purpose behind it, what kind of future are we really building? We have the power to drive enormous change, and with that comes the responsibility to ensure that improving people’s lives is the ultimate outcome.

[ Related read: IT leadership: 10 essential skills for digital transformation success. ]

Evaluate and optimize your talent development practices

Bridget Engle

Bridget Engle, CIO and Head of Engineering, BNY Mellon: My leadership resolution for 2023 revolves around our talent. I believe that, as we look ahead to 2023, all CIOs should assess and evaluate their talent development practices and seek new opportunities to engage their people. Our people are our most valuable asset, and their skills are at the core of everything we do. My team effectively serves as BNY Mellon’s engine; we leverage technology platforms and applications to support operational delivery at a bank that plays a critical role in the global financial system. As such, this year I’m deeply focused on continuing to drive an engineering-first culture at BNY Mellon by attracting, developing, and retaining top talent.

Embed value-based thinking into the culture of IT

Anna Ransley

Anna Ransley, CIO, Godiva: As an IT organization, it is easy to fall into the “cost center” mentality, particularly during times of economic uncertainty. Traditional IT functions were designed around the premise of developing services and products, implementing them, and waiting for requests for changes to come in to improve incrementally. Now, as technology permeates every part of our lives and becomes consumerized, we must adapt to a new way of thinking.

In forward thinking organizations, IT’s purpose is to challenge the status quo by delivering innovative technology capabilities to ensure world-class customer experiences at scale. To make that happen, IT leaders must cultivate a culture of customer/employee centricity and a value definition that is embedded into daily operations, so that it does not become a siloed exercise. Changing the team’s thinking and behavior to first focus on the “why” and to have clarity on the impact that their work is doing, always multiplies the effect. Most importantly, by questioning time or financial investment when the value or the “why” is not clear creates a habit that benefits both the IT team and the company as a whole.

Audit your calendar to find valuable time in your day

Shane Brauner

Shane Brauner, EVP & CIO, Schrödinger, Inc.: The start of a new year is a great time to prune standing meetings on your calendar. They grow and multiply like weeds throughout the year any time a new priority appears. Cut them back aggressively. If you can’t cancel it all together (can the meeting be an email?), try shortening the duration or reducing the frequency. Your time and space to process, think, and create is valuable. Treat it as such!

[ Also read How to be the manager your IT team needs in 2023. ]

Remember to be human

Claus Torp Jensen

Claus T. Jensen, CIO, Teladoc Health: The one leadership resolution CIOs should make this year is to remember to be human. The past year was a tough one for many technology organizations and our teams are somewhat worn heading into 2023.

As leaders, we need to understand that what we do is always about people – the people on your team, the people working in your company and the people you serve. It is this combination that lets us work on things that are uniquely meaningful and impactful.

It is exactly when we are the most tired and worn out that we should remember how valuable and important it is to work together as humans. Let’s make 2023 all about “The Power of Us!”

[ Get advice from leading CIOs on how to overcome common digital transformation challenges. Download the Ebook: Build a resilient IT culture ]

Carla Rudder is a community manager and program manager for The Enterprisers Project. She enjoys bringing new authors into the community and helping them craft articles that showcase their voice and deliver novel, actionable insights for readers.