“R” is the new “I”: Meet the Chief Relationship Officer

“R” is the new “I”: Meet the Chief Relationship Officer

up
78 readers like this

on

September 16, 2013
C_O

At the recent CIO 100 Symposium and Awards Ceremony in Colorado Springs, we spent a good deal of time discussing the role of the CIO in enterprise organizations. Nearly everyone we spoke to agreed the requirements for CIOs are expanding, transforming and encompassing much more than simply Information Technology.

A question arose: if the title “Chief Information Officer” is no longer a completely appropriate title, then what is it?

Answers ranged from thought provoking to humorous. (One CIO noted how ever-present the CIO has become, saying that people would probably call him “Chief ‘Get-the-hell-out-of-my-office’ Officer.”) But the list-topper is certainly “Chief Relationship Officer.”

“It’s not just technology but the relationships,” says Tom Soderstrom, Chief Technology Officer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. “It’s how you get there. It’s how you build up to it.”

With that in mind, here are a few ways enterprising CIOs can start to build those relationships—and build bridges outside of IT—to help bring IT closer to the business.

Walk the floor. You have to get out of the IT department. Take time to walk around the enterprise. Get to know the Lines of Business leaders. Get to know the people who drive the P&Ls and what really causes their heartburn. Go where the innovation is, and meet the people who are making it happen.

Huddle up. Short, daily meetings with your team are critical. Obviously these are important during big initiatives when it’s easier to course-correct than to overhaul. But daily huddles can help you stay aligned in a world that changes by the minute. In smaller and mid-sized organizations many CIOs are having daily huddles with the executive team as well, to help the business stay on track – and move swiftly when opportunities arise.

Get out (to breakfast). One of the most common pieces of advice we heard was to take time to schedule offsite meetings with leaders in your organization. Keep these meetings sacrosanct; resist the urge to cancel or reschedule. Breakfasts often work best, meeting before you get to the office and the emails pile up and the meetings run over and the last thing you can possibly do is stop for lunch.

The sooner you can master the art of being Chief Relationship Officer, the sooner you can be involved early in discussions. And the sooner IT can be there to help solve the problem or, better yet, enable the next innovation.

ABOUT THIS ARTICLE

C?O is one of the topics covered by “The Enterprisers Project.” Here we’re discussing how the role of enterprise CIOs is expanding beyond IT to influence decisions across the boardroom and the organization. Learn more about The Enterprisers Project, and join the discussion with CIO magazine at The Enterprising CIO.

Comments 0
Community of business-minded IT leaders exploring the evolving role of CIOs as they drive business strategy and inspire enterprise-wide innovation.

Harvard Business Review: IT Talent Crisis: Proven Advice from CIOs and HR Leaders

CIOs: We welcome you to join the conversation

Related Topics

Submitted By Chet Kapoor
May 30, 2014

Chet Kappor states that, "immediacy is becoming an expectation in the world of digital business, especially as user interaction data becomes just as important as transactional data." In this article, he explains that whomever is playing the role of the CDO must understand how the enterprise can create digital leadershio across lines of business.

Submitted By Minda Zetlin
May 15, 2014

Andrew Wild, CSO of Qualys, answers a few questions about how Chief Security Officers can improve their acceptance into the C-suite.

Submitted By Nano Serwich
May 02, 2014

How are CIOs redefining the Chief Information Officer role and should it be reflected in a new name.

Recent Tweets

| Follow @4Enterprisers