Effective CIOs emphasize a practical approach to decision making

MRG has been conducting research on effective leadership at the top levels of organizations for decades. Most recently, we had the opportunity to study which leadership behaviors are most closely associated with leadership effectiveness for Chief Information Officers (CIOs).

While the overall findings were quite interesting, one that stood out to me was the relationship between being tactical and being effective. We found that displaying higher levels of tactical behaviors was associated with higher ratings of effectiveness. This finding stood out because it is not something we usually see in our research on other C-Suite executives. What is it about the CIO role that benefits from an emphasis on this set of behaviors?

This finding seems to reflect an overarching theme in the CIO list of responsibilities and challenges. When it comes to making decisions about data security and analytics, process digitization and systems integration, and even cloud adoption, they must maintain a balance between the present and the future. While there is a clear need to keep an eye on new technologies, there is also a need to adapt quickly and adopt practical approaches to problem solving.

Implementing new processes can be a considerable feat not only because of the work involved, but also because there is always a degree of uncertainty as to how beneficial any change will be. Effective CIOs are able to make pragmatic decisions about whether the systems that are already in place would fit a particular need rather than constantly looking to update processes and technologies to accommodate every need.

I have only covered one of the findings from our CIO best practices research. Find out what other behaviors predict effectiveness for CIOs by downloading the full report here.


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About the author

Maria is Head of Research at MRG. She loves a challenge and often gets a little too excited about running new studies. She finds peace and balance by cooking (as long as her husband is doing the cleaning) or being anywhere near the ocean.

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