Ask a CIO

David Gee

Transformation & Digital CIO

David is a well known Transformation & Digital CIO, he consults as an CXO Advisor in Financial Services.

With 18 years as a CIO, David has deep experience in digital change. At CUA he successfully led a major transformation of all systems and technology, this culminated in him winning CIO of the Year in 2014 for Financial Services.

He is heavily embedded in the Fintech startup ecosystem as an Advisor to Sapien Ventures, Tyro Fintech Hub, Venturetec Accelerator and also advises a number of startups.

David is a popular writer for a number of IT publications including CIO, Computerworld and CSO.

Q

Report to the CFO and don’t feel valued

David, I've been a IT Manager for more than 5 years now, I enjoy my job but don't feel that I'm really recognised or valued. Right now I report into a CFO and feel somewhat constrained. How can I get to be a CIO and play with the big boys?

A

I'd love to talk to you more about this and I really understand your frustration.

Let me be frank really consider what you are doing now and it is nothing to do about being a bad manager. A CIO is a strategic leader. This means that you have to think about how you are perceived in the enterprise. This is not about prestige or positional power, but actually about influence.

Your personal brand and behaviour is what makes you get to be CIO.

When I was an aspiring CIO, I could never figure out how some people managed to get to this executive level. I realised that is less about what you know (knowledge) or about what you have be trained in (skills) but more about your own leadership (experience) and management (behaviour).

Once you start to look at role models are observe their behaviour that you really think are credible, try to ask them for a coffee and understand what experiences helped to shape that CIO. I'm sure that you will be able to find admirable qualities in many leaders.

I've found that every CIO has a different background with a variety of skills. However a great CIO has a number of traits that you should observe:

  • Strategic Outlook
  • Focus on Delivery (on Outcomes)
  • Incredible People Management
  • Exceptional communication skills There are a few exceptions of course but you will find that most CIO's will be strong in at least two of these traits.
  • I encourage you to focus on yourself and how you can re-position to be a CIO. Perhaps this needs to be with another company, but take the time now to practice.

    From my experience, there are some people that are just 'natural' and do this with ease. And there are others that have to work harder to change themselves.

    Oh, and who you report to does matter, but also doesn't. Don't let that be a barrier to being taking the move to acting and behaving like a CIO. Once you start to demonstrate this behaviour, your chances of reinventing yourself are multiplied.

    Good luck with that and let me know how you go!

    - David Gee, Transformation & Digital CIO

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