Are Social CIOs More Effective? (And, Better Yet, More Efficient?)

When I was a startup CEO, I found the position lonely at times. There was only so much that I could share with my board or even with my leadership team. Regardless of business function, leadership can be a lonely place. CIOs tell me that they are no different. Like me, they say that they can only confide so much with their CEO, peers, or staff.

CIOs tell me as well that they are finding it difficult to keep up with the quickening pace of change. One CIO that I know well said to me, “It is a changing technology landscape. Mobile, Cloud, Social, and Big Data are key priorities all at the same time. And things are changing every 18 months”. A public sector CIO says, “there is no status quo only constant change”.

David BrayGiven these issues, David Bray, the CIO of the US Federal Communications Commission, says that “governmental IT leaders need to use social media to stimulate a dialogue with — and draw ideas from the public”. For this reason, he says, “today’s public sector CIOs should regard engagement on social media as a vital part in their new armory rather than a source of professional risk — not just to communicate the challenges their organizations’ face, but to tap into innovative thinking and to project the successes of their teams”.

David argues, at the same time, that with today’s pace of change, it is important to be a social CIO. “The world is changing so quickly, both in terms of technology and society, that none of us have all the answers. So by being online — whether on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or other social channels — you can begin to share ideas and learn from others.” I believe that David’s arguments are equally relevant for private sector CIOs. The only difference is private sector CIOs need to make use of intranets and customer surveys to collect input from their companies’ publics.

For some clearly, being a social CIO might seem like an unnecessary exposure, but David says in an era when digital-driven change is exponential in the business and consumer environment, CIOs simply cannot afford to be left behind. It is valuable to have an open dialogue about what you are doing or not doing and to learn from other CIOs and IT leaders.

A personal call to action: The #CIOChat

This is where the #CIOChat comes in. Once a week, our CIO community discusses leadership, management, and the technology trends of the day. The dialogue is candid and sometimes fast paced. And although our sessions are an hour, people come and go in the conversation or even in the weeks based upon their personal work demands. And when you can’t come, you are free to add-on at a later time to the conversation.

Our recent discussions have included the following topics:

  • CIO Role in Information Security
  • CIO Excellence
  • Role of the CIO in Governance
  • The CIO and Cloud Strategy
  • Driving IT maturity and improvement
  • Shadow IT
  • CIO vs. CMO
  • CIO vs. CFO

Joining the discussion is easy, just search in twitter for #CIOChat on Thursdays at 2-3 EST. Introduce yourself and then make sure to add the #CIOChat as you share or add onto the discussion questions. It is as simple as this. For those that cannot make the work week chat, we have also a weekend question on Saturdays. And lastly, remember this is a great opportunity for you also to show your thought leadership about being a CIO, managing business expectations, or technology issues.