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5 tips: Become a transformational CIO

A top CIO shares crucial points of advice on how to thrive as a technology-focused business leader.
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By Michael Krigsman, Contributor on
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1 of 9 Michael Krigsman/ZDNet

Become a transformational CIO

Historically, the chief information officer role has gone through three phases:

  • Transactional CIO: Focused on speeds and feeds
  • Digital CIO: Gaining experience as a genuine partner to the business
  • Transformational CIO: Driving strategic change and innovation across the organization

Click through the slides to see five important rules that are a checklist for being a transformational CIO.

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Jay Ferro is the Chief Information Officer of Quikrete

These five rules are adapted from a conversation with Jay Ferro, a top CIO who is currently with Quikrete. The discussion is part of episode 335 of the CxOTalk series of conversations with top business and technology leaders.

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Quikrete is the large cement manufacturer in the US

Quikrete was founded in 1940 and is the largest manufacturer of packaged concrete and cement mixes in North America. The company operates about 250 facilities in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, and South America.

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Rule 1: Transformation means innovation

Innovation is the foundation for any transformational CIO. Of course, saving money and doing more with less is important, but growth and innovation are the hallmarks of real transformation.

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Rule 2: You are a business leader first

Today's CIO must be a business leader with domain expertise in technology. That's different from the past, where you could be a technologist first.

Hire technical experts and delegate the details of technology to those folks. 

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Rule 3: Build relatationships with people on the front lines

You must understand what your company sells and the issues that come up during daily activities. Visit people on the front lines to learn the inner workings of your organization.

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Rule 4: Spend time with customers

Your company is in business to serve customers. Spend time with customers to hear what they like, don't like, and want. Let their voice reign supreme!

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Rule 5: Be transparent and clear

Trust is the currency of leadership. You cannot lead effectively without integrity, clarity, and trust. Of the five rules, by far this is most important.

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9 of 9 Michael Krigsman/ZDNet

Watch the full episode

Watch the full 45-minute conversation and read the transcript at www.cxotalk.com/jay

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