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Gartner - CIO Power Politics

Step 1 – embrace power politics; people with power generally don’t talk about it; masters only use coercive power rarely
Step 2 – leverage enterprise power; read the environment to use the correct bag of tricks
Step 3 – gain personal power
Step 4 – use power wisely; hang onto it

Coalition power is most critical to CIO Success – CIO must be able to build strong coalitions. CIO often has to deal with more senior executives to them.
How political is your organization? Average 7 out of 10 (most political) Top most political were government entities but most political were family-owned companies.

Where are the circles of power in your enterprise?
Seat of power – makes key decisions
Inner circle – influences
Outer circle – informs
Peripheral circle – executes
Outside the circle – wonders what's going on

What are the sources of power?
  • Revenue
  • Tenure
  • Position
  • Charisma
  • Relationships
  • Perception
  • Expert
How do you build your power as a CIO?
"I deposit more than I withdraw". 
What is your ratio of deposits vs withdrawals?
Deposits include:
  • providing shiny objects
  • Completing a pet project
  • Bringing stakeholders together
  • Completing initiatives
  • Giving an award
  • Being helpful and open to the input of others
  • saying no too often
  • Asking CEO/CFO for mandate
  • Having an IT failure
  • Being overly unpleasant and self-focused
Checklist of CIO Personal Power Indicators
  • Time
    • Power to wait; too much urgency makes you look weaker
    • Shapes IT demand vs waiting to receive the demand
    • Appropriate meetings with stakeholders
  • Topics
    • Other pursue you for advice
    • Focus attention on key strategic issues
    • Discuss value of IT – avoid cost center discussion
  • Trappings
    • Proximity of CIO office to key execs
    • Appropriate level of support staff relative to others
    • CIO looks and acts the part
CIO's role in a battle has significant power implications
  • Observer, Advisor,  Broker, Owner --> make sure to pick wisely
  • Lead from the Front or Lead from Behind --> pick wisely


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