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New CIO? Your transition playbook in 10 (not-so-easy) steps

CIO | Sep 12, 2018

What you accomplish in the first six months of taking over an IT leadership role is critical. The following 10 steps will help you navigate the rocky transition, get your IT house in order and set a clear path toward a strong strategic future.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

If you’re a new CIO, follow these 10 tips to establish yourself in the organization and to overcome the roadblocks and obstacles you’ll face during your first months at a new company.
Be scrupulous with your time
The first six to nine months as a new CIO are critical. By the end of six months, you’ll be expected to have your change agenda in place, so it’s important to determine your priorities on day one.
Huddle with your team
Transitions can be difficult to navigate, so you’ll want to maintain open communication with your team. Make sure everyone is on board and that they have a chance to voice concerns or ask questions.
Talent appraisal, house cleaning and acquisition
You’ll want to take stock of your talent and determine if you need to reconfigure teams, hire more talent or restructure departments.
Identify trusted lieutenants
While evaluating your talent, make sure you get a sense of the office politics. If another IT leader wanted your job, you might need to reevaluate who you work closely with.
Get on board with the business
Meet with other executives and business leaders to get an idea of how they view the IT department. You want to make sure you understand their concerns and challenges, so you can address them.
Connect with customers, partners and suppliers
Introduce yourself to customers, partners and suppliers so they know who you are and so you can properly assess the value the technology is delivering.
Pick the low-hanging fruit
Find a project you can tackle right away so you can demonstrate your competency as a CIO and gain the trust and respect of your employees.
Get some quick wins on board
Identify any failing IT systems and high-visibility projects that have gone stale. Find ways to address these issues and to get stakeholders re-invested in stagnant projects.
Prioritize IT demand and supply
Assess your IT project backlog to identify the next challenge you want to solve. Figure out your sourcing needs and determine how to deliver the best solution.
Strengthen the foundation and tweak expectations
To avoid burning yourself out in the first 6 months as a new CIO, identify the strongest talent to assign responsibility to so you can delegate some of the tasks on your list.
Follow these steps to establish yourself as a strong leader and to drive a new digital strategy for your organization.
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