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What Skills Does It Take to Be an Established CIO (Chief Information Officer)

CIO Skills


In today's rapidly evolving technological landscape, the role of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) has become increasingly important. CIOs are responsible for overseeing an organisation's information technology strategy and ensuring that it aligns with the overall goals and objectives of the business. But what does it take to be a successful and established CIO? In my blog post, we will explore three crucial skills that are essential for anyone aspiring to become a CIO, based on my personal experience as CIO for a number of large organisations, including J Sainsbury’s.

Strategic Thinking and Vision

One of the most important skills for a CIO is the ability to think strategically and have a clear vision for the organisation's technology landscape. A successful CIO understands the business's goals, challenges, and opportunities and can leverage technology to drive innovation and competitive advantage. They are not just focused on the day-to-day operations but also have a long-term view of how technology can transform the organisation. By aligning technology initiatives with business objectives, CIOs can ensure that the IT department is an enabler rather than a cost centre.

Leadership and Collaboration

Being a CIO requires strong leadership skills and the ability to collaborate effectively with different stakeholders. CIOs are responsible for managing a team of IT professionals and ensuring that they are motivated, engaged, and working towards common goals. They need to be able to communicate the vision and strategy to their team and inspire them to achieve excellence. Additionally, CIOs must collaborate with other C-level executives, such as the CEO and CFO, to ensure that technology decisions align with the overall business strategy. Building strong relationships and partnerships across the organisation is crucial for a CIO's success.

Adaptability and Continuous Learning

The technology field constantly evolves, and a successful CIO must be adaptable and continuously learning. They need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technological advancements and understand how they can be applied to their organisation. This requires a mindset of lifelong learning and a willingness to embrace change. A CIO should also be open to new ideas and be willing to take risks in order to drive innovation. By staying adaptable and continuously learning, CIOs can ensure that their organisation remains at the forefront of technological advancements.


Being an established CIO requires a combination of strategic thinking, leadership skills, and adaptability. CIOs must have a clear vision for the organisation's technology landscape and be able to align technology initiatives with business objectives. They must also possess strong leadership and collaboration skills to manage their team and collaborate with other stakeholders effectively. Additionally, CIOs must be adaptable and continuously learning to keep up with the ever-changing technological landscape. By developing and honing these skills, aspiring CIOs can position themselves for success in this dynamic role.

Looking for strategic business growth and transformation? Discover how Richard Keenlyside, a seasoned Chief Information Officer based in Yarm, North Yorkshire, can drive your business forward with his proven track record in leadership, strategic decision-making, and delivering critical initiatives. With over 34 years of experience spanning various sectors, Richard's expertise is your company's asset.

Connect now and elevate your business to new heights!

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