What CEOs want

Quickly: IT/BT executives should ensure that their goals align with the CEO's.

Forrester's IT Forum was in Las Vegas last week. Great time, with over 1,500 clients and sponsors on-site. Highlights for me were John Chambers of Cisco jumping off the stage into the audience to sell his vision and an amazingly elegant dinner for over 1,000 at the very cool Tao Club in the Venetian.

I kicked off the proceedings with a ten minute talk entitled "CEO Success Imperatives." Whenever I meet with a CEO I ask a simple question: "What do you, as the CEO, have to do to be successful?" Here are the seven themes that emerged from my CEO research:

1) Getting, keeping, building the best people. "I hire 15 people every hour. I want the best."
2) Engendering collaboration. "If HP could only harness the knowledge of HP."
3) Reaching global markets
4) Increasing profit. "HP makes $12 million per hour but spends $11 million per hour. I want to change that proportion."
5) Building a positive culture. "I want a company culture that is viewed positively from the inside and from the outside."
6) Customers, customers, customers
7) Driving innovation. "I want to figure out how to break linearity."

Here's my simple (some might call it simple-minded) advice: If you're a CIO, or applications development professional, or enterprise architect, ensure that your success imperatives support the CEO's. If you're living in the old IT world, they probably do not -- they are most likely oriented to technology (faster transaction times, lower storage costs). But if you've moved into the new world of BT (business technology), you are most likely halfway there.


re: What CEOs want

As a startup CTO I get it, but as a banker (previous life) I think there is more to this. CTO/ CIO's are hamstrung by competing and conflicting requirements from multiple groups (read product groups and marketing groups).In the absence of clear business vision, which is generally the case, the interpretation of business strategy is left to the product groups. This results in dysfunctional behaviour, and the CTO's only defense is to come up with the dreaded 'technology strategy' that invariably reads as business strategy, because there is no signle business strategy.In short I agree with the BT concept, but it must be supported by additional changes across the organisation, including the CMO concept as espoused by Peter Kim.

re: What CEOs want

Colin:A CIO's most dangerous moment comes when he is required to create the dreaded "IT Strategy" when the corporate strategy is unclear/unavailable/non-existent. In the absence of a corporate strategy, the best that a CIO can do is to match his success imperatives with those of the CEO. Not perfect, but better than flying absolutely blind.George

re: What CEOs want

Hi George....re item 7...you should find out what we do at AMP- I think it does exactly that. (We are a Forrester client in Australia)

re: What CEOs want

Annalie:What do you do at AMP regarding item 7? If you are breaking linearity, how are you doing it?I'd (we'd) love to know.George

re: What CEOs want

Hi George:I found your blog on "Success Imperatives" in large part to be in alignment with my experience in working with CEOS. You might be interested in reading a blog post I authored entitled "CEO Success...It's not Random" which can be viewed here: http://www.n2growth.com/blog/ceo-successits-not-randomBest wishes for continued success George...