CIO’s – what’s your focus?

Early this week, I asked a question to my readers (and myself).

The question was “What’s your focus?” and immediately after publishing the post, I read a great post titled “The HR Professional – Chasing two Rabbits” over on Fistful of Talent that basically asks the same question.

In the article, the author points out an old Chinese Proverb that says:

“A hunter who chases two rabbits catches neither one.”

Great proverb…and one that fits the current HR world perfectly according to the author.  The post continues with:

I’m thinking this is a similar situation in HR. There are two rabbits in its cross hairs – the strategy, the big picture, seat at the table – and the little stuff, I-9’s, Benefits Enrollment, 401K enrollment, policies, procedures.

I’d say this is the same problem IT faces today.  There are at least two rabbits in the CIO’s cross-hairs – Strategy Rabbit & Tactical Rabbit.  Which do you focus on? Can you focus on just one?

CIO’s – What’s your focus?

The role of the CIO has always been one that required an ability to handle multiple projects and juggle multiple priorities.  The problem with juggling multiple priorities is the same as the hunter trying to chase two rabbits.

While there are some CIO’s who’ve been able to handle the multiple priorities put upon the IT group, I’ve not met many who’ve done a good job of it.  I’ve met some IT groups who were great at implementing new systems but poor at maintaining them after ‘go live’.  I’ve met CIO’s who have a great mind for tactics (i.e., operations) but did a poor job with the strategic thinking that is necessary in today’s world.

So what’s a CIO to do in this fast-paced world with multiple priorities?  It’s impossible to say that you should pick the Strategic or Tactical and focus on that…but one of these ‘rabbits’ must win out over the other.

Should the CIO be focused on the Strategic or Tactical?

I think the CIO’s focus should be on the strategic aspects of IT & business…but perhaps there are some CIO’s out there who want to focus on the tactical.  Fine…pick one and focus…but you’ve got to find someone on your team to focus on the other. Find your focus and get moving….let members of your team focus on other aspects (e.g., operations, etc).

You’ve got 2 rabbits to chase…chase them by yourself and you’ll most likely miss them both.  Find another hunter to help and you’ll get both rabbits.

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