7 Skills that the CEO wants from the CIO

Probably the most important relationship a CIO has is with the CEO. A good relationship between these two people means the business understands the potential benefits the IT team can deliver to the rest of the business and in turn, the IT strategy gets the buy-in from the visionary head of the company — hopefully the person who the other business-line heads will fall in behind.

To lay the foundations for the best possible relationship, the CIO has to fulfill certain expectations from the CEO, according to Stephen Miles, at headhunters Heidrick & Struggles. Many of them resonate closely with the skills the CEO has to posess, but others are distinctly complementary. Here are the seven skills CIOs need to gain the trust of the top boss:

1. Can stand up to a stress test — One of the roles inside many corporations that has truly been stress-tested is that of CIO. Many of the major change and transformative programs have been delivered through technology, and the CIO has been at the epicenter of these initiatives. Some CIOs hold up well to the stress test of major challenges — including events such as systems failures — while others blow out.


2. Possessing a keen risk radar — The best CIOs go beyond just delivering the systems and technology to thinking broadly about risk. In some companies, the CIO has been instrumental in partnering with the head of risk to deliver the technological architecture for a company to manage and sniff out risk.

These CIOs not only try to manage risks but also try to proactively prevent them — by asking questions and using their broad tentacles into the entire organization to sniff out the whiffs of smoke before they become a forest fire.