A recent survey of chief information officers (CIOs) ranks the ten most important things to achieve in the first days of taking on the role.

  1. Understand the corporate strategy and assess how well the department you have inherited is aligned with that strategy.
  2. Communicate your own goals and leadership style to your team.
  3. Identify key success factors for IT from the perspective of all business unit and function heads.
  4. Structure your days and weeks so that you have time to learn, focus and create short-term value while preparing a long-term plan.
  5. Work with each group within your department to get a feel for team dynamics and individual team members.
  6. Establish interpersonal relationships with influential people and lay the groundwork for coalitions.
  7. Understand the history and current state of the relationship between the IT department and each business unit or corporate function.
  8. Target early wins that matter to your boss.
  9. Identify the informal networks in the organisation. (Who has the ear of the boss? Whom do frontline employees really trust and follow?)
  10. Negotiate the terms for success with your boss.

Source: Poll of 67 CIO respondents, published in "A Running Start: Success in Your First 90 Days on the Job," CIO Executive Council, December 2006.