C Suite – Do You Know Your Strengths? Business is People, Process, and Systems. Mr. CEO, CFO, CIO – do you know where you fit in the box below? If not, it would be a great idea to determine this and know your strengths. Review the below boxes and see where you fit.
CEO (Chief Executive Officer)
- Knows Technology – Understands technology as a whole. Can help drive metrics, processes, and capitalize on technology as a strategic asset and is on board with aligning the business strategy with technology.
- Aware – Knows enough to hang in there in meetings, keeps learning and asking the right questions, but wants to stay focused on the business strategy.
- Faking It – Stays focused on business strategy and is quiet when technology discussions take place. Keeps bringing it back to the point of whether it is going to help the company hit its targets, which he does understand. Careful to talk when technology is an integral part of the solution.
- Total Delegation – Defers all decisions to CFO or CIO. Does vision and strategy from the total business viewpoint with very little technology discussions.
CFO (Chief Financial Officer)
- The Numbers – experience in multiple positions in finance, controller, auditing, financial planning. Usually an internal hire.
- Strategist – Usually outside hire, experience in operations, marketing, and general management. Runs tight ship and has business influence.
- KPI – Love scoreboards, measurable targets, and clear goals. Follows best practice without bias.
- Growth – Least common of CFO’s. Growth is the target and usually has experience in mergers/acquisitions, private equity, or venture capitalism.
CIO (Chief Information Officer)
- Strategy/Leader – As the name implies, a structured approach to moving IT forward and building its reputation for delivering business results. Liaises closely with the other C-level executives to ensure alignment. May also exhibit various other traits, but will do so within a defined and well-organized framework.
- Business Optimization – Can be a charismatic leader, often parachutes into a situation for a short period to take control, optimize it, and hand off so they can move onto the next challenge. Detailed for a project at a time. Works with C-level executives for incremental and quantum improvements to drive the business forward. Has tendency to ignore smaller issues.
- Operational/Tactical – Keeps IT on an even keel. Will solve the immediate issues and upgrade legacy technology when needed. Is likely to drive incremental change and evolution, but is unlikely to set the World on fire.
- Technical – Happiest when talking technology. Often this person has come up through the ranks. Is more likely to discuss solutions than strategy. Loves having the latestsake. gadget. May have a tendency to have lots of IT driven projects that the business is not championing. Runs the danger of having technology for technology’s
Being aware of you and your team is important. It will change the reporting structure especially when it comes to IT. Depending on the type of CFO you have, the CEO and CFO may have to jointly manage the CIO position. I have seen too many implementation of technology go bad due to not understanding the type of C Suite that is in place.
This has a lot to do with capitalizing on technology as a strategic asset (link to my blog). Get outside help to assess who your team is. Some of this can be learned and some of this is just knowing your natural wiring and strengths to capitalize on them.
TAKE THESE ACTIONS NOW
- Know the box you fit in
- Know your strengths
- Cover your weaknesses
- Hire someone to cover your weakness
- Outsource a portion of your weakness to make sure it is covered
- This will save more of you than you think
- Have fun with knowing your weaknesses
- Don’t be insecure – it helps no one
If you have questions, please leave me a comment.