CIOs, as all people in life, do not come in one flavor. One way of categorizing them is shown in Figure 1. Think of a CIO you know. Think of the first axis – where are they on the “Understanding vs. Doing” scale. There is a trade-off being impatient to produce things, and ensuring that the right things are produced. There is no right answer; you can be a successful CIO at both ends of the scale. But people have a natural personality or social style that fits somewhere on that scale. It is useful to think about the CIO fits on that scale, and to think about where you are on that scale.
Now take the vertical axis, the “Production Vs. People” scale. All people think about people, and get things done through people, but some put a high priority on getting people to buy into their plans, and some put a higher priority on focusing just on production, on how things work, and what needs to be done. Where does your CIO fit on that scale, and where do you fit?
Put the two scales together, and you have a 2 x 2 grid of social style.
- Bottom right is the “Driving CIO” who focuses on the bottom line, asks what your recommendations are, wants to get things done quickly and is not so interested in how things work
- Bottom left is the “Analytical CIO” who focuses on understanding how things work and how all the pieces will work together
- Top left is the “Social CIO” who focuses on bringing everybody into the discussion, on obtaining consensus, on ensuring that any course of action is proven and that the initiative has worked before
- Top right is the “Visionary CIO” who focuses on using IT to transform the way the organization does business.
As was said before, there is no right model for a successful CIO – all four CIO types can be very successful. From a marketing perspective however, each type of CIO will focus on being comfortable with one aspect of a technology decision first, and will not go on to look at other questions until they are.
The average CIO is where the red dot is on figure 1, leaning to the doing and production sides of the center.
Action Item: There are four questions that you have to answer for a CIO to get buy in. In one-on-one marketing, you take the question that accords with his own model first. But if you are marketing to CIOs in general, the order you tackle the questions should be:
- What is the bottom line?
- How does it work?
- Who else is doing it?
- How does it help transformation?