About 30 to 50 per cent of executives - including CIOs - leave their role within 18 months.
This means that transitions should always be on a CIO’s agenda, says Gartner.
Transitions are inevitable - and their causes vary.
CIOs who deliver underwhelming performance or are unable to deliver on the vision and strategy will find that the CEOs, CFOs and boards will not hesitate to replace them.
CIOs may also find themselves leaving the company to retire, or move to a new job, whether in the same company or an external organisation.
Their exit could be unexpected, such as forced resignation, demotion or as a result of a merger and acquisition.
“No matter what the exit trigger is, CIOs must always have a transition-ready mindset,” advise Gartner analysts Remi Gulzar, Monika Sinha and Irving Tylers.
In a recent research report, the three analysts share pointers for crafting the CIO’s exit plan.
Read your environment, and take note of any shifts in expectations from key stakeholders.
During a transition, CIOs must skillfully balance stakeholder needs and personal aspirations, they state.
They lists five steps CIOs can take as they transition to a new role:
Understand your role: How is the CIO role perceived in the enterprise? What is your current role, and what is your potential future role?
Assess your performance, and spot any vulnerabilities: Read your environment, and take note of any shifts in expectations from key stakeholders.
Prepare for your transition: Take inventory of all stakeholder needs and your own personal ambition to craft an exit plan that will safeguard your brand and reputation. Inform stakeholders of their roles in your transition.
Execute your transition: Invoke your exit plan to ready your successor, and pass your stakeholder responsibilities on to your successor. Ready yourself for your next role.
Transition and reflect: If you have a formal exit meeting with relevant enterprise leadership, reflect on the recognised strengths and opportunities that were created.
Watch out for visible and nonvisible signals
The report says CIOs will be exposed to a number of triggers and must be able to recognise them early on to spot a transition opportunity or threat, and respond in a timely manner.
These triggers can be both visible and nonvisible. CIOs may see their roles shifting to other executive positions. Or, they may need to leave the organisation to seek new opportunities that are a better match with their professional and personal goals.
But whatever the trigger, CIOs and their enterprises will benefit from a well-executed transition, they state.
It also positions CIO’s team for success with the new leader, and shows to existing and future leadership that “the CIO is an accountable leader.”
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