MDI Group was pleased to sponsor and attend the Premier CIO Forum and Executive IT Summit in Charlotte, NC on May 29-30, 2013. Developed by and for CIOs and senior IT executives, in conjunction with the Executive Advisory Council, the forum addresses critical topics of interest in today’s IT industry. The following is a summary of some of MDI Group’s key takeaways.
IT Leadership – Becoming a High Performing Leader

What makes a CIO not just an effective manager but an effective leader? While leadership and management go hand in hand, management focuses more on execution whereas leadership is a commitment to employees through influencing and inspiring them to improve performance. In this session, CIOs discussed their strategies for becoming high-performing leaders by delivering results through the people they manage.

There are three key components when it comes to being a high-performing leader—knowing what to do in a given situation, being resourceful and effectively executing the objective. Another part of being a high-performing leader is conveying your message and vision over and over again because beliefs lead to behaviors, behaviors lead to results and results in turn lead back to beliefs. It is also imperative for leaders to foster an environment for mentoring, maintaining an element of comfort and trust while still “challenging up.” Finally, high-performing leaders must maintain continuity in the company’s environment, regardless of attrition, in order to remain successful.

A CEO’s Perspective of IT

How is IT perceived from the top floor? In this session, two CEOs discussed their perception of IT within their own organizations. The perception of IT often depends on the industry you’re in as well as the size, maturity, customer base and business cycles of the organization. Both CEOs agreed that in order for IT to have a more profound impact on the organization, there must be a way to tie what IT professionals do back to the overall strategic objectives and goals of the company. IT also needs to have the ability to adjust its service based on the needs of specific areas of the business.

Alignment between IT and the Business

IT is becoming more and more integrated as an essential and strategic partner to the business team. As a result, C-level expectations of IT are on the rise. For example, while there is certainly a need for technical skills within IT, partnering skills and an understanding of the business perspective is also critical. IT must also be able to anticipate business needs as they shift from order-takers to strategic partners.