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Straight to the Top: CIO Leadership in a Mobile, Social, and Cloud-based World, 2nd Edition by Gregory S. Smith

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CHAPTER 10

What's after the CIO Role?

Exert your talents and distinguish yourself, and don't think of retiring from the world until the world will be sorry that you retire.

—Samuel Johnson1

Career Next Steps

As I prepared for this chapter, it struck me that CIOs spend so much time preparing for their executive IT role and doing it well that they don't think much about the next career step. When I look at the role itself, the number of years' experience it takes to ascend to the role, and the average number of years a CIO practices IT, it's no wonder many don't think beyond the role of the CIO—they retire. For those who are thinking about options, there are several.

Chief Executive Officer

According to CIO magazine, “It's a success indicator for CIOs who are taking on formal or informal responsibilities in non-IT aspects of the business or moving up to the CEO role.” Traditionally, the CEO sets the criteria for performance throughout the organization and for most of the C-level positions. The article indicates that while good CIOs stand up well against their bosses and can even outperform them on occasion, a common gap is in the area of “strategic business leadership.” It is this gap that CIOs aspiring to the role of the CEO need to pay attention to and focus on.2

According to Egon Zehnder International, a global executive recruiting company that has significant experience assessing executive talent, there are competency differences between CEOs and CIOs. Using a database of 25,000 ...

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