How does a CIO become CEO?

Do you know your Executive Quotient (EQ)? By figuring your EQ, you can determine how well you're positioned to be the strategy-oriented CIO that businesses are demanding.


Your EQ can be measured across a set of executive leadership competencies that are essential for any well-rounded C-level executive – including IT leaders who want to move beyond the limits of function head and its focus on operations, alignment and order-taking.

It's also 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 chief executive officer (CEO) role.

Your CEO sets the benchmark for performance across all executive competencies. The good news is that the best CIOs stand up well against their bosses and even outperform them in many competencies. The bad news is that they underperform significantly in competencies unique to strategic business leadership. This gap defines the development goals IT leaders need to set in order to advance their individual EQ, their careers and the CIO profession as a whole.

Helping the CIO profession fulfill its desired and necessary strategic role is the reason the CIO Executive Council developed its Future-State CIO program, of which the EQ competency assessment is the heart. The Council partnered with global executive recruiting company Egon Zehnder International to adapt its competencies and assessment model to gauge CIO EQ.

In 40 years of assessing executive talent, Egon Zehnder chose this set of competencies because of its predictive value in identifying top-performing executives. These are the behaviours that differentiate good executives from great executives, says Stephen Kelner, global knowledge leader of Egon Zehnder's talent management and management appraisal practice group.

Kelner describes the competency of Market Knowledge to illustrate the range in performance levels. The Market Knowledge score indicates how well an executive understands the marketplace, including customers, suppliers, competitors and regulators.

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