April 10, 2009

The CIO’s Inner Circle

Executives, such as CIOs, need to surround themselves with plenty of smart and talented people to be successful leaders. Even the greatest of CIOs is not superman and cannot go it alone. He/she needs a diverse workforce with the full spectrum of capabilities to tackle the most challenging problems facing the organization.

In building our teams, leaders need to understand themselves and how they relate to others. Some common instruments that help to do this are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI). Myers-Briggs classifies people according to their preferences for introversion/extroversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judging/perceiving. Similarly, the SDI charts people according to their altruism, assertiveness, and analytic. Both of these give people insight into their own personalities as well as provide a typology for those we work with.

MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2009, provides yet a new profile to categorize the support network of leaders in “Profiles of Trust: Who to Turn To, and for What”.

The profiles of people in the CIO’s support (“trust”) network comprise 8 types that “reflect differing combinations of the three facets of trust—ability, integrity, and benevolence.” They are as follows:

  1. Harsh truthtellers—“sought out for their honesty…what needs to be said, not necessarily what people want to hear.”
  2. Moral compasses—“respected…for their unwavering sense of right and wrong.”
  3. Loyal supporters—“values are closely aligned with those of the support-seeker [leader].”
  4. Star players—“experts renowned for their talent, but not necessarily for their ‘people skills.’”
  5. Average Joes—“moderate levels of ability, benevolence, and integrity.”
  6. Dealmakers—they “’get things done,’ often directly and unceremoniously, in a manner reminiscent of, say, a Tony Soprano.”
  7. Cheerleaders—“provide unconditional support…willingness to ‘be there’ no questions asked, to lend moral support.”
  8. Trustworthy partners—They ‘have it all’…they are capable, have high integrity, and have the support-seeker’s best interests at heart.”

“Executives are likely to build a support network based on different types of relationships with different people (who span the above eight profiles).” For example, when actionable advice is needed, those with high ability and integrity will be called upon. When looking for emotional or political support, those high in benevolence and integrity are especially valuable. And when looking for raw information, the “average Joes” with all three attributes in moderation are there to assist.

Of course, the specific people called upon for their subject matter expertise will vary according to the occasion and the needs of leadership. And regardless of who is called upon, and when, to provide their support, everyone serves a vital purpose.

So to me, what it important here is that everyone in a diverse workforce is infinitely valuable. And while no one person or type of person can do everything, everyone can do something. Those executives who build the breadth and depth of talent around them will have the human capital assets to thrive in any situation.


1 comment:

gmtomko said...

Nice article.Too often, leaders do not spend the time and use the tools to understand people development and what drives them. The insights gained make it much easier to correctly place people in roles that wre well-suited and increase the probability of success for the individual and the organization. I occasionally write about people ar www.ciorant.com