Graham Waller

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Graham P. Waller
VP, Executive Partner
6 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Graham Waller is a vice president and executive partner with Gartner Executive Programs. He supports CIO clients across variety of industries, assisting them in business-IT alignment and maximizing IT value. Read Full Bio

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Reactions from Cannes and Orlando Symposia to ‘The CIO Edge’ Book Launch

by Graham Waller  |  November 15, 2010  |  Comments Off

“This session alone has paid for my trip to Orlando Symposium”.  Such was the reaction of one South American based CIO after attending the presentation entitled ‘Combine Strategy and Leadership to Maximize IT’s Contribution’.   

As I reflect on The CIO Edge’ book launch at the recent Symposia events, I’m invigorated by the numerous times people made a point of telling me how they personally related to the core messages of the book.  Soft skills yield hard results.  It is people leadership skills that distinguish, and enable the success, of high performing CIOs. 

A CIO from a major European city who is tackling a tough transformation agenda, came alive as she embraced how changing her approach to emphasize the human dynamics, rather than procedural steps such as governance, was the key to achieving the desired business outcomes.  A CIO from transportation sector immediately connected how specific skills, such as a ‘Social and Participative’ leadership style, would make or break the success of the next phase of his IT strategy. He now plans to in incorporate these specific skills into upcoming talent reviews.  

During workshops I asked attendees to conduct a simple self assessment to identify which of the seven skills has the potential to most positively impact their future success.  In Orlando the clear number one was ‘Being a Leader First and Everything Else Second’.  The workshop attendees readily embraced its importance, however simultaneously acknowledged just how hard it is to live this as their primary role everyday. While in Cannes the skill of ‘Forging Right Relationships’, particularly with horizontal business partners, was the skill ranked number one by those attendees.   

At both Orlando and Cannes attendees continually stopped me to say just how much they enjoyed the candor and perspectives from the great CIOs on the panels I had the privilege to moderate.  I cannot do justice in the short space here to the wealth of leadership insight the CIO panelists kindly shared, so therefore plan to make this the focus of upcoming blog posts. 

Having worked for nearly three years, along with my co-authors of ‘The CIO Edge’, it is immensely fulfilling to witness the connection people had to our research findings.  If you attended any of the sessions at a Symposium event, or have had the opportunity to read the book, I would love to hear which aspects connected with you and why.   

                                ‘Carpe diem’ my friends, Graham

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