Mark McDonald

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Archives for November, 2009


Great CIOs ask good questions, what makes a great CIO.

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 30, 2009  |  5 Comments

No one person has all the answers all of the time.  The world is just too complex, moves too fast and has too many variables for an executive to know everything and be right every time.  Great executives, including great CIOs, know this and therefore demonstrate mastery not by the answers they give, but by [...]

5 Comments »

Category: CIO Leadership Tools     Tags: , , ,

Great CIOs communicate clearly, what makes a great CIO

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 27, 2009  |  3 Comments

Business issues are complex.  IT issues are technical.  The combination raises the communications bar for the CIO and IT even higher.  Good CIOs can explain the technical and operational implications of a business issue.  They can go into detail about how things work, why they are the way they are and the business issues they [...]

3 Comments »

Category: CIO Leadership     Tags: , , ,

Great CIOs understand IT’s leverage points: what makes a great CIO

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 25, 2009  |  Comments Off

Great CIOs understand IT’s leverage points in their business model. Information and Technology create leverage.  That is their primary contribution in any enterprise.  Enterprises create leverage by using IT to multiply their results either by raising the productivity of their people or the power of their solutions. Automation creates leverage by performing work previously done [...]

Comments Off

Category: CIO Leadership     Tags: , ,

Great CIOs are business leaders: what makes a great CIO

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 24, 2009  |  3 Comments

Great CIOs are business leaders and see business results. The time was that being a great CIO involved being a great technologist.  The relationship between leadership and mastery of a subject matter is strong, particularly in technical disciplines.  After all how can a programmer easily follow someone who cannot write a line of code? If [...]

3 Comments »

Category: CIO Leadership     Tags: , , ,

Great CIOs have Great Teams: what makes a good CIO great

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 23, 2009  |  5 Comments

Great CIOs have great teams. The statement almost is understood, but its true that the strength of any one leader can be measured by the strength of her teams.  In terms of “Good to Great” this means getting the right people ‘on the bus ‘ and in the right seats.  Creating a great team is [...]

5 Comments »

Category: CIO Leadership     Tags: , ,

What makes a good CIO great?

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 19, 2009  |  14 Comments

Good question, tough answer.  Jim Collins provides ideas regarding the differences between good and great.  He discussed them at these years Gartner Symposium CIO Program in Orlando.  Collins, the best selling business author and advisor, has studied the differences between good and great companies and leaders for more than twenty years.  His books Build to [...]

14 Comments »

Category: CIO Leadership Personal Observation     Tags: , , ,

CIO – Christmas in October or the Nightmare before Christmas

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 18, 2009  |  Comments Off

I have been thinking about something I saw a few weeks ago. In a sign of how tough 2009 is retailers around the country have jumped the gun on Christmas.  Traditionally Christmas decorations and sales began with Black Friday – this year November 27th.  But the Thanksgiving holiday is late this year and retailers are [...]

Comments Off

Category: Economy Personal Observation     Tags: , , , ,

Your organization chart and what it tells others

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 18, 2009  |  4 Comments

An enterprise tells its story in documents ranging from formal strategies to shared values embedded in the company culture.  One document in particular tells you much about a company – the organization chart. Take a look at your org chart and you can see not only how work gets done, but also gain insight into [...]

4 Comments »

Category: Leadership Tools     Tags: , , , ,

Contemplating an IT-less recovery

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 16, 2009  |  2 Comments

I was at an event a few weeks ago hosted by a leading IT journalist who made the following opening remarks.  “Good times are ahead for IT.  A new investment cycle should happen soon as we have postponed infrastructure upgrades for too long.”  His tone was upbeat and encouraging.  The only thing was that the [...]

2 Comments »

Category: Economy Strategy     Tags: , , , ,

Management by McCarthyism – one of the signs of weak management

by Mark P. McDonald  |  November 13, 2009  |  4 Comments

Note:  This piece seems to have missed its posting.  Its part of a series on  Signs of Weak Management so please consider this as part of that series, just a little out of sequence. All business is a people business to one extent or the other. Business effectiveness or dysfunction results in part from the [...]

4 Comments »

Category: Leadership Signs of weak management     Tags: , , ,