by Michael Maoz | June 29, 2017 | Comments Off on Empathy, the CIO’s Horsefeathers.
Go Google Empathy and the CIO and the results returned are miniscule compared to a search for “Power and the CIO,” “Success and the CIO” or “Leadership,” or “Technology and the CIO.” Anywhere between 20-1 and 100-1. Empathy rarely appears in any list of priorities for CIOs of any type: Large enterprise, SMB, Government CIO.
Being known for empathy is right up there with being known as the Lighthouse Keeper on Lake Huron. Recently I finished a series of three research notes on Gartner.com about Empathy. Each of the three is among the least-read documents I have published in the past five years. A Magic Quadrant, by comparison, might have 25x the readership.
How is the CIO expected to improve the customer experience, or enhance a customer journey, when concern for the welfare of the customer is right up there behind knowing the pairings at the Players Championship (no need to explain to a CIO that this is a golfing event).
If you are in the C-Suite, you are pretty much to blame for the lack of prioritization of and focus on empathy of your CIO. They take there cues from you. There is a separate breed of CEO who is not enamored of the un-empathetic CIO. In a great HBR article, Elena Lytkina Botelho and her three co-authors highlight what makes the CEO great: Fast, decisive, engaging (high situation-awareness and empathy), highly adaptable (super neural plasticity), and reliable performance in their role. See https://hbr.org/2017/05/what-sets-successful-ceos-apart – The great CEOs.
Ask yourselves: if 80% of CIOs aspire to become CEOs one day, and empathy and customer centricity are key to the CEO role, might we all not pause and conclude that a little empathy training might help the dismal rate of rise to, and success as, CEO that we see from CIOs?
If you are a CIO, or an aspiring CIO, take a look at the role that empathy and customer centricity and customer experience play in making a business successful, and compare that to the role that ‘best technology’ on its own plays. To catapult out of confirmation bias, ask someone you trust to look at you critically and constructively to arrive at a conclusion.
If you have great examples of CIOs who have made the successful transition to CEO who are NOT empathetic, send them across! In return you will receive a bundle of horsefeathers.
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