Business is moving at a breakneck pace. Thanks to the growing onslaught of digital innovations such as the Internet of Things, many business activities have shifted to real-time.

In order to keep in stride with the speed of business, CIOs need to enable swift execution of processes and operations across all corners of the enterprise. Meeting these requirements demands speed. Speed to partnerships. Speed to communications. Speed to achieving trusting relationships. And speed to performance.

It’s critical for CIOs to be able to forge partnerships quickly with a variety of sources. CIOs need to build trust and promptly understand the strategic goals of key constituents such as the CEO, CFO, CMO, HR, and line of business leaders to be able to help them address their needs rapidly.

Providing the business with cutting-edge technologies that can enable competitive differentiation also requires speed to partnerships with the vendor community. This demands having active sonar to identify emerging technology companies and staying on top of the latest developments offered by established players.

Speed to vendor partnerships can also provide companies with a leg up on competitors through innovative applications of technology. For instance, data aggregators that offer customer data identification capabilities can allow marketing to distinguish high-value customers more quickly and provide them with relevant messaging that can strengthen conversion rates.

Courageous CIOs also must enable to speed to communications, both across the C-suite between top stakeholders and by providing the tools and technologies needed to strengthen collaboration across departments and geographies.

But more than anything, it’s about the CIO acting as a communications facilitator between key constituents and organizational teams. As noted by Larry Bonfante, Executive Coach, CIO Bench Coach, CIO at the United States Tennis Association in an HMG Strategy video, “The most important role we play as CIOs in this day and age is as relationship managers. It’s really understanding how to work with people and to collaborate to get results, whether that’s people in your business or people who are consumers of your products and services or people who are at the key stakeholder level. It’s about collaboration, relationship management, and driving change through working together. If you’ve got those skill sets to work with people, you’ll be successful and if you don’t, you really need to adapt and get those very quickly.”

Successful CIOs also engender trust quickly, especially in their relationships with CXOs. As CIOs takes a more proactive role in forming business strategy and creating value, they also must demonstrate their thorough understanding of the business and the opportunities for using technologies to drive strategic innovation in ways that can differentiate the company in its markets and to its customers. Ultimately, it’s about being part of a team and working together to achieve shared goals.

A PwC study bears this out, revealing that companies which have strong relationships between the CIO and the rest of the C-suite are four times as likely as less collaborative teams to be in the top quartile of margin growth, revenue growth, and innovation.

CIOs and CXOs that have trusting, collaborative relationships are also likely to achieve speed to performance, which is ever more critical in today’s lightning-fast business environment. CIOs that can enable speed to disruption in business position the enterprise to gain a competitive advantage by delivering products and services under new business models that are tailored to meet changing customer preferences.

To paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, courage is about looking fear in the face and acting quickly. CIOs who embrace speed and demonstrate a willingness to go outside their comfort zones position themselves to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive business climate.

Key Takeaways

  • In order to keep up with the pace of business, CIOs require speed: Speed to partnerships. Speed to communications. Speed to achieving trusting relationships. And speed to performance.
  • Achieving speed to partnerships requires CIOs to have active sonar to identify emerging technology companies and stay on top of the latest technology innovations offered by established players.
  • CIOs that form trusting, collaborative relationships with CXOs are also likely to achieve speed to performance, which is table stakes in today’s lightning-fast business environment.