Do or Die Leadership Moment: AI Requires Courageous, Creative and Effective Helmsmanship from Forward-Thinking CIOs

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One of the many reasons I love our global HMG Strategy network of top business technology leaders and executives is that it continually generates brilliant new ideas and truly original perspectives that drive our industry forward.

Last week, I had the honor of chairing the HMG Strategy National Advisory Board of Champions roundtable discussion. This is a gathering of world-class thought leaders and technology experts who focus on guiding meaningful transformational change on a global scale.

Our main topic was why trust matters in AI and the role of the CIO in managing AI as a strategic asset to the organization. From my own point of view, I see this as a `do-or-die’ moment for CIOs and other senior-level business technology executives.

Many of us have already heard stories of companies that have responded to the risks and challenges of AI by simply blocking URLs associated with AI companies. To me and to most of the executives at the roundtable, the idea of blocking URLs with the letters `AI’ in them seems preposterous. And that some organizations feel so threatened by AI that they feel such extreme steps are justified.

In our excellent conversation, led by me and my good friend, Dr, David Bray, we agreed that a more nuanced approach is necessary. First of all, AI isn’t entirely new. It’s been around since the 1950s. Moreover, we’ve all had plenty of experience dealing with innovative and disruptive technologies. A dozen years ago, the cloud seemed like a major challenge. Now, it’s standard tech. I strongly suspect that ten years from now, AI will seem similarly familiar.

A key point that emerged from our conversation is that AI offers benefits and poses risks. Great CIOs will seize this opportunity to explain the risks and rewards of AI to their boards in clear business language that boards can readily understand.

Make no mistake: Developing the right language for explaining AI will be absolutely critical. That’s because there’s a real potential for organizational disruption if someone other than the CIO becomes the point person for AI. If you’re the CIO, do you really want your role to become diluted by the addition of a Chief AI Officer? Again, from my perspective, creating a C-level post for AI would be a step in the wrong direction.

That’s why I’m serious about calling this a `do-or-die’ moment for CIOs and other senior-level business technology executives. If you think `shadow IT’ was bad, I predict that `shadow AI’ would be worse.

Now’s the time to exercise your executive leadership skills and develop a board-ready strategy for AI. Leading AI strategy will require courage, knowledge, wisdom, experience and superlative communications skills. I’ve learned over the course of my career that great leaders know how to leverage technology to create and expand growth in core, adjacent, parallel and new markets.

The good news is that you’ve got the world’s strongest network of top-tier business technology leaders and executives at your back. The global HMG Strategy community has you covered. We’re the best source of unbiased and unfiltered information about developing trends in technology leadership. Stick with us and we’ll grow the future together.

To hear more about the role of CIOs and business technology executives in shepherding AI across the enterprise and to become part of the discussion, click here to attend one of our upcoming regional CIO summits.  

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