Kevin Campbell | March 22, 2021
I am posting this article as an editorial. It is purely my opinion based on a single discussion held recently with a group of fellow CIO’s and company IT leaders (a group of approximately 20 individuals representing a cross section of industries). I would welcome any comments or input if the reader wishes to discuss further.
The year of 2020 will go down in the history books as a world living through a global Black Swan event like very few have experienced before – the COVID-19 pandemic. Even into 2021 the pandemic is still with us and everyone is living through it, but with the medical industry responding in such a miraculous way (detection-to-vaccine in less than a year!) hope is now clearly present.
Since the early days of 2020 the IT discipline has also reacted in a phenomenal way by quickly pivoting and enabling entire organizations and their employees to switch from typical office environments to a complete work-from-anywhere model. COVID-19 has also caused many organizations to reconfigure their operations. That act of reconfiguration has transformed them and that transformation has resulted in productivity gains. CIOs have played a critical role in that transformation and are now entering 2021 with a markedly visible amount of gained influence in the Boardroom plus an expanded role in the organization.
Which brings to mind a common quote: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
Please understand that I certainly do not wish to sound dismissive or insensitive to the many, many hardships, illnesses, and grief that COVID-19 has brought to so many families across the globe. I merely reference this quote to illustrate a hypothesis that has recently been formulating in my mind, and that is:
How are we, as CIOs and IT leaders, leveraging this new level of trust and influence characterized by the superb work that was accomplished in 2020 to help lead our companies and shift from “survive to thrive” in 2021? Have we really leveraged this new-found increased influence and expanded role in the organization and really taken advantage of it? …or have we let this crisis go to waste? Are things heading back to the “pre-pandemic normal?”
As mentioned earlier, I presented this hypothesis to the group of CIOs. At the end of the 45 minute discussion, I would have to say that there were only a limited number of individuals within the group that openly shared that they were moving forward with their new level of influence and building upon their 2020 performance into 2021. As a whole, however, the sampling of the individuals present had yet to leverage their recognized influence within the organization (or selected not to share it as part of the discussion, which is very possible).
I hope that my “read” of the discussion is that most are still heads-down and working feverously to help their companies as they continue to react, survive, and move towards “thrive.” I also hope that as CIOs we are moving forward and taking advantage of any newly recognized influence within the organization, or within the senior leadership team of the company, and making our opinions heard. What I truly hope is that we do not permit the events of the past year slip by and not advance our discipline within the eyes of executive management. We have exceptional experience and insight to share, all of which greatly benefits our organizations as we move forward and thrive.