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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The soft side is hard, a thoughtful study on leadership often told in the first person,
This review is from: The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results (Hardcover)The CIO Edge provides a unique view on leadership, stories from the leaders. Too often books on leadership either describe leader behaviors in abstract and academic terms or in self-serving prose colored by the author's admiration for the leader. The CIO edge is different in that it let's the leaders speak in their own words and share their own stories. In the process you gain insight on leadership in the first person.
Waller, Hollenbeck and Rubenstruck are clear that this book is about the personal side of leadership. Some would call it the 'soft' side compared to harder specific management and leadership techniques like governance.
Readers looking for advice and insight on these personal aspects of leadership will find strong material that describes not only what leadership means but provides you with insight in the minds of accomplished leaders. Achieving that goal requires hearing from leaders talk about their experiences in the first person and providing food for thought and reflection rather than a simple multi-step recipe to follow.
The authors break CIO leadership skills into the following areas that are necessary to drive results. Each skill is discussed in its own chapter with insights provided by accomplished leaders from companies like P&G, FEDEX, Kimberly Clark, Ford, among others.
1, Commit to leadership first, everything else second
2. Lead differently than you think
3. Embrace your softer side
4. Forge the right relationships, drive the right results
5. Master communications: always and all ways
6. Inspire others
7. Build people, not systems
These seven skills provide a great refresher and remind you that the way you lead is very important. These skills and the analysis of what it takes to be an effective leader are based on a study of more than 120,000 executives and that body of research highlights the characteristics of successful and less than successful leaders.
While the book is entitled The CIO Edge, the leadership lessons are broadly applicable to executives and managers in IT as well as the rest of the enterprise.
In many ways, the leading CIOs who share their stories are describing the requirements for every future executive who faces the need to deliver current results, work with others to resolve issues, build personal credibility up and down the organization and constantly be ready for the future. These are all parts of the CIOs job today and requirements for an effective executive in the future.
Recommended reading, particularly for executives and managers who are wondering why they have to rely too heavily on their technical abilities to lead by example rather than leading through creating a team of capable people. The book may not please people who are looking for a recipe, as I believe that this is not the author's point. Rather think of this as a book to read and reflect on the experience of these leaders and how their 'ah hah' moments apply to your situation.
The book concentrates on leaders speaking in their own words. This may make it seem that the authors were just reporting what they have been told, but each story is well placed to illustrate one of the seven points.
The book reflects a solid research foundation both in terms of its use of a study of 120,000 people and Waller's use of Gartner research. This gives the book a solid foundation, which is particularly important given the author's focus on the 'softer side' issues.
The book is focused and well written at a little under 200 pages. This makes it accessible for the busy executive and while the book repeats itself in some places, it is an overall good read.
The seven leadership skills in the CIO Edge are applicable broadly across executes and not just to executives in IT.
There is no seven-step program for the seven skills. While there is a call to action at the end of each chapter, people looking for a simple recipe in this book will not find it. That is a challenge for people wanting to improve themselves by applying the seven skills. These skills, like any skill are learned not implemented and the authors have wisely focused the book on building an understanding of the skills that can help fuel your personal reflection and adoption.
The challenges of CIOs form the context for the book rather than its detailed content. The book choses to concentrate on softer skills that are often generally applicable, second the concentration on leadership is more universal than situation specific. The book mentions but it does not dwell or concentrate heavily on the specific leadership challenges facing CIOs. People looking to read a book about the technical elements of being a CIO should look to Broadbent and Kitiz's The New CIO Leader as these two books compliment each other.
While the book is focused and well written some of the themes and ideas like IT delivering business value are repeated throughout the book. Its not a big issue, but readers will notice it after the first few chapters.
Overall a good addition to the work on what it takes to lead in a technology intensive world. A book that compliments and completes with others looking at the CIO role and rounding out the materials that support CIOs, IT leaders or really any executive that faces the leadership challenge.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What all high-performing executives (including CIOs) share in common,
This review is from: The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results (Hardcover)Once again as usual, M. McDonald's review of this book provides a thoughtful discussion...in this instance, of several of Graham Waller, George Hallenbeck and Karen Rubenstruck's key points, including the themes that they examine in terms of the seven areas (strategies, really) that drive results in the exemplary companies. I also appreciate the provision of comments by senior-level executives in several of those companies, notably Sherry Aahold (FedEx), Ramón Baez (Kimberly Clark), Stephen Fugale (CIGNA Leadership Insurance), Filippo Passerini (P&G), Nick Smither (Ford), and Carol Zierhoffer (ITT).
Based on years of data-driven research and field work, the co-authors (i.e. Waller, Hollenbeck and Rubenstruck) identified those behavior patterns and key skills that will enable a CIO (or equivalent) to gain a competitive "edge" that differentiates them as leaders. There are seven and here they are woven with the fabric of the book's narrative, a separate chapter devoted to each:
o Committing to being a leader first
o Leading more with emotional intelligence than superior "smarts"
o Embracing their softer side
o Forging the relationships needed to achieve the right results
o Practicing and mastering communication skills
o Inspiring others with a compelling vision
o Building people, not systems
Obviously, there are no headsnapping revelations among the seven, nor do Waller, Hollenbeck and Rubenstruck make any such claim; however, together, they provide a framework within which an individual can improve leadership and management skills; moreover, the same framework will also be appropriate for a program that provides such development.
Note: Years ago, I realized that there are no IT decisions, nor HR, strategy, PR, or finance decisions to make. Rather, there are only business decisions to make. That is why "great CIOs spend an inordinate amount of time providing people within the organization the following: vision, common purpose, inspiration, clear expectations, [personal] development, and an environment where the people can successfully deliver [the desired] results."
I commend Waller, Hollenbeck and Rubenstruck on their skillful use of direct address. Almost immediately (note the book's subtitle), they establish and then sustain a person rapport with their reader, invoking second-person pronouns to help their reader focus on key points. For example, "you want to use your soft skills to leverage not only your business and technical expertise, but also the power of the extended team" on Page 181 and "The results [of the co-authors' rigorous and extensive research] are what you hold in your hands: a deep foundation of empirical research augmented with extensive, qualitative data gathering and experiential knowledge" on Page 197.
One final point. Initially, I incorrectly assumed from its title and periodic references to "CIO" that this book was written primarily (if not exclusively) for those who hold that title and are employed by large organizations. That is not the case. In fact, the co-authors provide a wealth of information, contributions by real leaders in real-world situations, insights, and counsel that will be of substantial benefit to decision-makers in any organization, whatever its size of nature may be. Well-done!
5.0 out of 5 stars Unleash the other side of the success factors,
This review is from: The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results (Hardcover)Unleash the other side of the success factors that high performing CIOs should focus more on, rather than task focus
4.0 out of 5 stars it is the softer side!,
This review is from: The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results (Kindle Edition)i struggle reading books.. my best form is audible. this happens to be on my ipad..i come back to it, and the approach is good. I absolutely think too many CIOs i have worked with miss the connection. In the end, it comes back to basic great leadership ..
5.0 out of 5 stars A Practical Leadership Guide,
This review is from: The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results (Hardcover)What gets a CIO fired?
Based on the research of the authors, it's isn't due to a lack of technology chops on the part of the CIO. CIOs get fired because they fail to build effective peer relationships.
Are you someone with great analytical skills, perhaps frustrated because you frequently fail to obtain the support of others? The CIO Edge asks you to consider whether your leadership style is too focused on creating the perfect solution instead of facilitating a solution that will be embraced and executed on to drive results.
The CIO Edge reveals a trick that the best CIOs use: they lead in ways that are very different from how they reason. While the best "... use their superior analytical abilities to help derive the best possible solution, they act in a collaborative style. They seek out people to gain additional ideas that can help reinforce, refine, and improve the conclusions that emerged from their own analysis."
For the best CIOs, the mantra is: "...through people, by people, and with people. "People simply will not give you their best efforts if they feel coerced or cowed into taking a position because you have argued them into it. It doesn't really matter how compelling your argument is; people want to feel that they are part of the problem-solving and decision-making process, not as if they are just being given the solution to execute."
Convinced yet? The CIO Edge asserts that, the best build people, not systems. Taking this one step further, The CIO Edge says that the best not only believe this, but they raise their people skills to another level. The advantage to this is that by developing people all around them, the best CIOs increase their capability and capacity to deliver results. As The CIO Edge points out, "Everyone has access to the same technology. It is what you do with it that makes the difference. And it is people who decide how that technology is deployed effectively."
The collaborative, people side of the equation continually surfaced, even when talking about inspiring others. Inspiring people does not require you to solve the problem, but you do need to set meaningful direction and allow them room to operate: "People are rarely moved by someone else's elegant solution. They are inspired when they feel included and connected to a vision they can relate to, when they believe they are contributing to something worthwhile, something that is bigger than them."
Inspiration is considered vital by the best CIOs. The CIO Edge points out that this is,"Because it is the best and most efficient way to move from vision to execution--it motivates people to obtain results."
Connecting inspiration and collaboration, The CIO Edge says that, "success can only come if people want to go in the direction you want them to. That means you need to establish a collaborative vision, so that people feel part of it, and then you must manage and maintain it to make sure people stay on course. With the vision firmly established, you nurture it by motivating people all around you to fulfill it by educating, encouraging, and lending support, and then you build great teams to execute it."
A terrific sound bite from the book that sums this up nicely: soft skills yield hard results.
Are CIOs with soft skills actually "soft?" The CIO Edge makes no bones about this: "The first misconception we need to clear up is that people with great soft skills are soft themselves. The data shows the exact opposite. Great CIOs take on the toughest challenges, are accountable, and do not tolerate a victim mentality (e.g., `no one knows how hard we work'; `we would be successful, if only they would let us')."
Don't let the title of this book fool you; it's not just for CIOs! If you are looking for a great, practical leadership guide that is based on the wisdom and experiences of real leaders, I highly recommend this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for CIOs,
This review is from: The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results (Hardcover)Despite the title, this book is not just for CIOs, it is for all leaders and applies particularly well to folks managing technology disciplines. In order to more fully adopt the principles outlined in this book, I ordered copies for my full management team (over 20 managers) and have asked them to all read it and begin to embrace the recommendations and observations.
I particularly like the Venn Diagrams used throughout. These really helped to frame the challenge that all technology managers must overcome and help illustrate the balance we must achieve between managing and leading. After a long career in technology, I have experienced many managers that overlook the importance of leading people and overly focus on the management side of the equation. The folks that continue to demonstrate the most success and inspire me are focused on the leadership and people side of the equation.
I've recently taken on the challenge of improving my focus on the leadership and people side of the equation and I am employing many of the principles and practices highlighted in the CIO Edge and I am seeing early results and return on my investment. People are more responsive, more engaged, more loyal and more productive.
As I state above, I am striving to embrace this culture throughout my team by introducing my management team to the leadership side of the equation through this book and through ongoing reinforcement of the "Seven Leadership Skills". In 2011, I hope to better "Build People, Not Systems" and "Inspire Others" and realize both the "Professional and Personal Payoff" highlighted in the book.
As someone that has often relied on "toughing it out" and expecting my staff to do the same and frequently using terms like "suck it up", "quit whining" and "no excuses", this book has been an eye opener and a great reminder of how to "Embrace Your Softer Side". I have already experienced the improved results that the book emphasizes will follow. Those of you that think embracing your softer side demonstrates weakness, will appreciate the section titled "Softness does not Preclude Toughness".
The authors highlight a number of real world examples through their extensive research and interviews, all of which I find illuminating, particularly because they work with several highly respected leaders and technology executives (CIOs, CTOs, etc.).
I've been recommending The CIO Edge to colleagues on a regular basis and I've kept it handy and refer to it frequently to stay focused on areas of my continued personal and professional growth.
4.0 out of 5 stars CIO Edge,
This review is from: The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results (Hardcover)Very good insight into leadership (as opposed to management) and why it is extremely important in today's business environment. Great companion book: "Drive" by Daniel Pink.
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The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results by Graham Waller (Hardcover - November 11, 2010)