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The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership Hardcover – October 16, 2012


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The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership + The Transformational CIO: Leadership and Innovation Strategies for IT Executives in a Rapidly Changing World + The CIO Edge: Seven Leadership Skills You Need to Drive Results
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bibliomotion; 1st edition (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193713427X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937134273
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A must-read for all CIOs and those aspiring to the role. "The CIO Paradox" is a compendium of our colleagues' most valuable and sometimes painful lessons packaged up and told in a compelling and straightforward manner. Heller has distilled years of CIO experience into a pragmatic guide that not only helps CIOs everywhere to improve their game, but forces them to reflect on where they have been and, more importantly, where they should go next." (Timothy C. McCabe, SVP & CIO, Delphi)

Review

“In The CIO Paradox, Martha Heller has clearly articulated the many contradictions that permeate the CIO role. But more than that, she includes rich examples of how successful CIOs have managed to break through these contradictions. IT leadership is a balancing act, as Heller demonstrates in this entertaining and insightful book.” (Carol Zierhoffer, VP & Global CIO, Xerox)

“Martha does a great job of capturing the paradox of not just the CIO role, but of Enterprise IT as a whole. In a world that greatly admires technology and over-rewards the start-up, how is the "brand" of the enterprise CIO and the technology teams that support our business so weak? As a CIO that has survived this paradox for more than a decade, I appreciate the insights of The CIO Paradox.” (Robert B. Carter, EVP & CIO, FedEx Corporation)

“In The CIO Paradox, Heller has her finger on the pulse of the major contradictions that plague the CIO role today, including being hired to be strategic, but spending most of our time being operational. Her recommendations on how to overcome major paradoxes offer concise and helpful advice to CIOs on becoming more successful in the role.” (Gregory S. Smith, CIO at an international firm, and author of Straight to the Top: Becoming a World-Class CIO)

“Martha Heller has unparalleled access to CIOs. She advises them, writes about them, and recruits them. With her terrific book, The CIO Paradox, she lets us in on all that she has learned and the advice she has given. The result is an invaluable resource. Martha demonstrates that for CIOs to be successful in this day and age, they must achieve balance in their skills, plans, and methods to eliminate blind spots and to achieve sustainable success for their departments and for their companies.” (Peter High, President, Metis Strategy, LLC and author of World Class IT: Why Businesses Succeed When IT Triumphs)

“What makes The CIO Paradox a compelling read is the understanding Martha has of the vast challenges today's CIOs are faced with. Throughout the book you have those "aha!" moments that energize any reader who works in or supports the IT profession. The organized, blunt fashion in which she states the paradox, while injecting the perfect amount of humor, is terrific, as are her conclusions. This is not a book about IT that will bore you!” (Pamela J. Stenson, Senior Vice President & General Manager, CIO Executive Council)

“A must-read for all CIOs and those aspiring to the role. The CIO Paradox is a compendium of our colleagues' most valuable and sometimes painful lessons packaged up and told in a compelling and straightforward manner. Heller has distilled years of CIO experience into a pragmatic guide that not only helps CIOs everywhere to improve their game, but forces them to reflect on where they have been and, more importantly, where they should go next.” (Timothy C. McCabe, SVP & CIO, Delphi)

“Martha Heller has captured the essence of the exhilaration and the stress that come with being a CIO in the 21st century. In The CIO Paradox, she has articulated the complex and critical set of issues that confront CIOs every day, in every enterprise, in a witty and constructive way. Having lived the CIO role over four different decades, I was able to relate to her paradoxes and her conclusions:  that to be successful in this young and great profession you must move from being an "either, or" manager to an "and, and" leader. It will be exciting to see more and more of our next generation leaders break through these paradoxes.” (Charlie Feld, Founder, The Feld Group Institute, and author of Blind Spot IT: A Leader's Guide To IT-Enabled Business Transformation)


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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A must read for CIOs and IT leaders everywhere.
Kevin Allen
Also, the style of writing is conversational , light and complex concepts are explained in a simple but in anon trivialising manner.
C K Venkatraman
One of the best books I've read about this subject.
Adrian

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By David Rosenbaum on October 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The old joke -- CIO stands for "Career is Over" -- is less funny than ever as cloud computing and the consumerization of information technology threatens to make the CIO role irrelevant. Heller, who apparently has had an enormous amount of experience talking with CIOs and finding them jobs, offers advice on how CIOs can survive and thrive during the current computing paradigm shift. The book is written in an easy, chatty, informal style that belies its deep understanding of the pressures on CIOs to deliver more with less in world where the demand for IT services is ever increasing even as the supply is constrained. I think CIOs, and anyone interested in the future of IT in business, will be both entertained and informed by a book that's hitting the right topic at the right time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Rather than one paradox, as this book's title suggests, Martha Heller rigorously and eloquently examines several separate but related paradoxes: Cost versus Innovation, Operations versus Strategy, Futurist versus Archivist, IT and Business Paradox, Accountability versus Ownership, Recruiting, Enterprise Architecture, Successor, Corporate Board, CIO Career Path, and Future of the CIO Role. What's the problem? Actually, there are dozens and most result from a flaw in a management mindset, what is generally referred to as "zero sum thinking." It is sometimes expressed as "Either/Or." In essence, it asserts mutual-exclusivity. For example, consider these dimensions of the CIO's role:

o Hired to be strategic but spends most time and energy on operations
o Charged to be a steward of risk mitigation and cost containment, yet expected to innovate
o Viewed as a service provider, yet expected to be a business driver
o IT can make or break a company but a CIO rarely sits on a board.

You get the idea. And note the resemblance to what had once been paradoxes of the CFO. Years ago, my late and cherished friend, Jeremy Hope, wrote Reinventing the CFO: How Financial Managers Can Transform Their Roles and Add Greater Value (Harvard Business Review Press, 2006). What he tried to do for CFOs and their companies is what Heller is trying to do for CIOs and their companies. Resolving various paradoxes by reinventing the CIO is in the best-interests of current and aspiring CIOs, of course, but also in the best interests of stakeholders, the given organization, its industry, and -- yes -- the global economy.

These are among the dozens of business subjects and issues of special interest and value to me, also listed to indicate the scope of Heller's coverage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Peter Naccarato on October 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Martha Heller not only speaks to those well versed in the IT-world and those who have encountered the CIO paradox in their own professional lives, she also speaks to those of us who have struggled to know how best to support our IT staff and maximize the benefits of limited resources. I have been in so many meetings and participated in so many conversations in which IT leaders and staff are blamed for problems -- so many of which are beyond their power to fix. With a wonderfully accessible and conversational style, Heller helps anyone whose business relies on IT (and these days, whose doesn't?) understand how to work collaboratively with IT leaders to address problems, maximize resources, and built a strong IT department.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Abbie Lundberg on October 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Being a CIO is one of the toughest jobs in the world of business. So naturally, there have been a number of books written about its challenges and how to be successful. The CIO Paradox stands out on a number of fronts.
First, it begins and ends with practice rather than theory. Heller's insights are directly tied to the on-the-job experiences and learnings of some of the world's top CIOs, whose stories fill the book.
Second, while Heller organizes all that she's learned into a framework of sorts (the 12 paradoxes, organized into four sections on the CIO's role, stakeholder relationships, staff leadership and the future), she doesn't try to tie things up too neatly. There are no simple answers to complex problems, and it doesn't get much more complex than organizational and technology leadership in the midst of the shift to a digital economy. What there is instead is some great proven advice that CIOs can trust to help them start solving the paradox for themselves.
Finally, Heller's book is different in its readability. It's like having a series of engaging conversations with a super networker, which Heller definitely is. Too many business books feel like taking your medicine. The experience of reading The CIO Paradox is more like enjoying a good meal.
Full disclosure: I worked with Martha for years at CIO magazine, where I was editor in chief and she launched and ran the CIO Best Practices Exchange and its successor, the CIO Executive Council. While this may bias me somewhat, it also provides weight to my knowledge of her experience and credibility. You can read my interview with her on the launch of The CIO Paradox at
[...]
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Allison C. Rimm on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
As a senior executive who oversaw the IT department of a major academic medical center for over a decade, I know firsthand that Martha Heller describes a true phenomenon that calls upon CIOs to cultivate a depth of knowledge of corporate behavior if they are to thrive in their careers. Tech savvy, strategic thinking and organizational intelligence don't always come together in a single individual, yet all are critical to success in this pivotal role plagued by the contradictions Heller so clearly describes. Her insights inspire and deliver practical ways to deliver the value their companies so critically rely on. This will become the CIO's bible in no time.
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