Research has found that most people have failed to achieve their New Year’s Resolutions by February 1st. But CIOs cannot afford to be among this group — because the fate of their company may be on the line.
According to Gartner, here are 10 CIO resolutions for 2021 (note: even if you aren’t a CIO, these resolutions are good and timely advice for IT and InfoSec pros).
Resolution #1: Stop Thinking About 2020
The list of unfinished projects kept growing in 2020, and many CIOs are understandably anxious about their massive to-do list. However, the past is the past. CIOs shouldn’t dwell on what they weren’t able to accomplish, but should instead pick a project, set an ambitious but realistic target date, and strive to make it happen. Focus on what can be done this year — not on what wasn’t done last year.
Resolution #2: Become a Virtual Leader
The shift from in-person to virtual leadership can be difficult. CIOs need to equip their remote teams with the right tools and technologies to keep everyone engaged, connected, and focused on achieving strategic business priorities. Gartner also reminds CIOs that they need to “look the part” when it comes to attending or hosting virtual meetings.
Resolution #3: Cultivate Allies
Most CIOs see themselves as defensive and more reactionary than proactive. Gartner says that for CIOs to forge ahead in 2021, they need to go on the offensive and cultivate allies — or else they may lose out in the Machiavellian warzone of corporate politics. CIOs who aren’t media savvy should also consider training courses to learn techniques for deflection and bridging.
Resolution #4: Analyze Before Dismissing “Crazy” Ideas
As organizations try to find their bearings amidst unprecedented uncertainty, CIOs are going to get their fair share (or probably more than their fair share) of unusual, unlikely, or just plain crazy, ideas in 2021. CIOs are advised not to automatically dismiss these seemingly bizarre ideas, but instead reflect on them and see if there is at least something to springboard a discussion that could lead to something viable and worthwhile.
Resolution #5: Foster Neurodiversity
Neurodiversity refers to variations in the human brain related to aspects such as learning, mood, sociability, attention, and other mental functions. The basic idea is that people think differently — and this is something to be celebrated rather than suppressed. In 2021, CIOs should champion neurodiverse teams — both because it can greatly accelerate digital transformation, and because it’s fundamentally the right thing to do. Our differences make us stronger, not weaker.
Resolution #6: Focus on Environmental Sustainability
CIOs are tasked with ensuring that IT and InfoSec teams are effective and efficient. However, this vision should not be limited to programs and projects. It should also extend to the environment. For suggestions, check out this episode of Devolutions HQ in which Yann and Jenny discuss 8 eco-friendly ideas for companies.
Resolution #7: Revisit and (If Necessary) Reframe Paradigms
The pandemic has forced organizations to take a long, hard look at some of their preconceived ideas and notions. For example, prior to the pandemic, some businesses banned remote working — a move that many saw as a giant leap backward. Well, the pandemic has completely changed that, and now many companies have stated that they will make remote working permanent for some (or even all) positions even after the pandemic ends. Gartner advises CIOs to revisit their paradigms and, if necessary, reframe them. The belief that something should be done or viewed a certain way because “that is how it has always been” can be damaging and destructive.
Resolution #8: Learn How to Recognize Secondary Losses
Secondary losses are indirect reasons for grieving or feeling disappointed, which can impact employee performance. Take the example of not getting a promotion at work. Our primary loss is (obviously) that we didn’t get the promotion. But our secondary loss is (less obviously) that we may become disillusioned with our professional identity. Gartner says that CIOs need to develop emotional awareness and sensitivity, so they can recognize and deal with these secondary losses — both in their own lives and in their teams.
Resolution #9: Practice Self-Kindness
CIOs are high-achievers — which means they accomplish a lot, but they are also very hard on themselves when goals and plans fail to materialize. In 2021, CIOs need to practice the art of self-kindness by giving themselves a break. Yes, everyone makes mistakes or makes the wrong bet now and then. The key is to learn from the experience, try and remedy the situation (which in some cases might include a sincere apology), and make better choices in the future. Hey, we’re all human — even heroic CIOs.
Resolution #10: Make the Time to Explore New Technologies
Many CIOs are so busy with programs and projects that they neglect to take the time for exploring new technologies. While it is easier said than done, CIOs need to make this a priority in 2021. The world is moving extremely fast, and CIOs who aren’t at the leading edge of futuristic ideas and emerging technologies will find themselves out of the loop.
The only thing we know for sure about the “new normal” is that it will be quite abnormal. But we can say with confidence that CIOs (along with IT and InfoSec pros) who make and keep these Gartner resolutions will have a smoother, more successful, and more satisfying year ahead — and so will their teams and organization.