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The brand called CIO

Divina Paredes | Nov. 26, 2013
Gartner research has shown a strong CIO brand can be a very effective way to make IT influential, strategic, and deliver higher levels of business success," says Gartner analyst Marcus Darbyshire.

Gartner research has shown a strong CIO brand can be a very effective way to make IT influential, strategic, and deliver higher levels of business success," says Gartner analyst Marcus Darbyshire.

Yet, he observes, not many CIOs "actively manage their brands" and their reasons for not doing so varies.

One is they are busy, says Darbyshire, who joined Gartner two years ago after holding ICT management roles, most recently as CIO of South East Water in Melbourne. "There is also the perception that it is only for extroverts or job seekers or an indulgent self-promotion enterprise." Others may feel they will be seen to be preparing to leave the organisation.

Sometimes it is also a case of where they are in their careers, he says. There is more interest, for instance, from a new CIO "looking to make an impression" than some senior CIOs, "until the day they may start looking at a new role".

"Many just don't understand what is possible and how to do that," says Darbyshire, who ran a workshop on "Building your personal brand -- unleashing your value", at the recent Gartner Symposium in Gold Coast, Australia.

"CIOs who don't create their own personal brand will have one created for them by peers and users... and it may be less than flattering," he points out.

"Developing the CIO brand is very much like celebrating the successes of your achievements within the IT department," he adds. "It is a powerful way to communicate the good things that are happening within IT."

So what are some of the steps CIOs can take to establish or improve their brand?

Darbyshire says the first step is to understand the five elements of a personal brand.

The first is purpose, "why people follow you". Second is social style, "the way people see you". The third is communications, "the way people hear you". The fourth is history, "how people evaluate you over a long period". The fifth is versatility, "the way people relate to you and how you relate to them".

The next step is a "brand discovery exercise". For this, Darbyshire uses the Johari Window assessment, where a person describes himself or herself from a list of adjectives, and then asks friends and colleagues to describe them from the same list.

"It is like a virtual 360-degree assessment of words to describe you," explains Darbyshire. These are then matched with four quadrants to understand if the CIO's self-perception of their brand equals to how others see them and where their blind spots are.

After the self-discovery phase is the building of a "personal brand statement".

"What is the CIO's unique value proposition, and what is unique about them that is different to their competitors? What is their core expertise? "

 

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