Generating a presentation to the board of directors can be a minefield for CIOs. Navigate it properly, and you arise as a organization leader — and as a prospective applicant for one more company’s board. Get tripped up, and your name as a enterprise pacesetter can just take a strike. But, in present day technological innovation-centric organization local climate, the days are extensive gone when presenting to the board upped the odds of a CIO’s acquiring fired.
“10 many years in the past, that could possibly have been feasible,” mentioned Wayne Sadin, chief digital officer and CTO of Affinitas Lifestyle, a senior residing firm based mostly in New York. “Right now, just telling the story of IT can only assistance telling it very well can support a lot more.”
Sadin at present serves as an advisory board member for two IT products and services companies, and he has been a Countrywide Affiliation of Company Directors fellow since 2012. In his expertise, numerous boards of administrators right now are “frightened to death” by technological know-how. They know it is critical to the organization, but are puzzled by it.
“These are individuals who grew up as administrators 30 decades back,” he said. They know finance and operations, but “they in no way dealt with technological innovation” — or with IT leaders.
Sadin observed that, 30 several years in the past, he wore a white coat and walked on a elevated floor in a home with tiny windows — the better to see the mainframe screens.
“Which is what a whole lot of board users believe when they assume of engineering. Now, we’re telling them we’ve obtained to take care of digital interaction, IoT course, have AI that is sensible adequate to operate your factories or vehicles — and they do not have a clue,” Sadin claimed. CIOs should check out a presentation to the board of directors as an possibility to translate “what technological know-how can do for the business enterprise.”
Jay Ferro, CIO of Quikrete Companies, a massive producer of packaged concrete primarily based in Atlanta, is a board director for two startups and two not-for-income. He explained he is locating far more boards are demanding that CIOs be current at meetings.
“All organizations are, to a specified extent, tech providers, so there is definitely no reason for any board not to be intrigued in the know-how system of an corporation,” he mentioned.
Sadin and Ferro had been between the gurus who presented guidance on maximizing an overall look before the board at a latest occasion for IT leaders held at Boston College or university and moderated by Ginny Hamilton, community manager for The Enterprisers Task at Purple Hat, dependent in Raleigh, N.C.
In this article is a rundown of the panel’s professional guidance, which includes which IT matters are of most curiosity to boards, how CIOs get their foot in the doorway, suggestions on demeanor and speaking design and style, and the significance of not upstaging or undermining your CEO.
Cybersecurity: Board of directors’ prime worry
“Cybersecurity, cybersecurity, cybersecurity, cybersecurity and anything that puts the enterprise at threat,” Sadin said in remedy to an audience issue about the IT matters of chief issue to boards of administrators.
Calibrating and mitigating a company’s hazard are amongst the prime fiduciary obligations of board users — and receiving it completely wrong can put them in jail.
The panelists agreed, however, that while cybersecurity is “what will get you in the doorway,” as Sadin set it, CIOs need to perspective the stability dialogue as the steppingstone to a broader dialogue about two other existing topics of superior curiosity to boards: growth and innovation.
“After the board realizes you have command of the business beyond its chance — which is the No. 1 point they are intrigued in — you can land and grow,” Ferro stated.
Tim Crawford, the CIO strategic adviser at AVOA and host of the podcast “CIO In the Know,” mentioned he is been privy to a quantity of CIO shows on cybersecurity to the board.
“They are all over the map, from CIOs who have experienced no conversation with the board” to outdated palms who “check out to scare the bejesus out of them just to open up up the purse strings and get cash, which they eventually may well use for other uses,” Crawford mentioned.
Requested if that gambit was a legit system, Crawford said, “It will work for them, but it is not a little something I would advocate.”
Certainly, transparency and hardly ever lying to the board — in particular when presenting lousy news — had been cited as givens by the panel.
An audience problem from Isaac Sacolick, president of StarCIO and a previous CIO at McGraw-Hill Construction and Businessweek, included one more subtlety to the discussion around board desire in cybersecurity.
“Let’s say you have an desire [in investing more] in cyber, and your CEO and C-suite want to commit in growth and innovation. Can you use the board to affect administration choices?” Sacolick asked.
“The CIO is not in the placement to use that leverage. My steering would be to hardly ever go down that path,” Crawford recommended.
Sadin reported those conditions are unusual in his expertise. “Boards will not handle they govern,” so it is unlikely that boards will be debating with the CIO about system in any case, he claimed.
Until there is fraud, in…