Project Management

2021 CIO Success Guide

Michael R. Wood is a Business Process Improvement & IT Strategist Independent Consultant. He is creator of the business process-improvement methodology called HELIX and founder of The Natural Intelligence Group, a strategy, process improvement and technology consulting company. He is also a CPA, has served as an Adjunct Professor in Pepperdine's Management MBA program, an Associate Professor at California Lutheran University, and on the boards of numerous professional organizations. Mr. Wood is a sought after presenter of HELIX workshops and seminars in both the U.S. and Europe.

One thing is certain: COVID-19 has changed everything, and that includes how CIOs operate. They have had to flex hard in order to support the radically shifting landscape, including:

  • Going from an on-premise workforce to an over 50% remote workforce
  • A huge spike in online selling
  • Disruptions to supply chain and distribution channels
  • Increasing regulations related to shutdowns and social distancing
  • Increased anxiety of all stakeholder groups related to the uncertainty, doubt and fear that have become part of the daily 2020 experience

Without a doubt, if it is pandemic related, urgency is front and center—and that can wreak havoc and bring chaos to IT organizations, especially ones that are now working remotely.

So how does all this impact the thinking of CIOs going into 2021, and what do they need to do to be successful? The answer starts with understanding the CEO and the leadership team’s urgencies and priorities. These could range from merely surviving to pursuing rapid growth.

The truth of the matter is that CIOs need to make plans for addressing and adapting to multiple eventualities, as much of what will drive the business and industry is beyond the control of any one CEO or leadership team. That is a tall order, to say the least.

For sure, the first plan should align with where leadership wants to go. The next plan should look at …


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"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception."

- Groucho Marx