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CIO skills in most demand: The ability to 'helicopter'

I’ve been collecting chief information officer jobs ads for the past month (yes, an exercise that smacks of not having a life) to find out which CIO skills are in demand in the here and now. What’s telling about the skill sets in high demand is not so much the long lists of qualifications and expected experience, but the words used time and again in all the ads.The most used one? Timely. As in (my italics):

  • “Maintain direct and timely communications with senior and middle management.”
  • “Contributing to the definition of the organizational risk profile, and ensuring that all IT risks are highlighted and agreed actions addressed in a timely manner.”
  • “Proven experience developing and maintaining a qualified, diverse ITS staff through appropriate hiring, staff development and training, and effective, timely performance.”
  • “Build strategic partnerships with vendors to maximize investment and provide timely delivery of initiatives.”
  • “The executive is also responsible for ensuring reliable, timely, cost-effective, efficient and secure delivery of information technology to all areas.”

Another common denominator? Very rarely did an ad call for CIO skills that were timely but not cost-effective as well.

There were also a few job descriptions that screamed Landmine ahead. For example:

  • “The ability to defuse conflict.”
  • “Develop greater confidence throughout the organization and with physicians in the ability of information systems to meet the needs of individuals and the entire organization.”
  • “Reports unusual events appropriately.”
  • “Motivate subordinates.”

My favorite description was from a publically traded energy company (but then, I have a soft spot for CIOs): “The impact of this position on company performance is very high.”

We will be running down the top CIO skills in a future article, but just to share one more tidbit: This one skill was posted by a religious institution: “The ability to ‘helicopter’ from big picture, strategic issues to more granular levels of detail as needed.” Whee!

I just found a new way to say multitask.

Let us know what you think about this blog post; email: Christina Torode, News Director

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