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The many paths of CIO careers: Best in IT Leadership Series

Some CIOs land at the boardroom table; others enjoy long tenures in the same spots. Here's a sampling of CIO career paths and the steps to help you get there.

Some CIOs land at the boardroom table -- in a different seat, where the middle initial isn't I. Others end up at larger organizations, facing more complex challenges as the years go by. Think about your own career aspirations: They might be just to move up in your current organization, obtain new respect from business colleagues or work on interesting projects.

The following collection of interviews offers a window into the many CIO careers out there and the steps some IT executives are taking to move ahead. For example, some take a stint on the business side, to learn the lingo, build their network and gain a true understanding of how the business works. Not sure where you want your CIO career to lead, or what you want to do? Try an executive coach, who can also help you work out issues with that difficult boss. But before you move on, don't forget to groom a successor and rehab (or reject) those problem employees.

In the meantime, enjoy the options.

 The Promoting Kind: Four CIOs Who Moved Into Senior Business Roles
Some CIO stars shatter the techie ceiling and catapult into the highest ranks of a company. Here's how they do it.

 CIO returns from two years as operations SVP ready to drive IT value
After a stint in business operations, CUNA Mutual Group's CIO shares lessons learned, including a sense of urgency to IT. Plus: His six-month rule.

 The Making of an IT Executive
CIO Marc Saffer got his seat at the boardroom table but still didn't feel like one of the team. Then he hired an executive coach and got the guidance he needed.

 Rehab or Reject Problem Employees: When Technical Skills Aren't Enough
For midmarket companies, replacing employees can be costly. Can CIOs turn difficult staffers around? If not, when should they cut bait?

 Exit Signs: When to Bring an End to Your CIO Tenure
How do you know when it's time to move on from your current job? Hear from five CIOs who've left the building.

 The Replacements: Why a CIO Needs a Recession Plan
For CIOs, succession planning may not be foremost on the agenda, but it should be.

Do you have a story of IT transformation to share? Email, or follow us on Twitter @CIOMidmarket.

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