Jan 5, 2021

Gartner: CIO hiring to focus on determination & sensitivity

Gartner
CIO
Leadership
HR
Georgia Wilson
3 min
CIO
Latest Gartner report predicts that the majority of new CIO hiring will rank determination and sensitivity as critical personal characteristics in 2021...

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 back in March 2020, the pandemic has reinforced the need for stronger leadership and emotional dexterity among CIOs.

As the pandemic continues to shift the landscape for CIOs when it comes to managing, collaborating and responding to their stakeholders Gartner reports that 70% of hiring processes of new CIOs rank individual determination and sensitivity as two of the crucial personal characteristics in 2021.

“CEOs are looking for executives who are capable of weathering crises. They are still unsettled about the future and want determined CIOs who make and implement timely decisions, while displaying emotional dexterity to be tactful and supportive,” commented Daniel Sanchez-Reina, senior research director at Gartner. 

Gartner refers determinations “to a firmness of resoluteness and in turning decisions into actions, despite how tough they are, and sensitivity as the quality of feeling empathetic toward others’ difficulties and acting accordingly.”

According to Gartner TalentNeuron™ data compared to 2019, determination as competency among new hires increased by 34% in 2020, while sensitivity increased by 92%. Both of these competencies rank in the top 10 increasing demands in the recruitment process which extends to existing employees.

In addition to identifying two critical characteristics for CIO recruiters, a Gartner survey also highlighted that “CIOs who look to develop emotional dexterity in the digital era, can improve their self-awareness, self-management and relationships during times of crisis by committing to practicing self-improvement techniques.”

The research showed that most IT and business leaders believe that the most important skills needed in the next 10 years will be soft skills, with 30% of above average CIOs being more likely to practice gratitude as a self development approach. 

“Interestingly, all surveyed CIOs spend an average of 30 minutes daily in learning and development, indicating it is not the quantity, but the quality of time spent on focusing on the right behaviors that is important,” added Rob O'Donohue, senior research director at Gartner.

In addition, transparency was ranked as the most commonly admired emotional dexterity leadership competency, as well as authentic communications and collaboration. The research also found that above average CIOs are more likely to develop others via coaching and mentoring (69%) compared to low performing CIOs (48%), with high performing CIOs reporting that 74% of their time is pent listening, rather than directing.

“Being aware of the positive impact these behaviors and practices bring is paramount as organizations consider their vaccine strategy and employees return to work. They’ll be as important, if not more, than the technical skills a typical CIO embodies,” concluded O’Donohue.

For more information on business topics in the United States and Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief North America.

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

CMO
Kyndryl
IBM
Leadership
Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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