One wonders what are the key traits of a CIO. Apart from
many other professional traits, I strongly advocate for straightforwardness. Personally
and professionally, I am a very open and straightforward person. Believe it or
not, North India and New York (where I come from) do have strong cultural
similarities. And that has helped me immensely in being successful with the Ranbaxy
teams. I believe, in a team, everyone needs to be comfortable to sharing their
views. There has to be a big room for openness. Open dialogue within a team is
a critical success factor for any organization. There should be no fear
reprisals for having different opinions or perspectives. I, as a CIO, even
encourage my team to argue with me if they feel very strongly about an issue.
In the ideal world, my teams should be able to reach decisions by consensus without my involvement. But in the real world, as the leader, you sometimes have to make the final tough decision without having a consensus. That's what a CIO shall aim for. Own it, and lead the team forward.
My target leadership style is "inspirational". My goal is to inspire my team to perform to the peak of their abilities and to help them achieve this I provide them the necessary tools and desired experiences for growth. For example, if I share a presentation with the executive committee, within days I share the same presentation with my entire team - good news or bad news, doesn't matter. Everyone working in our team should know what we are up to, where we are going and be motivated to get there.
A CIO believes in hiring trained people who are "rock stars". I would prefer to hire one exceptional person over five who are not. You'll get more done with a core team of four incredibly good people than with a larger team who lack the skills and experience and drive. When you are looking for a rock star, it's not always the smartest person in the room and it's not always the most experienced one.
At Ranbaxy, I have the luck, privilege and opportunity of having a relatively small team of what I would call rock stars. So everyone has a specialty and is unique, incredibly capable in her/his own right. This is why we spend less time with partners, system integrators and consultants, and more time in investing in our team so that we can get more done.
This blog is excerpted from The Magnificent Heroes, a book published by DynamicCIO.com.