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How CIOs are Leading from the Front in a Post-COVID-19 World
Vineet Shukla Head – Middle East & Turkey | May 31, 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic has created a paradigm shift that has touched every single aspect of our world with both personal and professional life being heavily impacted. Coupled with the effects of the stock market crash in early 2020, the pandemic has had far-reaching implications that has led to a degree of uncertainty in different spheres of our lives. What is certain however, is that there is no going back to how things were before, and the world we currently live in is the “new normal”.

Businesses have been forced to weather the “new normal” in fundamentally decisive ways. The way in which organizations conduct business has been put through a reevaluation as companies seek to adapt and persevere. In the face of these challenges, technology leaders have had to step up against insurmountable odds and take point on steering their companies toward long-term growth.

The CIO in a Post-Pandemic World

As the pandemic evolved, so did the role of the CIO. This pandemic has brought CIOs to the forefront– initially, transitioning to a new tactical operating model, keeping the lights on and steering their organization through the first chaotic waves of the pandemic, and subsequently finding themselves in the spotlight. From here on, the organization is looking at them to play a pivotal role in the sustenance and growth strategy of the organization; thus forming the backbone of a digital ecosystem in the new normal.

They now have more influence across the business and a far greater level of autonomy– they have the green light to foster digitalization on a larger scale across their organizations. With more authority and support now available to them, they are able to implement changes in the manner and speed that was not afforded to them previously.

Moving away from the systems of the past and making an effort to embrace advancements beyond just incremental changes has become the norm. As a result, Organizational Change Management (OCM) is now heavily driven by this kind of leadership, with a systematic implementation of change in key target areas of the organization, ensuring that the right leadership is available exactly where it is needed for maximum efficacy. CIOs who are able to effectively nurture internal change within their organizations are poised to successfully ride the wave of post-COVID-19 digitalization in business.

This reimagining of what CIOs are now capable of achieving, has also proven to be an inspirational driver of sorts. For those CIOs who were still used to operating with the incremental digital advancements at hand, have now started to see the long-term benefits of having a more agile posture toward acceleration of the digital ecosystem. This, in turn, has inspired them to also take the digitalization initiative like their counterparts in other businesses. Previously traditional CIOs are now acting quickly and decisively to secure their businesses in the new normal and for the future. Such a change is an opportunity that needs to be utilized optimally with a proper organizational change management framework.

Inspiring Confidence

No doubt that CIOs have found their place in the sun. However, eventually, it is the human element that will forever run organizations– and this would form the basis of emergence of new leaders. Lives and livelihoods take precedence during a global health crisis, and a true leader must be empathetic of the needs and abilities of their colleagues.

By fostering a work environment that encourages, understands, and supports these needs, a better collaborative system can be made– where employees function as a team and feel their efforts are being properly utilized and recognized. Encouraging more holistic HR management, with a strong focus on the physical and mental well-being of employees will pave the way for a more productive work environment. Additionally, training and reskilling will also play a key part in covering new avenues for company growth. In this regard, CIOs must be cognizant of the capabilities of their organization’s workforce and take necessary steps to encourage growth in areas that might benefit the company.

The fate of organizations in a post-COVID world rests on the shoulders of leaders who can adapt and accelerate organizational change – a challenge that CIOs the world over have either started to or are already taking in their stride.

Ultimately, creating a sustainable future through strategy, empathy, and decisive, confident leadership will be the focus area for any CIO looking to make their mark. The fate of organizations in a post-COVID world rests on the shoulders of leaders who can adapt and accelerate organizational change– a challenge that CIOs worldwide have either started to, or have already, taken in their stride.

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