January is an important time for many people. Not only does it signal the start of a new year, but also the crucial point where those resolutions made for the New Year will either sink or swim.

The same goes for business, with January offering the chance to try new approaches or change the culture within an organisation in an effort to improve performance and the working environment.

Research firm Gartner is acutely aware of this too, and has looked specifically at how CIOs should approach resolutions in 2020.

“CIOs should not drift through 2020 without hacking their performance — to strengthen capabilities in leadership, culture and people,” says distinguished VP analyst at Gartner, Mark Raskino.

“CIOs need new global perspectives and to open up to new voices. They must be creative to find solutions to the complex and volatile situations they will be thrown into,” adds fellow distinguished VP analyst, Mary Mesaglio.

With that in mind the firm has created a list of 10 resolutions for CIOS to implement in the new year in a bid to hack performance.

1. Drop dead weight 

CIOs and their teams are being asked to do more with less, which means it’s becoming increasingly significant to remove unnecessary clutter to make room for more important items.

This can mean a physical change, Gartner explains, like removing a shelf full of old books or old artwork. But it can also be more process-based, such as reviewing a backlog of tasks and deleting non-critical items. 

2. Purify purpose

Another element that CIOs must wrestle with is clarifying the societal purpose of the organisation.

This as trust in large organisations is low, and people are sceptical of corporations. Given the influence that technology now has on company purpose and mission, CIOs are in a position to initiate a conversation about the purpose of the organisation.

This includes making sure the company mission fits the digital age and focusing on a societal issue the organisation can impact, such as plastic pollution or population health, according to the research firm. 

3. Mend meetings 

Though often well-intentioned, the reality of meetings is that they are often unproductive or pointless. CIOs need to change that. 

Gartner advises trying to hack your meetings with a few simple changes like naming the notetaker at the end of the meeting instead of the beginning, which means everyone has to pay attention and engage.

Another option is to calculate and display the cost of having all the people in the meeting and then vote on whether the meeting was worth the money. 

4. Stop apologising 

CIOs often apologise for things that aren’t entirely their fault or their fault at all, says Gartner. With that in mind, Gartner says they need to stop apologising for business technology projects failing and remember that resourcing is the responsibility of the whole executive team. 

5. Think analog 

Although using the latest technology to make IT decisions might seem obvious, sometimes analog is a better approach to creative thinking. The reality is that computer screens are finite and small in size and have frequent pop-up interruptions, Gartner points out.

Instead CIOs should look to use an entire office wall to draw plans for the new year or design your next organisation using LEGO bricks. Use the mini-figures metaphorically: Who are the divers, workers and superheroes? 

6. Broaden digital 

Redefine the organisation’s definition of transformation is Gartner’s next business resolution. A narrowly defined goal will limit results and insights the firm says. CIOs should try using one new management technique from a successful digital giant and add one bleeding-edge initiative to your 2020 portfolio. 

7. Resource diversely 

With a global shortage of necessary IT talent, CIOs must expand how they hire new talent. Establishing a relationship with at least one educational institution or technology training program is a good place to start here. See how you can invest in their program to support future skills and create a talent pipeline, the firm adds. 

8. Become “sino-wise”

With China becoming a leading global innovator at scale, organisations should be preparing for how that will affect their business. Becoming sino-wise (a new term for us), which refers to becoming familiar with the culture and ancient-to-modern history of China, could mean anything from learning Mandarin or reading about modern Chinese history to organising tours of these Chinese digital giants. 

9. Get multi-mentored

Gartner notes that mentoring can be an effective, and low-effort, way to gain new skills. There are also opportunities to mentor beyond the traditional. Consider auditing a university class or spending a day shadowing an entry-level employee. Both will give you new skills and a new perspective, they explain.

10. Make time to directly experience new technologies 

The final business resolution is one that Gartner includes every year because it is so easy for a CIO’s time to become fully consumed by the process and bureaucracy of corporate life.

But the organisation looks to the CIO for innovation and information on emerging trends.

Some of this can be delegated, but CIOs should set aside time to see demos and try out new technologies, as well as protect a small piece of the budget for purchasing new tech for the office and allowing the team to play on it.

[Image – Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash]