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Time management for CIOs

Everybody has a few New Year’s resolutions for 2012 and CIOs are no exception. An old chestnut: Time management.

Gartner executive partner, Marcus Darbyshire, is no stranger to the demands of technology leaders. As former South East Water CIO and acting CFO, he is a strong advocate for getting things done and making time for the strategic issues.

Time management tools and techniques abound. Darbyshire instead focuses on the concepts of time management. “For me, the concept of time management is about how you spend your time, where you spend your time, who you’re spending it with and the topics you’re working on,” he said.

Darbyshire said Gartner’s time management framework centres on running, growing and transforming the business.

“We look at where people are spending the percentage of their time,” Darbyshire said. “We also look at how you manage; whether you’re in fire fighting mode, orchestrating or strategising, looking at the percentage of time that you divide to those types of ways of managing.”

According to Darbyshire, what you manage is also important, whether it’s projects, people or ideas.

“We also look at how you’re working with your team, looking down and across the structure to peers or up to senior managers. And, of course, where you’re spending your time — is it in meetings, in conversations, one-on-one interactions, or are you actually working alone and thinking of new ideas?”

Gartner’s best practices aims to help senior executives move up the maturity scale in terms of their interactions. CIOs understand that in order to be effective, the CEO relationship is vital. But too often, CIOs must overcome what is known as the ‘CEO attention barrier’.

Darbyshire shares some tips that may help CIOs overcome the ‘CEO attention barrier’ by focussing on the “types of conversations” that help “attract and retain” attention.

The following tips:

  • Talk about the strategic initiatives in the organisation
  • Focus on enterprise performance indicators, such as customer engagement strategies
  • Talk about strategic technology rather than decisions, and focus on performance benchmarks.

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