Making the Most Impact in 90 Days: The First Three Months of a CIO’s Tenure

What can a new CIO do in the first 90 days after walking through the door? The answer is just about anything. When a new executive comes into a company, that person usually gets a certain amount of leeway to make changes in the organization. That window of opportunity can be positive or it can be negative.

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90 Days

The question ought to be what should a new CIO instead of what can he or she do. The right approach can lay the foundation for a successful time. Here are a few suggestions for how to approach the first 90 days:

  • First 30 Days

Walking in on the first day is often a tempting time for a CIO to start making decisions. With knowledge from the last company, surely a CIO can take that knowledge and begin applying it right away. Tempting, but this is the wrong approach. The first 30 days needs to be a time of learning. How does the company make money? How does the IT department fit into that effort? Who are the people involved? Devoting 100% of these first days to learning is a hard– but rewarding– approach.

  • Second 30 Days

The first month has highlighted what is working in the organization and what is not. The next 30 days offer a chance to start making an impact. Most organizations have pain points that aggravate users at all levels. Addressing some of these pain points can offer a few quick wins. Purchasing software, upgrading memory, and enforcing neglected service contracts are three examples. Every organization seems to have a few of these. These next 30 days are also a prime time to name larger issues.

  • Last 30 Days

By the end of this third 30-day period, the CIO needs to present two things: a long-term strategic plan and a proposed budget. The plan needs to outline the larger issues that the company has and how to address them. The budget lays out how to pay for ongoing operations and the new plan, and it also provides a place to showcase potential savings. These final 30 days are also a time to take a pro-active public relations approach to showcasing what the IT department does and will be doing in the near future.

This plan is easy to customize and adapt to any organization and situation. Three months may not sound like a long time, but it does set the tone for the CIO’s tenure at the company. A good start will make that time beneficial for all involved.