Is Your CDO the New Entrepreneur in the C-Suite?

Is Your CDO the New Entrepreneur in the C-Suite?Is Your CDO the New Entrepreneur in the C-Suite?

Your high performing CDO (Chief Data Officer) is going to transform how you do business. If they don’t, you may have the wrong person in the role! It’s not an if, but a when. I would not get caught up in the title, but this is the leader responsible for transforming your business. They should become more entrepreneurial as the role continues to evolve and change! 

How do you find the best person in your organization to lead these efforts? All the strengths we’ve shared so far can be developed in your new digital leader. In many cases, they already exist in your key leaders. As a senior leader of your organization, you have to begin developing the critical fourth strength in your CDO.

The CDO makes a major contribution to your leadership team. The intangible quality I want in this organization leader is they must think like an entrepreneur inside your organization.  They are catalysts for positive, disruptive change across your organization and markets.  I believe their emerging role puts them in front of many different stakeholder communities. Its critical they are forward leaning in how they approach digital transformation.

The CDO works with their leadership teams and boards to address many sensitive issues. I would suggest that effective CDOs need to know how to communicate on many different media platforms. Many of these media discussions determine if the organization continues to grow or dies.  This will be the case for both public and private organizations moving into the future.

A high performing CDO must lead internal consulting efforts to create a competitive advantage through their team’s efforts. The largest challenge here may be to find people who can work with the many different stakeholders the organization has. Finding and developing critical consulting capabilities is on almost every CDO wish list for 2018 and beyond.

Attracting, developing and retaining great talent should be their number one priority in the coming years. We will invest significant time talking about how to develop this capability across the organization.

The fourth strength of a high performing CDO is they create new value to their organization through understanding and leveraging their data capabilities. Data by itself has little value to the business. Developing products and services that match your customers’ wants and needs and how it is applied is critical to the organization’s long-term success. How do you build different business models? I believe that the CDO is positioned to do just that.

To be increasingly effective, CDOs need to understand the business, their customers, and their partners’ world. They need to become more entrepreneurial to maximize the impact on their organizations. For many of the people I met in Boston, this may become a stumbling block for their initial efforts. They are not used to thinking about the organization they lead as a growing business concern. Future CDOs will become more entrepreneurial as their role evolves.

Show me the money could be, and was, a theme of several breakout sessions in Boston. How do you fund your digital transformation efforts? How do you get fellow leaders to invest in these initial efforts? For many, the CDO organization is a cost center, something they must do to keep regulators and customers satisfied. We can see why this is a formula for failure.

In the past, many of the most successful intrapreneurs came from marketing or sales. Depending on the industry, from engineering and product development teams. Is it we don’t expect it from our IT teams? Now that I’ve got your attention.

Let’s stop today before I share the elephant in the room.  But here’s a question to consider, what is the reputation of your legacy department within your organization?  Not the entire organization, but the department you are part of. Are they known for their innovation capabilities?

How do people see the group you currently report and work through? Where do you get your best talent as a CDO? See you here next week when I share an idea that I believe can help transform your organization’s efforts and maybe even your career!

We had several Tornadoes here last week. We are still in the process of recovering our building and telephone and internet access.

We will share what we learned as we celebrate Thanksgiving. For the last quarter of the year, we will be returning to publishing on each blog once per week to help you accelerate your planning for 2018. See you here next Tuesday!

About the Author

Tripp Braden partners with clients to create an anticipatory strategy and mindset. The resulting culture breaks down barriers to combine planning and innovation in a way that elevates and accelerates results.

He’s a growth strategist and IBM IoT Futurist who turns strategy into implementable options for increasing market share, revenue, and profits. He has proven success seeing the big picture and creating new market opportunities.

Ask Tripp how to turn disruption and change into your opportunity and advantage.

Tripp can be contacted at [email protected] or send him an invite on LinkedIn. You can find Tripp’s other blog at Developing High Performing Teams.

Tripp Braden – who has written posts on Market Leadership Journal.


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