The relationship between CIOs and the Board is an area of growing interest for our Association members. The topic has been addressed at the CIO Peer Forum and at some local chapter events. Toronto Chapter member Steve Delaney, CIO at MCAP, has a unique perspective that he shared in a recent interview.
Steve took the Directors Education Program (DEP) developed by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and the Rotman School of Management, and went on to earn the ICD.D designation. The program is offered in 8 cities across the country through university executive education departments.
While the focus of the courses is on helping Directors become better board members, Steve notes that he is also a more effective CIO. Understanding the board perspective helps him prepare reports that are focused on their priorities. The need to articulate how IT strategy aligns with corporate strategy is just one example of insight Steve shared from his course.
The course requires a significant investment of time and money. Taught over 4 intensive 3-day weekends, tuition for the program is $16,950 plus applicable taxes. Even so, it was an excellent investment: the course was “amazingly insightful, incredibly informative, exhilarating and exhausting”, and the level of qualification of the instructors was “off the charts”.
Steve encourages other CIOs to consider developing this aspect of their careers, noting that of the 41 people in his class, there were only 2 CIOs. Considered in light of the fact that 75% of the people noted that a significant concern for them as board members is technology, it is clear that there is a lot of opportunity for senior IT executives to contribute to boards across the country. Board members are very aware that the underpinnings of every organization is technology. They know that if IT isn’t working, the whole place shuts down. Boards need IT expertise to prepare for the many and varied challenges and threats that make their organizations vulnerable.
This program is not an orientation for board members; experience on some level of board is a pre-requisite. The program takes participants through all aspects of governance, including strategy, risk, and finance, filling in any gaps in experience, and clarifying the responsibilities of Board Members. ‘Noses in, fingers out” is a guiding principle that many board members need to grasp, focusing their efforts on governance, and leaving management to staff.
Upon completion of the 12 day program, there is both a written and an oral exam. Successful candidates pledge to maintain membership in the Institute and meet annual ongoing governance education requirements. Further information about the Directors Education Program can be found here. Details about the ICD.D designation can be found here.
Association members who do not have the required experience might consider your own CIO Association national and chapter boards as a place to start.
If you have an experience or resource that you think might be of interest to your CIO colleagues, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is provided for information purposes only, and does not imply endorsement of the program.
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