CIO Leadership

How Effective CIOs Get Ahead Before They Fall Behind

There is one trait that is consistent with leaders who fall behind. It’s not about their knowledge, skill or work ethic. It’s about who is or isn’t with them.

Scott Smeester


November 30, 2023

Seth Godin sent out the following this week:

“If I had to choose one metric that would determine how well someone would do in law school, it wouldn’t be the LSAT or another test. It would be whether or not they formed a study group, and who else was in it. Of course the same is true for your project, or any sort of adult learning…The speed of our forward motion is directly related to the velocity of the people around us.

The velocity of the people around us - that’s good.

Who is around you that accelerates your development, your learning, your real-world implementation?

Who is in your executive life and elevating your leadership?

I started CIO Mastermind five years ago out of one overarching drive - that CIOs were working in isolation. Typical networking groups weren’t cutting it, and they were not satisfying the needs of those attending. 

Since that time, the peer advisory groups have provided more than community, they have provided mutual learning from each other. And the reason our retention rate has been so great is because the members have realized lift from being with other highly qualified and experienced leaders.

So What Is The Problem


I still meet so many leaders who deceive themselves. They are fueled by a false sense of self-sufficiency. When challenged about their lone ranger behavior, they point to the groups that they are in. But the groups they are in are not challenging them.

See that again. Groups are a delusion if you are not challenged in them. If there is no velocity. To say differently, if after being in a group, your pace hasn’t picked up, it’s not the group for you.

An excellent little book out there is called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. In it he says, 

“The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don't just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed.Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second we can turn the tables on Resistance.”

Resistance is the enemy. For Pressfield and the artists he advocates for, it manifests in procrastination. It is fed by fear.

The moment you begin to move to what is necessary for you, door-opening, life-altering, velocity-propelling, Resistance kicks in. We find ways around the very thing we must go through.

And that’s what I want leaders to see who underutilize the power of groups: Confront the excuses, the diversions, the time-gobblers. Great leaders group together. 

I’ve seen it time and again: leaders get weaker, not stronger, more defensive, not open, who have been acting apart from a group who challenges, where iron sharpens iron. CIOs and other executive leaders fall behind because others are getting ahead who have leaned into the momentum their peers can provide.

I’m asking this of you: Do not enter 2024 without the velocity of a group around you. I’m obviously biased about what CIO Mastermind provides. But I’m not greedy. If it isn’t us, make it someone else.

Get ahead.

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