Board of Directors

What The CIO Gets That The CEO And Board May Not Realize

Stakeholders know the value of the CIO. The last thing they want is for their CIO to be led down a wrong path, distracted by the agenda of others, and misdirected by trends that lure them into waste.

Scott Smeester


July 28, 2021

Bring the past only if you’re going to build from it.
Domenico Cieri

Do you ever get tired of the future?

It’s a difficult question for me to ask because I think about the future and I work toward the future. The future consumes me. What is coming? What is the forecast? What must I do now to be ready for then?

CEOs and Boards live with one foot in the present and one in the future. It’s a great posture. But in doing so, they can forget what got them to where they are.

Likewise, the CIO is future oriented while grounded in present realities. It just so happens that those present realities have a way of changing with short notice. Lesson one from the pandemic: What you didn’t see coming will become your focus.

To offset the demands of realities, and in order to still stay focused on strategies for the future, the effective CIO has learned the value of developing community with other CIOs. One of our CIO Mastermind members, Jeff Cann, recently published an article telling the difference such a community has made: One Thing to Make You a Better CIO

Stakeholders want their CIO to be involved in a peer group for three main reasons, and these reasons are at the heart of what propelled C-Suite leaders and board members to their positions: they got there because people passed on insight to them, gave them objective feedback and advocated for them.

The future is bright and fun when you are a visionary. But you wouldn’t have a future without a past you have built from. And everyone, your CIO especially, deserves to be able to build from and build toward.

And that is the heart of CIO Mastermind and similar communities of peers: a wealth of experience to build from, a wealth of experience to build with, all for the benefit of the company’s wealth.

Specifically, the reason Jeff was able to write about one thing that made him a better CIO, and the reason stakeholders want their CIO involved in community, particularly CIO Mastermind, is because the CIO gets the following:

Trusted Insight

CIOs must go through a qualification process to be a part of CIO Mastermind. We don’t let anyone into a peer group. We guard the chemistry of the group and the integrity of the process.

Stakeholders don’t want their CIO to be influenced by the less than the best. We qualify candidates because we are looking for those who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Each candidate must demonstrate that they are life-long learners and generous givers of knowledge. We look for the accomplished and the humble. In our groups, we value what is caught as well as taught: you become who you are around.

Each of our members brings real-life, real-time issues to the table so that their peers may speak into it. Our professional facilitation helps members to formulate solutions. As a result, each of our members has returned to work with progress made on critical, strategic areas. The consultative value is unparalleled. That’s probably why we have a hundred percent retention rate after three years.

Unbiased Eyes

CIO Mastermind is vendor-free. There is no selling.

Stakeholders can know with confidence that the CIO is returning with solutions that have been screened by professionals with experience not with bias.

Vendors have their place. Vendor-sponsored groups can have their value. But not here. Not with us.

You - stakeholders and CIOs - need to know that the peer group is all about you and your success.

Frankly, that is what has amazed me for over three years now. CIOs in the group will go the extra mile for each other without being asked. Time and again, a CIO will offer to meet outside the group with a member to impart more of their knowledge about the issue at hand.

You can’t beat that kind of support.


Stakeholders know the value of the CIO. The last thing they want is for their CIO to be led down a wrong path, distracted by the agenda of others, and misdirected by trends that lure them into waste.

CIO Mastermind exists to be an advocate for the CIO to the benefit of their stakeholders.

As an advocate, our meetings are driven by a CIO’s need, not by a speaker or hot topic. Our groups consist of the same core of members so that relationships can be built with genuine care driving the input.

CIO Mastermind services surround the life and needs of the CIO: peer groups, executive coaching, advocates for their teams, urgent consultations.

As stakeholders, you invest in the CIO because you know the importance of their professional development. What you may not know is the value they receive in a peer community.

I fear that when the opportunity is brought up, it is met with a response of “That’s nice.” Instead, it needs to be met with “Finally. We have been seeking a group for you that matters.”

I love the future. But I must also build from the past, not just mine, but the past of those who have seen other than I have seen, and known other than I have known. I cannot live so much in the future, that I forget that it is people who have brought me along the way.

I can’t see so far off, that I fail to see the value of the opportunity in front of me.

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