Status Go: Ep. 217 – The CIO is Dead…Long Live the CIO | Mike King & Chuck Papageorgiou


Exciting new episode alert! In EP217 of Status Go, host Jeff Ton leads a captivating digital dialogue on the evolving titles in the C-suite, particularly the role of the CIO (Chief Information Officer). Joining him are esteemed guests Mike King, CEO of Daxios, and Chuck Papageorgiou. Tune in as they dive deep into the changing landscape of technology leadership and its impact on digital transformation.

Here are three key takeaways from this engaging conversation:

1️⃣ Embracing Shadow IT: The guests argue that CIOs should view shadow IT as a missed opportunity in digital transformation. By embracing and protecting shadow IT, CIOs can tap into valuable knowledge and keep everyone happy without spending unnecessary funds. Giving structure and company scale to shadow IT can empower innovation without bureaucratic overhead.

2️⃣ Convergence and Collaboration: Digital technologies require collaboration between CIOs, their teams, business-side teams, and customers. The concept of convergence, encompassing embedded software, data, connectivity, and analytics, is crucial in driving successful digital transformation. Breaking down convergence walls and silos is essential for cohesive implementation and adoption.

3️⃣ The CIO’s Dual Role: The speaker highlights the difference between a CIO focused on transforming technology and a Chief Digital Officer responsible for transforming the company through technology. CIOs need to have a strong understanding of technology operations and security while also thinking like business strategists. Building this dual capability is vital for success.

Join Jeff Ton, Mike King, and Chuck Papageorgiou as they explore these thought-provoking topics and more in the latest episode of Status Go – The CIO is Dead! Long Live the CIO! Don’t miss out on this enlightening conversation that delves into the future of technology leadership and digital transformation.

About Chuck Papageorgiou

Chuck is a co-founder and current Managing Partner of Ideasphere Partners, LLC, an advisory firm that offers contract executive services and delivers expertise and hands-on leadership and execution support in the high-tech, light manufacturing, gaming, logistics and financial services segments, as well as digital transformation services through its Ideasphere Labs subsidiary. He was a co-founder and CEO of WorldWatch Plus—an AI-driven risk management company—that was sold to a global data company. His clients include private equity and venture capital firms and corporations across the globe. As an entrepreneur he has founded and launched several companies over the past 20 years, raising more than $15 million in startup capital, and has advised and mentored dozens of founders and co-founders of early-stage companies. As a corporate executive and consultant, he has led organizations ranging from five-person spin-off divisions to 10,000+ employee global operations. He has directly led, or acted as a senior consultant, on M&A and restructuring transactions worth over $9 billion. Chuck is a member of the Advisory Board of the University of Tampa’s Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, a board member of the Tampa Bay Wave, an early stage company accelerator, and an entrepreneur-in-residence for the Moffitt Cancer Research Center. He is actively involved in the Tampa Bay tech ecosystem.

About Mike King

Mike King is the Founder and CEO of DAXEOS, a venture capital-funded startup focused on developing a next-generation Digital Engineering Platform for Automotive Product Development. Before his current role, he co-founded LHP’s Data Analytics & IoT Solutions group, achieving significant growth and implementing Digital Transformation initiatives, Advanced Analytics, and Internet of Things capabilities for major OEMs in the Transportation, Industrial, and Manufacturing sectors. Prior to that, Mike held leadership positions at Cummins, where he directed Financial Systems Transformation and Enterprise Business Analytics, and at Boeing, where he worked in finance, manufacturing, and supply chain, including serving as the Finance Systems Leader for the Boeing 787 Airplane Program. With a strong background in IT and extensive experience in driving organizational change, Mike has successfully led global initiatives, including finance systems implementations and enterprise business intelligence projects. He has also been involved in various community organizations and has received recognition for his contributions, including being named Volunteer of the Year by the United Way of Bartholomew County. Mike holds bachelor’s degrees in Finance and Marketing from Eastern Washington University and a Master’s in Technology Management from the University of Washington. He resides in Columbus, Indiana with his wife and two sons.


Episode Transcript

[00:00:00]: The Proliferation of C-Suite Titles

[00:03:05]: Mike King’s Background

[00:04:38]: Chuck Papageorgiou’s Background

[00:05:40]: The CIO is Dead

[00:10:39]: The CIO Not Doing His or Her Job

[00:12:06]: What are the Requirements?

[00:13:24]: Shadow IT

[00:19:17]: Chief of Titles Officer

[00:24:37]: CIO as Conductor

[00:26:13]: Who’s the Plumber?

[00:28:10]: CIO as Critical Path

[00:31:08]: Noone Talks Strategy when the Printer is Down

[00:31:24]: Is the Leadership Team Ready for the CIO to Lead

[00:34:05]: Chief AV Officer

[00:35:44]: Actions to Take Tomorrow

[00:39:28]: Final Call To Action and Close


Episode Transcript

Jeff Ton [00:00:00]:

Hello, and welcome to a special episode of Status Go! Special because what we’re going to share today is a recording from a LinkedIn live event, Digital Dialogue, hosted by the Institute for Digital Transformation. In that event, I had a conversation with Mike King and Chuck Papageorgiou regarding the proliferation of CXO titles. CIO CTO CDO CDXO. We had a great conversation, and we wanted to share it here with you, the listeners of the Status Go podcast. So, join us if you will, and listen in on this conversation.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:00:47]:

Technology is transforming how we think, how we lead, and how we win from inner vision. This is Status Go, the show, helping IT leaders move beyond the status quo, master their craft and propel their IT vision.

Jeff Ton [00:01:05]:

Hello, and thank you very much for joining. This is Jeff Ton. I’m your host for today’s Digital Dialogue. I’m an author, a speaker, and I host the Status Go podcast. Today we’re going to have a great conversation for you surrounding the CIO title, of all things. So, when you look at it, we’ve got CIO, and then we had CTO, then we got CDO, and that could mean either Chief Data Officer or Chief Digital Officer. Now we’re starting to see CDXO for Digital Transformation Officer. The C-suite titles are proliferating almost as fast as you can count them and certainly as fast as I can say them.

In many people’s minds, the CIO or the Chief Information Officer has been relegated to Chief Infrastructure Officer. Is that really the case? And if it is, how did we get here? Over the last few months, I’ve had conversations with tech leaders across the country. Two of these conversations really jumped out at me because they happened within days of each other. The first was with Mike King. Mike is the CEO of Daxios, a data analytics company focused on the automobile industry. A few days later, during an Institute for Digital Transformation Fellows meeting, one of the fellows, Chuck Papageorgiou, made a comment, and he may call it a snarky comment about the relevance of the CIO. Within days, the premise for this digital dialogue was born. So welcome to the CIO is dead. Long live the CIO. Gentlemen, why don’t you come on in here and we’ll get started.

Mike, let’s start with you. Can you introduce yourself to the viewers a little bit about your background, sir?

Mike King [00:03:05]:

Hey there, Jeff. Yeah, Mike King, CEO of Daxios, which is a connected engineering digital platform. Definitely an industry veteran. Started my career more than three decades ago out at Boeing. Hired into the shop as the performance analyst for Wings. And kind of back then, it wasn’t IoT and digital. It was go solve some problems and help us build airplanes. And kind of from there, my career has kind of followed that path, whether it’s in factory management, supply chain, finance systems. Spent about 18 years of Boeing before coming out to Indiana and worked for Cummins. Led their financial systems and then their enterprise analytics. Apparently, I complained too loudly about how we could improve them and was then asked to go ahead and help. And then, for the last seven years been part of LHP Engineering, where we do everything from embedded software for products to smart factory to connected everything. And that’s where Daxios has been started.

Jeff Ton [00:04:19]:

Excellent. And Mike, I love the way you describe your time at Boeing as your job was to keep the wings on the airplane. As someone who’s getting ready to jump on a plane on Sunday, I hope they stay on there.

Mike King [00:04:30]:

We did a marketing survey, and that was very high score amongst our repeat customers.

Jeff Ton [00:04:33]:

What people wanted. Absolutely. Chuck, do you mind introducing yourself, sir?

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:04:38]:

Yeah, don’t mind it at all. So my name is Chuck Papageorgiou. Like Mike said, I’ve been around a long time. Industry expert. I don’t know about that, but definitely a lot of industry knowledge. Been playing around technology for almost three decades. Started out as an engineer, minor in computer science. Started building systems. Worked for big companies like Ups, run operations for Keen, managed everything from 15,000 employees, developers, technical people to five persons. Built a few startup companies, built an AI company. So, I’ve been actively working with the technology firms and industry now for a long time. I have probably about a half a dozen CIOs that are my clients now that I work with. Some of them run half a billion to a billion-dollar companies, some of them even larger. So, I’m pretty active in the technology space in general, and I do make snarky comments.

Jeff Ton [00:05:40]:

And they are tuning in right now saying, Chuck, what do you mean my role is dead? Hey, Mike, I want to start with you because this genesis for this idea really started with a conversation you and I had. When you think about the role of CIO, when it pertains to this digital era, this digital transformation era that we’re in, what are some of your thoughts around that role and what is happening to the role of the CIO?

Mike King [00:06:14]:

Yeah, we kind of see things kind of coming together, kind of as convergence. If you think about digital, you got your embedded software, the data in the thing that you’re trying to improve. You’ve got the connectivity. How do you get the data in and out and then the analytics? What do you want to do with it? And the key to that are the folks that own the servers, that own the network, that own the cloud, that, whether they’re ready or not, own security. What we’re seeing as we work with companies and again, this was back day one at Boeing is everyone’s on your team…how do you get the data you need? And so, we’re talking with CIOs and their teams, business side teams, and their folks about how do we work together? And you think about digital transformation. I think the one role. And the one group that needs to transform the most, and is whether they want to or not, is that CIO we talk about in our world. Customers want to connect to a truck that’s moving down the freeway, download software, upload new software, make sure it’s all secure, and, oh, by the way, CIO, let’s go. And most folks aren’t ready for that. And it’s like, well, ready or not, that’s the gig. And so, again, a lot of our customers and companies that we work with is like, what do I do? How do I not get fired? How do I communicate what we see as a risk to our C suite or others that are trying to go big and do all these great, crazy things?

Jeff Ton [00:08:05]:

Yeah! So, Chuck, I know it’s going to be hard to remember which Snarky comment, but we were talking about digital transformation and the role of the It leader, the CIO. Can you kind of paraphrase what you brought to the table that day?

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:08:24]:

Yeah, so it’s kind of interesting because there is the business view that needs to transfer through technology, and then there’s the IT view that needs to transform the technology. And there’s a big difference between the two. And the snarky comment that I made was that a CIO, the executive that’s responsible for transforming the technology, is not the same as the Chief Digital Officer or whatever the hell the new title is going to be that’s responsible for transforming the company through technology. And in my experience, we have CIOs that just will never make the transition because they don’t think like businesspeople. And then there’s CIOs, and I know a few of them that are just brilliant business strategies that happen to be technologists. And I think a lot of companies are struggling with, what do I do with that? It’s funny.

I have a CEO. He’s no longer a client. Now he’s a friend. He runs a billion-dollar company and on the occasional, hey, can I pick your brain? I’ll buy you a drink and a cigar at a local dining place. And he’ll sit down and he’ll start talking about things. And I’m listening to him like, why isn’t your CIO helping you understand that? And he’d say something like, well, I try to talk to him about that. And all he can think about is how many developers? How many resources, what servers do I need? Instead of trying to understand what it is that we’re trying to do, why it’s important, and help me, as the CEO, understand what it means for the company, not just the IT shop.

So that’s the Snarky comment that I made, that CIO does not automatically equal Chief Digital Officer and IT transformation does not automatically equal digital transformation. So that was the premise.

Jeff Ton [00:10:39]:

I personally was a CIO for about ten years, and whenever I hear this conversation, and I start thinking about this proliferation of titles, I kind of take it personally. Because I always saw myself as the latter description that you gave Chuck as a businessperson first, who happened to be a technologist secondarily. And I always felt like the reason these titles were continually to be added into the C suite was because the CIO wasn’t doing his or her job. And that sounds bad to a lot of the CIOs out there. But what I really mean by that is our businesses are looking for something. They may not be able to articulate what it is they’re looking for, but what their solution is to add another C-suite person because they’re not getting it out of the current person, right? So hey, let’s add somebody else to the mix. And that’s what happens as you start getting all these different titles. And I think it’s been interesting to watch because we end up having these fiefdoms then, right? We’ve got the CIO who doesn’t talk to the CTO and who’s in charge of the strategy and all that, right?

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:12:06]:

So here’s an interesting I had this conversation with somebody not too long ago. A few weeks ago, client of the client, big customer, asked them to do something, and they were planning to set up a meeting. And they asked my advice in the meeting, and I said, tell me what your strategy is going to be. And the tech team says, well, we’re going to go ask them the requirements. I’m like, Wait, a customer asks you to go in and provide some advice in strategy, you’re going to walk in, and the first thing you’re going to say, tell me what your requirements are. I said, well, that’s not going to get you far. And it was the funniest conversation. I introduced them to probably the oldest model in consultative selling, the spin model. I said, before you go, you need to know what the situation is, what the problems are. You’re going to understand that? And when you walk in, you don’t walk in like a typical developer and say, tell me your requirements so I can write code. You walk in and say, hey, this is a strategy. I think you’re pursuing this. Well. We still haven’t gotten technology teams inside companies to start thinking like solution providers. That’s another one of those challenges.

Jeff Ton [00:13:24]:

Yeah, the solution-provider attitude is a great one. We had a question a little bit ago from Hugh O’Carroll. “With the rapid growth of technology needs and the resulting decentralization of technology, which is something Mike, you and I have talked about across the modern enterprise, should CIOs fret about the emergence of the dreaded shadow IT?” Mike, what are your thoughts on that?

Mike King [00:13:50]:

Well, having been the shadow IT on many times, I think it’s a missed opportunity. And again, one of the values of digital transformation is running a business at scale, touching every part of the company, going towards one end. I think the maturity of the CIO role as well as on the business side, is CIOs need to embrace and protect and sponsor those shadow IT who are known for spending no money, keeping everybody happy, know everything about everything right. Embedded into the various layers of business. Why wouldn’t we leverage those folks? But give them structure, give them the scale of the company that the CIO can bring, but not the overhead or the bureaucracy. Champion those folks. Give them the opportunity. Learn from them.

And then we talked, Jeff, about sort of the role of the chief architect. It’s like, send those folks out there to learn what’s truly happening in the business. Because, again, having lived down the shop floor on the flight line, you’ll take any help you can get as long as they don’t muck anything up. Really? It’s get out of the ivory tower and get out to the business and sponsor them and lead them. They’re looking for leadership. And then represent that to the leadership team.

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:15:28]:

Yeah. It’s fascinating because I have this conversation. Let’s start from what is the definition of shadow IT? Right. So I had this conversation with one of the CIOs that I mentor when I say total company revenue, 9 billion. They have plants in about manufacturing plants in, I think, six or seven countries. They have about a dozen manufacturing plants in North America. And the US CIO built her own shadow IT because the corporate CIO viewed that as shadow IT. There’s this regional CIO. Darn it. I want to put their own It stuff in place. And even the word shadow IT makes me cringe. Because in the end, it’s not like you go to the finance department and say, hey, is there any finance, any shadow money in this company? Any shadow finance? Because if they did that and they said yes, you’d be like, somebody needs to get fired.

Because that means finance and not managing the money. And here we are talking about shadow it, and it’s like, no, it’s technology. The company needs to operate technology. People that use if you don’t have a way, like Mike says, if you can’t go understand why they use the technology and how to make it easy for them to use, you have a problem. And then not to also downplay the fact that not everybody’s like Mike and Chuck and Jeff. Right. We kind of build shadow IT shops, but we kind of know what we’re doing. A lot of the people that do that don’t. They don’t understand security. They don’t understand privacy. And when everything blows up, the company is in trouble. So the CIO had nothing to do with it. But guess what? They get tagged with it. So, yeah, embrace it is the right word. Embrace it, channel it, understand why they do it, and give them an answer. Figure out a way to say yes. Yeah.

Mike King [00:17:27]:

And it’s funny because we were brought in by a CIO, and the company didn’t think they were doing anything in digital? Well, let’s ask around. And so we went out to all the teams around the world. It’s like, what are you guys doing? Here’s a map full of all kinds of great stuff. And they’re all doing the same thing, but just in pockets. It’s like the only thing missing is a leader, and you’ve got the whole thing already running. So step in and lead.

Jeff Ton [00:17:54]:

I always tried to embrace shadow IT when I was CIO. It was a way to help me manage the constraints I was under.

If I could get other people to do some of the work, good Lord, why wouldn’t I take advantage of that?

Mike King [00:18:09]:

Amazing what you can do with perishable tools and shop supply budget.

Jeff Ton [00:18:12]:

Yeah, that’s right. We were a SharePoint shop. But we also went Google from an email platform and Google Sites. You can build your own sites. And we started to see these Google Sites popping up everywhere that were not being developed by IT. So, I’ve gathered the people that were publishing these sites together, and we just sat down. I think they thought they were going to get in trouble. The CIO was going to come in and smack their hand like a nun. And we really just had this great conversation about, hey, Mike, I see you built this Google site, and should it be open to the public or should it be internal? And Mike says, well, gosh, it should be internal. And I’m like, well, you do realize you’ve got it set public right now, so maybe we should change that. Right? And so, you start to let the team put the guardrails around it and some of the controls around it.

Mike King [00:19:16]:


Jeff Ton [00:19:17]:

So we’ve had a couple of suggestions in the comments about what CIO should be. Right. It should be the Chief Innovation Officer was one of the comments. Another one was Chief Business Design Officer. I think those are great. And so, when you think about the customers that you work with, are you seeing the technology leader, the IT leader being that Innovation officer? Are you seeing them being that Business Design officer? Are some of them getting involved in those conversations?

Mike King [00:19:59]:

Yeah, we’re definitely seeing that. Again. As companies mature in this again, sometimes you need specialists to sort of get the programs running. But as you start hitting this stride, what you end up having to do is actually shrink down the titles because only one person can own the cloud. Only one person can own security. And so, it is really that reality of you’re in this. So you got to figure it out and lead this. And even to the point where we’re seeing the CIO taking on far more business-facing responsibility, whether it’s analytics, whether it’s running parts of the actual production, because at a leadership team level, you only have certain number of seats.

And so, as you get better, as you integrate all these different areas, those convergence walls start to become new silos. And as the speed picks up under your digital, as the data is flowing, those walls all got to start disappearing. And so we’re seeing again, it could be, like you said, a technical person, a strategic, it depends on the environment, but everyone trying to do the CIO’s job that the CIO is fully capable of doing. You can’t afford it, and it just gets in the way. And so, as companies mature, those start going away.

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:21:31]:

So I have a slightly different…I’m not disagreeing with you, just yeah, okay, first of all, at some point we’re going to have a chief of chief of titles. Everybody’s got a chief in front of them, but what are you actually a chief of? Right. So we’re going to start from the fact that take it back to first principles. If the company leadership is not technology aware, technology-enabled, and they don’t want to be…perfectly acceptable choice…they need to have the member of the team that brings that technology aspect to the table.

Now, there’s not a single member on the executive team these days that’s not an information officer. If you have a C-level person that believes digital information is useless, you should fire them because they’re an idiot and out of touch. Right? So I don’t think that and I haven’t met anyone well, maybe a few 20 years ago, but these days, every C-level person understands the importance, and they have a little bit of that CIO responsibility because they get it. But what you don’t have is the understanding of the deployment and implementation of their technology, the impact on the business, things like that. So every C-level suite needs to have somebody like that right now, what the title is. Call them anything you want. It doesn’t really matter as long as everybody knows that there’s the direction that’s coming about, all these things. And then you can talk about, all right, now who owns the plumbing, the infrastructure, who owns security, who owns all these things?

So to me, always start from companies don’t transform executive leadership teams at the top transform, which then drives the transformation of the company. And then talk about the actual individual. I had a funny conversation with a pretty well-known recruiting firm about six months ago. Called me up, said, hey, we’re looking for somebody for this job, and somebody tell me about the job. What’s the job? So she goes to the job and it’s like, wow, man, if I was looking for a job, I’d go after that and I quote, oh, you don’t qualify for that job. Or she goes, oh, my God. You could just do your job with your eyes closed and two hands behind your back on one leg, but you won’t qualify. I said, what do you mean? Part of the requirement is that they want you to have this couple of certifications she rattled off and I just started laughing. I’m like, okay, so this executive team doesn’t understand what this C-level person is going to do. They think that being a Cisco certified is a requirement for being at a C-level role.

So it’s this whole title thing. It just frustrates me most of the time because doesn’t mean the same thing in different companies.

Jeff Ton [00:24:37]:

Well, and I think where the confusion comes in, is when you have that proliferation, right? And you’ve got so many people that are trying to…they’re all trying to do the right thing for the most part, but they’re stepping on each other’s toes as they’re doing it. I saw a comment a minute ago from Chris that we should call the CIO the Chief Chaos Officer. Because that’s really what you’re doing, right, is managing the chaos. I love that. That’s a great point there from Buck Bryan, needs to lead the orchestration. The CIO almost becomes the conductor of the throughout that.

Mike King [00:25:27]:

I think what we’re seeing is whatever CXO title, whatever maturity, the CIO is a partner of whomever that person or persons are. And so they have to have that seat at the table to manage the risk, the implementation, and if it’s the CTO, if it’s a CDIO, whatever, fabulous. But it doesn’t resolve the issue that the CIO is now critical path at the table, owning and partnering and bringing it home. And I think when I see the explosion of titles, everyone’s running from the title of CIO or some of the crappy work that they got to do, right? Because they want all the fun stuff, right?

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:26:13]:

Yeah. That is a disservice to the organization, because in the end, somebody still has to run the plumbing, right? Somebody has to worry about security. So it’s fascinating. The other thing, To this whole CIO thing, is there’s some companies where the CIO is responsible for operating that technology because the company doesn’t sell technology. It sells a product that utilizes technology, right? But then there’s other companies where they’re not becoming hybrid. They actually sell technology. They have digital products. And it’s fascinating to me, when the CIO doesn’t know anything about product development, doesn’t understand product development, never sat down through the painful process of multiple focus groups to understand what they want.

So then all of a sudden, they become the, okay, I’m the CIO and now I own product development. I own the digital product portfolio. And you’re sitting there like, okay, I get it that you do, but who’s your person on your team that actually understands product development?

So, I was asked to speak to a group in a major metro city, CIOs, and they asked me about one of the questions they want to talk about was how come not more of us are invited to see it on corporate boards? And I know, Jeff, you’re going to say it was a snarky comment, and it kind of was. I said, I said, I’ll tell you what. Show of hands, how many of you can describe an ROIC model? Maybe 10%. Understood. The others didn’t even know what the acronym meant. I was like, okay, so if you can’t explain a return invested capital model to your board, how are you going to ask them to give you money to develop futures? Right. Let alone things that you want to experiment with? So we’re in this weird place right now. Yeah, it’s fascinating.

Jeff Ton [00:28:10]:

I love some of the comments that are coming in as we’re having this conversation. And Mike, you said something that I thought was pretty important that I want to go back to for just a second, and that is, regardless of how many C titles you have, the person that is in charge of the technology, the CIO, as we’re calling them today, is now critical path in organizations where they might not have…Chuck, you were talking about organizations whose product or service is not technology. It’s something else. But now, all of a sudden, the CIO is finding themselves in critical path. And so, my question for you is, are the CIOs ready to be in the critical path?

Mike King [00:29:03]:

Ready or not?

And that’s the thing, is this is a macro issue, and so companies are competing on how well they can answer that question. And what we’re seeing is an opportunity for the CIO, either intentionally or the openings there, to sort of whining about not being at the table or not having the opportunity to lead. is to step in. Because, I mean, the CIO, end of the day, they got the boots on, the ground. They’ve got more coverage to the organization than anyone, probably even better than Finance. So in actually executing all these programs, managing the data, the connectivity, the security, the risk, the scale, nobody else can do it. They have to show up. And if they don’t understand it, get out there and learn.

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:30:00]:

Here’s an interesting, and some of my CIO friends are going to cringe when I say this, but the best CIO I’ve ever worked with was actually didn’t have the title CIO. He had the title of COO. Because by far the most competent CIO I have ever known and I ever worked with, run a multibillion-dollar operation, operations all over the world. He had the title of Chief Operating Officer because the company and the executive team clearly understood that the CIO, the guy that runs the plumbing, the CISO, in the end, it’s all about running the operation of a company. And it was a shift. And this was a hardcore operator executive who happened to have a solid technology background and could provide guidance to the CIO and the CTO and the CISO, and all these other technology C-levels. So, yeah, you’re right. The CIO has to step in and recognize that, yeah, you’re not running the plumbing anymore. You’re responsible for the operations of the company, right?

Jeff Ton [00:31:08]:

But to your point earlier, Chuck, about that, someone still has to run the plumbing, right? A good friend of mine, Glenn Keller, I love this quote from him. Glenn always says, no one wants to talk strategies when the printers are down.

Mike King [00:31:24]:


Jeff Ton [00:31:24]:

Right. You got to have that stuff going on. And Jeff Dodson just made a great comment on this question that we were just asking. Is the inverse also an issue? Is the exec team ready for a CIO to be a company leader? And many times, they’re not because they still see the CIO kind of in this box, right?

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:31:49]:

Yeah. I don’t buy that.

Jeff Ton [00:31:51]:

No companies are ready?

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:31:54]:

No, I think that’s the wrong question.

Jeff Ton [00:31:58]:


Chuck Papageorgiou [00:31:59]:

I mean, any leadership team, if you step into a role and you demonstrate competence and consistent behavior and understanding and alignment with the team’s values, why the hell would they not accept you for that? So that’s the wrong question. Of course, they’re ready. They’re always ready. If you show up in a model that they understand, that fits with the definition of ready. But if you show up and you want to talk about the futuristic things that you want to do with technology but don’t understand fundamental company operations, they’ll never be ready for you.

Mike King [00:32:35]:

The way I would put it is, again, a lot of CEOs have no clue. This is not why they’re CEO. And so, to Chuck’s point, they’re waiting for someone to step in and partner, lead, own. And so, they’ll come back, and they think digital transformation is a VR headset and whatever. I see the digital twin. Right. Literally. So, there’s definitely an understanding gap in a lot of CEOs, and that’s where the CIO definitely needs to step in, whether as the leader or the coach or the partner because they are the technical leader for information in the company. But they can’t come at it. To Chuck’s point, what’s your requirements and how many users? What does this mean to the company, the risk, the execution, the opportunity? How do we as a leadership team work together through that? So that’s the leadership void that is there. And again, they wouldn’t think in the traditional CIO, is the printer down, the cell phones work, right, role, that the CIO would step forward, but leaders lead, right?

It doesn’t matter what your job title is. If you’re not stepping in, and if you see the risk, the opportunity, and you’ve got the wherewithal to step in, we’ll take anybody.

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:34:03]:


Jeff Ton [00:34:05]:

I guarantee you, if you’re in a board meeting and you’re the CIO and the AV equipment doesn’t work, everybody’s looking at you to fix it.

Mike King [00:34:16]:


Jeff Ton [00:34:17]:

And it’s like, I’m sorry. I don’t know.

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:34:20]:

But it comes with the job.

Mike King [00:34:22]:

If the security on your connected product goes tits up, CEO gets called just the same. Whether he or she had anything to do.

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:34:34]:

So it’s accepted. When I was in the service. Embrace the suck. It’s going to suck. It’s part of the job. It’s funny. I joke with my house. I’m the geek squad for my entire family. Yes, okay. But you know what? If you’re going to step up and lead and say, well, I’m the technology person, yes. You’re going to get the goofy question. Say, you know what, how come I can get my phone to do X? Of course, it is. It’s part of the job. It’s part of being human. The other thing to Mike’s point, though is and that’s the other snarky comment that I make when I go to Leadership Conference, don’t confuse leadership and management because you might be a great leadership, management, competence, and popularity are the four dimensions that everybody confuses all the time. If you’re going to step up to the C suite, not only do you have to be able to demonstrate leadership capabilities, you better know how to manage what you’re trying to manage. You better be competent and don’t confuse popularity with what needs to get done because if you’re in the C suite, you’re going to have to make some unpopular decisions.

Jeff Ton [00:35:44]:

Very good point. Hey, guys, we are running up on time already. I knew this was we may have to do a part two of this conversation, but before we end, I always love to end, whether it’s my Status Go podcast or whether it’s one of the Digital Dialogues, I always love to end with a very strong call to action. So, I’m going to put you guys on the spot and Chuck, I’m going to tag you first. What are one or two things our listeners should do tomorrow because they listen to this conversation today? What are the actions that they should go do?

Chuck Papageorgiou [00:36:23]:

Well, the first thing that I would do as either a CIO or an aspiring CIO is understand the function that I want to play or decide the function that I want to play within the business. And if I decide I want to be the person for technology, the executive that’s going to drive that, then go understand the business. Understand how the financials of the business work. Understand that, because you don’t want to ever walk into a C-level street and talk about your technology in a vacuum as an isolated thing. So that’s the first thing.

And the second thing that I would do is understand that somebody has to run the plumbing. So maybe find a more efficient way to run the plumbing if you don’t want to run it, but somebody has to run the plumbing.

Jeff Ton [00:37:16]:

Great point. Mike, how about you? What are one or two things that you would recommend to our listeners?

Mike King [00:37:21]:

Definitely a couple. I think the first one is for that CIO, take the staff and go see the business. Go out to manufacturing, go out to engineering, go out to your sales teams with a simple ask, how can we help? The CIO can help more people just by saying yes and showing it the smallest thing in the world. But how can I help, as CIO, help you go better, faster, be more efficient and champion than that.

And then the second piece, I think we don’t touch on it enough, is this is a new expectation for a lot of people in the organization and recognize that. And so, start talking to your teams about what are they seeing, your architects, your infrastructure, folks, your network. And it’s like, what do we not know? How can we as an organization get ready for this? How do our employees get ready for this? Do we have the processes that are set up for our business partners? Not at the C suite, but at the ground root, right? How do we enable that and just recognize you are where you are and it’s a journey and let’s work it together. And it’s all just working together. That was one of the big mottos at Boeing is like the hardest thing about flying, building an airplane is to convince 4 million individual parts to leave the ground at the same time. That only flies if we all work together. Every one of us doing our job, working together. And if we work together, we touch the sky.

And so, it is what it is. Get out there, talk to your folks, lead your team. At the end of the day, tThis is a people issue. It’s people working together, leveraging data, making great decisions with data line of sight from top to bottom. And CIO plays a huge role, probably the most pivotal role, regardless of how they’re positioned, regardless of the title. And they’ve got to be there. Their teams have got to be ready for it.

Jeff Ton [00:39:28]:

I will add to that when you do go out and be in the business…is to listen and observe, right? Listening and observing. You can learn a lot. I used to love going on…we called him Ride Alongs when I was with Goodwill, and I’d ride along with Kent Kramer, who’s now the CEO there. And we would go to the retail stores, and it was an opportunity to see the store through his eyes. What’s important to him, what’s he looking at? What questions is he asking? I didn’t even have to say, how can we help? I’d walk away with thousands of ways we could help, right? Just by observing.

So, gentlemen, I have to pause and say thank you very much for carving out time to be on this Digital Dialogue. It was a lot of fun. So thank you guys very much. With that, gentlemen, thank you so much. Listeners and viewers, thank you so much. Until next time, this is another Digital Dialogue.

Thank you very much for joining us today on this special episode of Status Go. If you have a question or want to learn more, visit, the show Notes will provide links and contact information. If you’d like to learn more about the Institute for Digital Transformation, visit That’s I, the number four, D T dot org. This is Jeff Ton for Mike King and Chuck Papageorgiou, thank you very much for listening.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:41:11]:

You’ve been listening to the Status Go podcast. You can subscribe on iTunes or get more information at If you’d like to contribute to the conversation, find InterVision on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Thank you for listening. Until next time.

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