The CIO Paradox

Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership

Martha Heller

Regardless of industry, most major companies are becoming technology companies. The successful management of information has become so critical to a company’s goals, that in many ways, now is the age of the CIO. Yet IT executives are besieged by a host of contradictions: bad technology can bring a company to its knees, but corporate boards rarely employ CIOs; CIOs must keep costs down at the very same time that they drive innovation. CIOs are focused on the future, while they are tethered by technology decisions made in the past. These contradictions form what Martha Heller calls The CIO Paradox, a set of conflicting forces that are deeply embedded in governance, staffing, executive expectations, and even corporate culture. Heller, who has spent more than 12 years working with the CIO community, offers guidance to CIOs on how to attack, reverse, or neutralize the paradoxical elements of the CIO role. Through interviews with a wide array of successful CIOs, The CIO Paradox helps readers level the playing field for IT success and get one step closer to bringing maximum value to their companies.

Print | 978-1-937134-27-3 | $34.95
eBook | 978-1-937134-28-0 | $24.99
Enhanced eBook | 978-1-937134-29-7 | $24.99
6 x 9 hardcover | 256 pages
October 16, 2012

Media Coverage

  • In The CIO Paradox, Martha Heller has clearly articulated the many contradictions that permeate the CIO role. But more than that, she includes rich examples of how successful CIOs have managed to break through these contradictions. IT leadership is a balancing act, as Heller demonstrates in this entertaining and insightful book.
    Carol Zierhoffer, VP & Global CIO, Xerox
  • Martha does a great job of capturing the paradox of not just the CIO role, but of Enterprise IT as a whole. In a world that greatly admires technology and over-rewards the start-up, how is the "brand" of the enterprise CIO and the technology teams that support our business so weak? As a CIO that has survived this paradox for more than a decade, I appreciate the insights of The CIO Paradox.
    Robert B. Carter, EVP & CIO, FedEx Corporation
  • In The CIO Paradox, Heller has her finger on the pulse of the major contradictions that plague the CIO role today, including being hired to be strategic, but spending most of our time being operational. Her recommendations on how to overcome major paradoxes offer concise and helpful advice to CIOs on becoming more successful in the role.
    Gregory S. Smith, CIO at an international firm, and author of Straight to the Top: Becoming a World-Class CIO
  • Martha Heller has unparalleled access to CIOs. She advises them, writes about them, and recruits them. With her terrific book, The CIO Paradox, she lets us in on all that she has learned and the advice she has given. The result is an invaluable resource. Martha demonstrates that for CIOs to be successful in this day and age, they must achieve balance in their skills, plans, and methods to eliminate blind spots and to achieve sustainable success for their departments and for their companies.
    Peter High, President, Metis Strategy, LLC and author of World Class IT: Why Businesses Succeed When IT Triumphs
  • What makes The CIO Paradox a compelling read is the understanding Martha has of the vast challenges today's CIOs are faced with. Throughout the book you have those "aha!" moments that energize any reader who works in or supports the IT profession. The organized, blunt fashion in which she states the paradox, while injecting the perfect amount of humor, is terrific, as are her conclusions. This is not a book about IT that will bore you!
    Pamela J. Stenson, Senior Vice President & General Manager, CIO Executive Council