CUCCIO CIOs collaborate in T.O.

Posted on September 11, 2019 by

A couple of weeks ago, on Aug. 27th and 28th we had a face-to-face meeting of the CUCCIO board. I want to share a few teasers of what happened, but not too much, as this needs to go to the whole organization for discussion, and that won’t happen until October.

Bo and the CIOs

It is always energizing to get together with my CIO peers from across the country, especially to think strategically about the organization. We held the meeting at a hotel by Toronto Pearson Airport, as that seemed to minimize the overall effort of peoples’ travel. For me it was only a quick UP Express ride away, so thanks to everyone for taking on the travel burden.

The first day was packed, lasting through a working dinner. This was all in the same room, and it was at that point I wished I had a bed in the hotel. We started with people setting expectations and someone suggested we need to tackle some long standing issues/concerns that needed change. That certainly got my attention and set a tone, but then this group has a high level of trust and it is easy to take on any challenge or discussion. I have not been engaged in many organizations that do that so well. We spent a lot of time looking at our vision and goals and brainstorming what we did well as an organization. There was a wall full of ideas on what we did well. Upon reflection most of those came down to the first goal of CUCCIO which is “Facilitate information sharing and foster best practices in the management and delivery of information technology.”

After that exercise we broke into groups and did some story telling about what we wanted the organization to be doing a few years out. This is a really powerful exercise that we used in our strategic planning here at U of T. It brings a lot of clarity to describe what people really want. Interestingly, most of those stories were not related to what we defined as doing well, but more themed around building and sustaining relationships, being trusted advisors, advocating, collaboration and leadership development. These things align with the organizations goals two through four.

From my perspective this shows an organization at a cross roads. We have done a lot of fantastic things that we should be proud of over the first 11 years, but now it might be time shift gears and be much more aspirational. CUCCIO, and the CIOs are being asked a lot for comment on sector-wide issues and in order to effectively respond and bring our stories to life, we are going to need to change the way the organization operates and how it is resourced – but then I promised only to give a teaser. This is peppered with my own views and there needs to be a broader discussion in October. Stay tuned!

As always, so happy to be part of CUCCIO and I value the ability to participate in big picture discussions with such an amazing, informed and passionate group of peers.