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Are you sure you want to become a Chief Data Officer?

Are you sure you want to become a Chief Data Officer? 

There are still few real Chief Data Officer jobs about – Some aren’t even called CDO, but let’s use that title to make it easier.  What we are referring to is overarching Data Leadership positions, responsible for the entire Data Value Chain within established companies in need of transformation or within existing established Data Driven companies.

In the Data World this role is top of the tree; It’s the immediate ambition of leaders of different functional Data Analytics teams, and often the long term ambition of those early in their careers.

You might not reach the Chief Data Office – and that’s OK!

Not everyone will get there, nor should they want to.  Like any other top business leadership position it will involve consistent hard work and long hours over a period of 10-20 years.  It’s a long term endeavour that requires incredible focus and determination.  Many will have different priorities and ambitions, and rightly so.

But what do you have to do to get there if you really want to?  The answer of course is highly complex and you could fill a Tolstoyesque length book on the subject, but here is a few skills & experience you generally must gain:

  • Consistently exceed expectations
  • Develop your leadership skills,
  • Understand each area of the data value chain
  • Show you can manage rapid growth and transformation
  • Make sure you understand the key levers that drive success in your business
  • Network like a champion,
  • Develop your own personal brand
  • You’ll need some luck as well as judgement no doubt….

One thing that holds a lot of talented leaders of functional Data Analytics teams back is that they are to focused on the minutiae of the functional team they are leading.  This is not necessarily a bad thing as it means they are absolutely committed to the success of what they are doing.  But it can be at the detriment of being able to focus on the big picture.   The big picture in terms of their own development, but also the big picture in terms of their company’s development in leveraging data.

Here is a link to more Chief Data Officer content on our site – Chief Data Officer Challenges

Find out what Gartner are predicting for the future of the Chief Data Officer – Gartner, CDO