CIO Development

Sponsor feedback on CIO Academy

Feedback on the opening phase of the CIO Academy

The CIO Academy programme was created and is being delivered by CIO Development for RSA (Royal & Sun Alliance), a global general insurance company.

The questions were put to Ian Bromwich, Global CTO and prime mover of the CIO Academy by Brinley Platts, Chairman of CIO Development, in October 2011.

Question: Ian, what attracted you about establishing an in-company CIO Academy course for your next generation of IT leaders, and what convinced you to engage CIO Development Ltd to deliver it?

There are significant industry movements in the delivery of IT capability and increased pressure on CIOs for greater business alignment and value creation from IT.  We reviewed our internal talent and realised we needed to make a step change not only in the CIOs but also a number of people who report into them.  We wanted to expose them to the world of a CIO, how this will be evolving over time and what tools can be used to become a successful CIO.

We chose CIO Development Ltd for several reasons: (1) I had been on the CIO Pocket MBA course four years ago and I was aware of the impact (2) We wanted to personalise a course to our liking. (3) We wanted this to be vendor/analyst agnostic.  (4) We needed close alignment and support from the Group HR and they wanted some involvement in the Programme. When we considered these requirements, CIO Development was the clear leader.

Question: Any major programme of development has to start somewhere. What were you hoping to achieve in Module 1 and did you achieve it?

There were numerous goals:

– Get everyone in the room to park their jobs for 2.5 days to be totally committed in the event
– Share the strengths and constraints of the current IS strategy
– Give a case study of a powerful journey to becoming a CIO
– Give everyone the opportunity to create a future journey
– Build a community of like-minded people
– Change people’s thinking around the role of IT, role of the CIO, Op models, personal brand, rate of the change in the industry

We achieved beyond what I was expecting. I knew the content would be great but I wasn’t sure how they’d receive it, the team have quite different roles from very different parts of RSA.  It was excellent and the strong feedback continues to flow this week.

Question: Did you achieve or see other useful things happening in Module 1; maybe things that were not on your original list?

The pairing up of people with similar roles and experiences: there were three examples where people are going to start working closer together and start sharing insights and best practices, even when they live in different continents.

I was personally moved by some of the comments and feedback by five people, who asked for a quiet chat to share these with me.

Question: How effective did you find the CIO Development teaching and development style? Is it challenging, encouraging, supportive enough for your participants?

The content and pace were both spot on.  It was open and collaborative and gave everyone a chance to contribute. For module 3 I think we should consider one or two more exercises/breakouts, pairing specific people together.

Question: What were the best or most powerful aspects of your Module 1 experience? And what is your overall impression of the Academy programme so far?

When people I respect and work with say “that’s the best people investment RSA has made” and “this is the best development programme I’ve ever been on” that’s incredible.  Even the one candidate who I thought was ‘too big’ for the programme said he got real value out of it.

It has been brilliant.  I’m thinking about some minor tweaks to Module 3, and anniversary get together next year and also giving the community a project or two to deliver once we’ve delivered module 3.

Overall impression was that incredible results were achieved, way more than expected. Many of the 14 went in not really knowing what to expect, but all left deeply impressed and in some cases moved.

Question: Would you recommend the CIO Development Academy approach to others if asked for a reference? 

Without a doubt. The ‘standard’ CIO Pocket MBA is great, but I think the “RSA style” pieces we added in Module 1 & 3 adds real weight and a personalised it more for them.

Question: May we quote what you have said?

Yes – happy to be quoted and to take references calls.