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Lead, Reimagine, and Reinvent to Drive Growth and Create Value in Unprecedented Times












Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons is the oldest independent publishing company in the United States. With offices in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, Wiley is globally committed to developing and marketing print and electronic products and services for our customers' professional and personal knowledge and understanding.

The Wiley CIO series provides information, tools, and insights to IT executives and managers. The products in this series cover a wide range of topics that supply strategic and implementation guidance on the latest technology trends, leadership, and emerging best practices.

Titles in the Wiley CIO series include:

  • The Agile Architecture Revolution: How Cloud Computing, REST-Based SOA, and Mobile Computing Are Changing Enterprise IT by Jason Bloomberg
  • Architecting the Cloud: Design Decisions for Cloud Computing Service Models by Michael J. Kavis
  • Big Data, Big Analytics: Emerging Business Intelligence and Analytic Trends for Today's Businesses by Michael Minelli, Michele Chambers, and Ambiga Dhiraj
  • The Big Shift in IT Leadership: How Great CIOs Leverage the Power of Technology for Strategic Business Growth in the Customer-Centric Economy by Hunter Muller
  • The CEO of Technology: Lead, Re-imagine and Invent to Drive Growth and Value in Unprecedented Times by Hunter Muller
  • The Chief Information Officer's Body of Knowledge: People, Process, and Technology by Dean Lane
  • CIO Best Practices: Enabling Strategic Value with Information Technology (Second Edition) by Joe Stenzel, Randy Betancourt, Gary Cokins, Alyssa Farrell, Bill Flemming, Michael H. Hugos, Jonathan Hujsak, and Karl Schubert
  • The CIO Playbook: Strategies and Best Practices for IT Leaders to Deliver Value by Nicholas R. Colisto
  • Cloud Computing and Electronic Discovery by James P. Martin and Harry Cendrowski
  • The Complete Software Project Manager: Mastering Technology from Planning to Launch and Beyond by Anna P. Murray
  • Confessions of a Successful CIO: How the Best CIOs Tackle Their Toughest Business Challenges by Dan Roberts and Brian P. Watson
  • Enterprise Performance Management Done Right: An Operating System for Your Organization by Ron Dimon
  • Executive's Guide to Virtual Worlds: How Avatars Are Transforming Your Business and Your Brand by Lonnie Benson
  • Information Governance: Concepts, Strategies, and Best Practices by Robert F. Smallwood
  • IT Leadership Manual: Roadmap to Becoming a Trusted Business Partner by Alan R. Guibord
  • Leading the Epic Revolution: How CIOs Drive Innovation and Create Value Across the Enterprise by Hunter Muller
  • Managing Electronic Records: Methods, Best Practices, and Technologies by Robert F. Smallwood
  • On Top of the Cloud: How CIOs Leverage New Technologies to Drive Change and Build Value Across the Enterprise by Hunter Muller
  • Straight to the Top: CIO Leadership in a Mobile, Social, and Cloud-based World (Second Edition) by Gregory S. Smith
  • Strategic IT: Best Practices for Managers and Executives by Arthur M. Langer and Lyle Yorks
  • Transforming IT Culture: How to Use Social Intelligence, Human Factors, and Collaboration to Create an IT Department That Outperforms by Frank Wander
  • Unleashing the Power of IT: Bringing People, Business, and Technology Together (Second Edition) by Dan Roberts
  • The U.S. Technology Skills Gap: What Every Technology Executive Must Know to Save America's Future by Gary J. Beach

For Brice and Chase


I've spoken often about the challenges facing Apple in markets where functionality is more highly valued than aesthetics. I've also written about how the spirit of Steve Jobs lives on in every Apple product. When you pick up an Apple device, you feel a magical connection with a legendary genius.

That's why I'm not too worried about the future of Apple. Yes, Apple will face increasingly harsh competition from other tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon. But Apple will survive, and here's why: Apple has a culture of genius.

The genius culture knows no limits. The genius culture dreams the impossible. The genius culture sets the imagination free and lets it run wild. The genius culture has no boundaries. It is truly global and universal. It's a leader, not a follower.

I sincerely believe in its long-term value as a foundational element in strategic leadership and business growth.

The culture of genius unlocks unlimited potential, not only within the organization, but also beyond its boundaries. It is a culture that drives and enables continuous improvement and reinvention. It is a platform for creative disruption and relentless innovation in core, adjacent, and new markets. Essentially, it is a culture that radically expands potential and continually opens doors to growth.

It is also a learning culture, in the sense that you're never relying totally on your own abilities and knowledge. Establishing and sustaining a culture of genius requires a steady intake of new information. You are always in the learning mode, always looking for new ideas and new trends that can be turned rapidly into new products and services.

The culture of genius is a virtuous circle, fed by learning, analyzing, developing, and testing—all at extremely high speed. The goal is getting new products and services to market before your competitors even realize there's a need for those products!

Continuous innovation requires incredible levels of discipline, strength, and agility. From my perspective, those qualities are now table stakes. If you don't have them, you're not really in the game. But you need a culture of genius that consistently supports, encourages, embeds, and rewards those qualities over the long haul. It can't be a two-week program; it needs to become the deep culture of the organization.

Genius as a Core Capability

What do companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Tesla have in common? The answer is simple: They have a culture of genius.

The culture of those companies is their core strength. It's the foundation upon which they build and achieve incredible success, year after year. Cultures of genius don't sit still; they lead, innovate, reimagine, and reinvent the world around them.

Make no mistake: A genius culture doesn't just happen. It's not an overnight phenomenon. It takes years of courage, discipline, hard work, and effort to build a genius culture and to grow it successfully. It requires visionary leadership and deep understanding of how modern markets work.

It also takes nerves of steel. Building a genius culture isn't a part-time job. It requires your attention, your presence, and your commitment.

I sincerely believe that the genius culture concept is both real and valuable. I invite you to join our quest to learn more about the culture of genius, and to join our explorations as we look for the core traits of genius in the twenty-first century.

I'll take it a step further: Organizations that build and nurture cultures of genius will thrive and succeed; organizations that stick with the status quo will wither and die.

The value proposition is clear: Companies with a culture of genius will perform at levels that are far above their rivals. They will leave their competitors in the dust, wondering what happened.

Having a culture of genius enables your organization to recognize subtle shifts in markets, respond rapidly with practical go-to-market strategies, and capture first-mover advantages before anyone else is even aware of the opportunities.

A culture of genius creates its own momentum, racing ahead of the pack and establishing front-runner status. Instead of following the herd, you inspire, uplift, and motivate your teams, your business partners, your supply chains, and your customers to continually seek the next level of greatness.

A culture of genius isn't afraid of the future—it embraces the future and revels in its unlimited potential.


This is my fifth book, and like its predecessors, this book represents several years of in-depth research and analysis.

I am honored to acknowledge the contributions of our expert sources, who shared their time, insight, and experiences freely and without reservation. I personally thank Snehal Antani, Helen Arnold, Ramón Baez, Asheem Chandna, Guy Chiarello, Mignona Cote, Lee Congdon, Jason Cooper, Kirsten Davies, Dana Deasy, Scott Fenton, John Foley, Pat Gelsinger, Clark Golestani, Patty Hatter, Kevin Haskew, Shawn Henry, Zack Hicks, Adriana Karaboutis, Tim Kasbe, Ralph Loura, Shamim Mohammad, Tom Peck, Mark Polansky, John Rossman, Bernadette Rotolo, Bill Ruh, Kevin Sealy, Raj Singh, Naresh Shanker, Jim Swanson, Joe Topinka, Michael Wilson, and Deanna Wise for contributing their expertise and wisdom to this book.

I also thank my excellent team here at HMG Strategy: Kimberly Ball, Darien Bisson, Travis Drew, Tom Hoffman, Melissa Marr, Peggy Pedwano, Lindsay Prior, and Kristen Sciliano.

Additionally, I thank Mike Barlow, who served as editorial director on this book project. Mike's professional advice and guidance were invaluable.

And of course, I thank my editor, Sheck Cho, for his generous support and dedication over the many years we've worked together.


Roughly 2 million years ago, our Stone Age ancestors discovered how to control fire. Ever since, progress and innovation have defined human culture. We invented the crossbow, printing press, steam engine, electricity, internal combustion engine, air travel, atomic power, digital information technology, and space travel. Each invention rocked our world and moved us further into an unknown future. Despite our uncertainty, we keep moving forward.

Think of the amazing visionaries who have shaped our modern world: Newton, Watt, Curie, Einstein, Edison, Ford, Gates, Jobs, and Musk. They saw the future and they remade the universe. They are the role models and the avatars of meaningful progress and transformation.

Today, the pace of innovation is accelerating at a rate that would have been simply unimaginable 10 years ago. By 2030, the world will be a completely different place than the world our parents knew.

Artificial intelligence, bioengineering, ubiquitous computing, advanced manufacturing, driverless cars, drones, nanobots, blockchain, and new financial technologies (fintech) will fundamentally and profoundly transform every aspect of our lives.

So here's my question: Are you ready for 2030? Are you making the right investments and focusing on the right strategies for a world that does not resemble anything we could have imagined in the past? Are you preparing for a future of unprecedented change and transformation, at every level of society and across all industries?

If you're not, you and your company will not survive. You will be swept away by a flood of competitors who have learned how to innovate more quickly and more effectively. You will face a deluge of competition from companies that are more nimble, more agile, and more able to capitalize on new ideas quicker than you can.

This isn't idle speculation. This is both a challenge and a warning: Innovate or die. Yes, it's difficult to predict the future. But it's not difficult to predict that the success of your enterprise will depend on your ability to prepare for future scenarios that are wildly different from anything we are experiencing today.

Are you ready for that kind of change and transformation? Do you have the infrastructure, the talent, and the resources necessary to move swiftly and take advantage of opportunities at the moment they arise? Do you have the courage, expertise, and experience necessary to create new markets for new kinds of products and services? Are you ready to lead the revolution, and not just follow the herd?

From my perspective, the greatest and most effective leaders are also the most visionary leaders. So let's begin by asking this question: What's your vision for 2030?

The Burning Platform

We live in unprecedented times. Markets are chaotic. Consumer demand is unpredictable. Product cycles have tightened drastically. Regulations, rules, and guidelines are changing rapidly. Everywhere you look, there is turbulence and upheaval. With amazing force and astonishing speed, the paradigm has shifted.

As leaders, we face continuous disruption and extremely rapid transformation. The C-suite and board of directors look to the CIO for expert guidance and flawless execution.

Ask yourself: Are you ready for your next meeting with the C-suite? Are you ready for your next meeting with the board of directors?

Do you have the passion, commitment, energy, and motivation to lead your organization through truly perilous times?

Are you genuinely interested in people? Do you understand what people need to do their best work? Are you willing to help the people around you succeed and thrive? Are you generous, collaborative, and cooperative? Do you have the stamina and skills required to lead high-performance teams?

Never before have the stakes been so high. The risks are clear: Make the wrong decision and your company will fall behind, suffering potentially irreparable damage to its brand and reputation.

Pressure to Innovate

The C-suite faces crushing pressure to create and deliver innovative business strategies for growth and success in modern competitive markets.

CIOs and chief information security officers (CISOs) confront a daunting array of challenging tasks and responsibilities. Expectations have risen dramatically: The digital customer experience must be fast, flawless, and completely secure.

Speed, Agility, and Creativity

For the twenty-first-century enterprise, success will depend on speed, agility, creativity, and excellence at all levels. But achieving phenomenal success will require more than just strong business acumen and superior leadership skills—it will require true digital fluency and an extraordinarily deep understanding of new technology.

This book provides a meticulously detailed roadmap to success in the age of digital transformation. It is written expressly for top executives, board members, investors, innovators, and entrepreneurs. It is a uniquely valuable collection of insight, experience, and first-hand knowledge, collected from the very best minds of our generation and gathered into one absolutely essential book.

I invite you to join me on a journey of discovery. This book will enhance and deepen the wisdom, experience, and insight that you already possess. It will make you a better, more focused, and more successful leader.

Critical Insights

In this book, we will dive deeply into key imperatives that define the CIO's mission in the modern enterprise, such as:

  • Reimagining the digital customer experience and delivering value at every touchpoint across the enterprise
  • Enabling innovation and empowering the CEO's vision for growth in core, parallel, and new markets
  • Security across the enterprise and beyond
  • Hiring and retaining top talent
  • Simplifying IT and making it easier to use
  • Building strong partnership across the C-suite and with strategic vendors
  • Creating an agile culture focused on speed to cash, performance, and innovation

Call to Action

This is my fifth book on the critical subject of technology executive leadership. It introduces a game-changing and truly visionary approach to the challenges of integrating innovative technology and modern business strategy to generate value for the twenty-first-century enterprise.

It is absolutely imperative for technology executives to become exceptional leaders and great communicators of business strategy across the modern enterprise.

IT is experiencing a seismic shift of incredible magnitude. Compared to the IT transformations of the 1990s and 2000s, today's events seem truly revolutionary. The stakes are higher, everything is in flux, and there are no guaranteed paths to success.

Great CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs are great team leaders. They are like great CEOs—they understand that it's always about the people. New technology is fine, but great people are the key to winning. Every great CEO knows that, and great CEOs surround themselves with the best talent available.

Here are some of the questions we will answer in this book:

  1. What are the qualities that CEOs want most from their CIOs, CTOs, and CISOs?
  2. How do senior tech executives create an enduring culture of leadership that will sustain the enterprise over several generations?
  3. What are the attributes needed to innovate in core, parallel, and new markets?
  4. What's required for nurturing a true culture of innovation?
  5. How do you accelerate transformation in the modern digital enterprise?
  6. What are best practices for institutionalizing a security-focused mindset throughout the enterprise?
  7. What are the qualities and attributes necessary for building world-class partnerships?
  8. What are the best strategies for simplifying IT and removing complexity from systems?
  9. How do you create a durable culture for achieving optimal speed to performance, speed to innovation, and speed to cash?

How This Book Is Structured

This book is divided roughly into two main sections. The first part (Chapters 1 through 4) features our signature interview-based approach to research. It is pure peer-to-peer knowledge transfer, based on one-to-one conversations with top executives and leaders representing industries and businesses all over the world.

The second section (Chapters 5 through 7) features deeper dives into the various challenges and opportunities facing modern CIOs and other technology executives. You will find both sections highly useful, readable, and filled with actionable ideas and insight gathered from the “best of the best” leaders in our industry.

Chapter 8 is “Key Takeaways,” which summarizes the main lessons we learned from our research. It is essentially a “cheat sheet” of important knowledge we acquired during the process of writing this book.

Following the pattern established in my previous books, we have included short biographies of our expert sources at the end of The CEO of Technology. You'll find the bios themselves to be highly useful sources of information.