What makes the best CIOs so successful? 

Is it technical expertise, or business acumen?

Is it the ability to run the day to day operations, or to deliver new projects?

Is it driving efficiencies from the current set-up, or building a vision for the future?

Where do people and relationships fit into this picture? Building and developing a strong team for example.

Richard Hawes generated some interesting discussion with his post “Is there a language barrier between IT and the Business?”. Pearl Zhu wrote a great piece titled “IT at Cutting-Edge, CIO leads as a Bridge” which argues that the CIO acts a bridge between a number of things, including those mentioned above.

My view? The CIO is a chameleon that must balance all of the above and many more. Building relationships has always been a crucial CIO skill, however, being able to talk business is becoming more and more important.

What are your thoughts? What characteristics are key?