Today's business environment is dominated by constantly changing conditions and impacted by external factors beyond most organisations control. This demands a new type of leadership style. One that can be comfortable implementing and trying new approaches to confront crises management - not just a change agent but a rebel change agent.

An individual that finds the challenge of leading an organisation into unknown territory an irresistible opportunity. This is true for most C level positions, however I would suggest no C level executive is more exposed then the Chief information officer (CIO), chief digital information officer (CDIO) or information technology (IT) director, is a job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise responsible for the information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals.

It is quite likely that the CIO position is the most complicated and demanding job in organizations today. Having to deal with rapid change in technology, business, customers, and greater security concerns. And all of this is done in a world filled with uncertainty and risk, growing regulation, legal ambiguity, and competitors from around the globe. Add the growing sophistication and aggressiveness of these cyber criminals.

In the face of these challenges, it is undoubtedly a tough time to be a CIO. But it is also a great time to be in the field, if you're up for the excitement and challenges.

The pace of change is increasing in the technology, economic, and geopolitical environments; and complexity is the new norm. The use of "the cloud" continues to grow rapidly, and yet 80% of IT is still delivered in-house. Cybersecurity spending is rising even more, yet "being secure" is more difficult these days. There is more demand for IT services from users of analytics, big data and marketing through an increasing number of technology conduits (e.g. internet, social, mobile, locational, or something else). And now, there is the Internet of Things, with sensors, robotics, and artificial intelligence causing additional business disruption. It is also clear that not all organizations and CIOs and their C-suite brethren will make it successfully through this transition period.

Thus the need to have the CIO be a change agent or their most trusted right hand manager. This approach will spark a new era of radical transformation, knowing full well that the status quo will lead to business failure. By influencing one person at a time one can overturn outdated traditional organizational values and create a new culture that embraces change. A culture that sparks early adopters to join in and help build the advocacy needed to transform the whole company.

A passion to lead is likely what sets the rebel change agent apart from other good leadership qualities. In addition to passion, commitment to the vision and the tenacity to stay the course are normal qualities we find with a passionate leader.

In most cases people who are successful and achieve great things have passion. They find the areas they are passionate about then stay focused on them. Passionate leaders genuinely believe in what they espouse. People are touched and engaged by the genuineness of their passion. They walk their talk, their behaviors support their beliefs.

I have learned over the years that it doesn't matter what your passion is, but it does matter how far you are willing to go with it, and most importantly who you are going to share it with. A passionate leader builds great teams because they convey the power of their belief without dismissing or belittling others’ points of view. They are open to others views and ideas and dole out credit freely. Their commitment is steadfast and their tenacity ensures they never fold when difficulties arise.

Real passion provides inspiration that’s much deeper than a rah rah speech or a temporary emotional high. Passionate leaders make people feel included in the leader’s commitment, part of making important things happen. That is most satisfying on a very deep level, and is everlasting for all that buy in to the passion.

So what are some of the key attributes of a rebel change agent:

• An inner passion depicted by persistence, tenacity, grit, outspokenness, and the willingness to confront others when necessary
• An ardent ability to see new business models, articulate the actions needed and ignite actions in others
• The ability to plant the seeds of change and encourage others to take ownership, while building out a cohesive team, without the need to take credit

The biggest obstacle will be executive business leaders, who can be threatened by the informal power and advocacy of a rebel change agent. I suggest the business leaders that openly embrace this approach and empower the rebel change agent will be the business leaders we look up to in the future.