- Tactic No. 1 -- Presumption of approval:Any time you are concerned that some action you take might exceed your authority, send the CIO an e-mail that begins, "Unless I hear otherwise from you by [DATE], I plan to [ACTION]." Make sure you keep copies of these in a separate folder. If you're paranoid, keep printed copies as well, just in case. These are pretty much bulletproof evidence that you did everything you could to strike the right balance between taking initiative and acting without authority.
- Tactic No. 2 -- Theoretical communication: Every Friday, before you leave the office, e-mail a status update to the CIO. It doesn't have to be lengthy -- just a list of decisions made and actions taken along with your rationale and who else you worked with.
Now, about your ability to influence and persuade -- this really isn't a problem you have. Cliched as it is, this is a terrific opportunity to develop the most important skill any leader can have: the ability to lead without exercising authority.
And since enterprise architecture never succeeds through the exercise of authority anyway (when you try, you're called the "standards police" and create resentment rather than good architecture), all this situation does is enforce what you'd have had to do anyway.
So develop your internal network, both inside and outside IT. Figure out who the players are and what they care about, both among your peers inside IT and among the company's executive management outside. Find out what they care about and what their pain points are. Learn everything you can about the current architecture and connect what you learn to the pain points. Find ways to solve internal IT problems through better architecture in a manner that also addresses pressing business issues.
And make sure you find ways to do all of this that are consistent with the recommendations of the consulting study. That gives you organizational cover with the CIO's boss should the CIO decide he doesn't like what you're trying to do.
When the time comes to act, funnel your decisions through your network of allies and the consensus you've built among them.
There is one possible outcome that will annoy you if it happens, and that's the CIO figuring out what's going on and deciding to put a stop to it. If he does and it's early in the game, he'll have to let you know what he'd prefer instead. That's OK -- go with it, unless it's foolish. If it is, do your best to convince him, but don't be insubordinate. Document his instructions and follow them, and if anyone questions your change in direction let them know you're acting under the CIO's guidance.