Whether it is Senator Obama's message of hope and change, or Senator McCain's message of straight talk, or Senator Clinton's message of experience that matters, every major Presidential contender has a very clear message. Each of the contenders has taken a roller coaster ride through this entire process - and every contender has entered a down cycle when he or she came off message, or tried to change message mid-stride.
Why does a CIO need a message? As CIO, you are the leader of your organization, which means every team member, whether 200 or 20,000, takes direction from you. If you do not have a clearly articulated message that can be effectively delivered and is easy to understand, you will run into trouble.
Every effective organization has a clearly defined message, and I would argue that every organization within an organization that is able to exhibit long-term success has a clear message. Without an effective message it is impossible for every member of your team to operate at peak efficiency and effectiveness.
Your message should be simple. Examples of where you might find your message: what your IT department stands for, what success looks like for you, and what direction you want every member of your team to be swimming. This may seem like common sense, but the vast majority of CIOs do not have a message, and it is always to their detriment. If you do not develop your own message, someone else will do it for you.