Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Five Change Insight

The speed of business change is accelerating, but more than two-thirds of change management effort fail to achieve the expected result, To keep up with today's change and market disruption requires agility, speed, and resourcefulness. That requires the right people: the change champions, the effective process, and productive tools well tuned to make it happen. Here are five change insight.

Change is simply a shift of the “Old Way - Chaos - New Way” to do things. Change is tough, there are full of pitfalls on the way, such as change fatigue, change inertia, change resistance, it is simply so hard to get out of the comfort zone., etc. Hence, it’s important to follow the scenario with logic steps to manage changes. Creating desire for change (usually through WIIFM - What's In It For Me) is part of change management. During the whole process, make sure that all staff is aware of the plan/process, timely updated, and responsible for something. Break down the change process into phases and communicate each phase to employees on time. Make each individual feel responsible for the success of the plan, engage them actively and make sure that your new proposal solves their current problems, and provide the better working environment. Change can not be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization. Make your plan flexible and implement changes based on staff feedback. Making changes should be a fun and innovative journey, not just a stressful one-time project. Most of the organizations would like to change their business processes, as long as individuals know how they will benefit personally from the change in the process. This is particularly important in those creative industries or organizations that have extensive innovative product development regimes. It would follow that developing creativity and building changeability would be more welcome in these areas.

To make change sustain, the important thing is “end-to-end” performance: In today's work environment, change indeed is difficult to measure unless all parties involved in the change take ownership of the change and see why and what the change is about. Change impact analysis and business readiness are two key processes that need to conduct to give a person a glimpse of what to measure. Measuring change involves first accurately identifying where you are now. Then, clearly identifying where you want to be once the change is complete. Both require the necessity to be brutally honest and to establish clear, understandable, and easily calculable metrics. Too often transformational change is acted on the basis of improving one part of an organization at the expense of other parts of the organization, the main reason is that up to this point in time, most leaders have been silo managers and don't really have the business skills or personality traits to lead transformation and change. The metrics need to be SMART, so people can see what the outcome will look like throughout their transition. Second, there should be a consideration for a balanced scorecard that measures the progress you want to achieve during the change transition, this keeps people focused. To make change sustain, it is important to manage end-to-end performance, including both a series of in-process measures and a set of final, desired outcome, measures will be the appropriate ones.

Structure and behavior are two elements co-working in every organism in nature and in every system designed by human culture: Flatter structures will help speed up organizational response to changing markets. The goal for optimized organizational design is to get the mass collaboration, innovation through less hierarchy, cross-functional insight and adopt the robust processes designed for improving responsiveness and harnessing communication. So part of the digital journey is to prepare people for the new structures and to recognize increasing collective consciousness is a crucial step, in order to master the change and drive the seamless digital transformation. As organizational design researchers well put, the key diagnostics whether the organization design is fit or not can be summed up in two simple questions: “Are you big enough for your job?” and “Is your job big enough for you?” If the answer to both is “yes” throughout the organization, then the business is in the flow state.

Look at resistances to change as a source of energy and where there is energy there is still passion and potential: Some say, change is not a problem, the primary reason for change failure is resistance to change while the secondary reason is the inability of leaders to deal with resistance. Animate the transformation and manage transformation initiatives. Change is inevitable, and the only differences are the reasons and goals behind the change and its scope and depth/breadth (Why the change, what you need to accomplish, what does it consist of and what does it impact).  Two types of resistances are expected: Personal and Structural, and both need to be addressed effectively and efficiently. Build up a positive emotional environment, foster positive relationships, communicate relentlessly, cool down stressed people before they stress others, be there at the crossroad of the transformation to make sure information and interaction flow in every direction, build up trust by bonding people around clear and benevolent intentions.Overall, good anticipation in planning is key for a smoother execution, while regular updates and plan adjustments will enhance your chances of success. If someone is "resisting" change, what's that about? At a minimum, they need to be heard and understood - which removes some of the perceived resistance. The person labeled a resistor may even share the same purpose as the sponsors: It is wise to look for a "positive intent" behind a "resistor," Better yet, engage people in the design of change solutions so that issues can be surfaced and addressed early.  

One of the good reasons for change is to keep the organization fit, and a fitting business has better changeability and higher agility as well. “organizational fit means "incluversity." “Fit” doesn't mean that everyone needs to have the same thought process, the same personalities, the same preferences, or the same experiences.  Indeed, the best-fit mind means “think differently,” the best fit team has complementary skills and capabilities, and the best-fit organization has differentiated competency to achieve a high-performing result. Fitting” doesn’t take cookie cutting approach, The right fit people are the ones who possess the right mind with knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviours necessary to move your business in the direction it needs to go; to help realize the vision and values of the organization, they are fit for changes, and keep innovating and transforming the business for the long-term prosperity. People need to be developed and grown so the positive energy can flow and collective human capabilities can really be transformed. Where you want to look for 'fit' is in relation to the values you want to build or maintain within your team, and the kinds of behaviors that you would expect to see as a result of, or in alignment with, those values.

It is nevertheless true that the change itself has become unpredictable and evolutionary, as compared to treading through carefully laid down road-map. Change is the journey and ongoing capability to keep the business dynamic and organization reaching its maturity.

The Monthly “Thinkingaire” Book Tuning: Cultivating Thinking Habits May 2017

As humans, we can not Not think!

With the increasing speed of change in the hyperconnected digital ecosystem, some industrial mindsets with “status quo” types of thinking, authoritarian attitude, and bureaucratic decision-make, are outdated, turn to be a "dragger" of the business innovation and a laggard of the digital paradigm shift. More specifically, what are the perception gaps to become the very obstacles for digital transformation and how to close them to embrace digital thinking styles?

Cultivating Thinking Habits

“Thinking Habit”: Do you Have One? As humans, we can not Not think! Our mind is always operating either in the foreground, or the background, at conscious, subconscious or superconscious mode. Since we don't always "feel pain," then thinking, in general, is not necessarily painful. However, we need to distinguish amongst the different types of thinking in order to evaluate the thought processes, also improve thinking qualities such as criticality, profundity, creativity, intelligence, etc. So how do you ingrain the thinking habits?

Creative Thinking Habit: Are we Capable of being Creative in an Auto Mode? The human progress is all based on our thinking, learning and changing capabilities. We tend to learn things in a series of small steps. Each step is quite simple and the link between steps is not a smooth one. Gradually this evens itself out as we learn whatever it is we are learning. Those initial steps were as they were because we use conscious thinking. When a human interactive task becomes automated, the crux of using our subconscious mind is to appreciate how different it is from our conscious mind. Even though the conscious mind (deliberate thoughts) and subconscious mind (auto mode) exist in the same body, they have vastly different characteristics. One of the interesting debates would be: Are we capable of being creative in an auto mode??  

Whole Brain Thinking? According to the theory of left-brain or right-brain dominance, each side of the brain controls different types of thinking. Additionally, people are said to prefer one type of thinking over the other. It has been shown that in many ways the two parts of the brain work separately yet without apparent conflict. Do they process information differently? Are you left-brainer or right-brainer? Shall we encourage whole brain thinking

Critical Thinking & Critical Thinker Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.

Can you Thinking Positively -How to Handle Negative Emotions Human is not perfect, there’s positive emotions and negative emotions; such as joy, anger, grief, worry, fear, sentiments, affection, and the 8th one: envy; the negative emotions such as the malicious envy may evoke the unprofessional or even destructive behaviors to build the walls in people’ hearts and cause the toxic culture in the work, business, and society. So how to handle your emotions and raise your EQ effectively.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.8 million page views with about 3800+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify your voice, deepen your digital footprints, and match your way for human progression.

Is Digital CIO a Specialist or a Generalist

Contemporary CIOs are top leadership roles, leadership is about future and changes. Modern CIOs have many personas and face numerous challenges. It is not sufficient to only keep the light on. The CIO leadership maturity is based on the art of persuasion and the science of disciplines, the power of knowledge and the profundity of understanding. So, should digital CIOs be the technology specialist or the business generalist in order to lead effectively and innovatively?

A digital CIO = specialized generalist with hybrid talent: Many traditional CIOs were promoted under the IT rank as the technology specialist, often being perceived as IT geeks or technology managers who keep IT spinning to support the business only. Nowadays, many forward-thinking organizations are empowering their CIOs to lead IT as the change organization and most of the organizations today are looking for strategic or transformational CIOs in leading their digital transformation journey. Hence, digital CIOs today should be business generalists with T-shape IT knowledge, speak both 'business' and 'technology' dialects fluently, translate from one to the other seamlessly without “lost in translation.” As senior business executives, CIOs need to develop a broad skill set beyond technology - the business acumen to develop strategy and do in-depth analysis, the business architecture grounding, a solid understanding of the application of technology in general, the management ability to centralize IT resources and applications and coordinate business-unit resources and initiatives; the interdisciplinary practices of innovation/change/talent management, etc. Being transformational or being strategic goes beyond skills only. It's about the well-mixed vision, leadership substance, empathic communication and continuous improvement. Regardless of background, a great CIO is a specialized generalist with hybrid talent, technological visionary and a business strategist, understand both sides of business and bridge the gaps effectively.

A digital CIO = Catalyst in business transformation: Digital means fast growing information and increasing speed of changes. It is not sufficient for CIOs to only keep the lights on, they have to ride above the learning curve faster than the rest of the organization. They have to proactively lead change and catalyze digital transformation. When you are looking at creating digital options, about giving the organization the ability to explore new business models, then it is not just the value of the investment which matters, rather it is the breadth of vision and the depth of business understanding. They have to strike the right balance of both gaining the long-term perspective and achieving the short-term quick win. They need to measure IT performance effectively to bring qualitative and quantitative business results, not just IT results. Sometimes, there are conflicting KPIs between CxOs, that being an obstacle to achieving the corporate KPIs. For example, where IT shows all lights as green and yet the business is stalled or innovation has slowed or product costs are too high. CIOs as the senior executive of the company need to make leadership influence at the scope of the entire company or even the digital ecosystem, to ensure the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces.

A digital CIO = Continuous life learner: Leadership skills and capabilities are both nature and nurtured. By connecting with your true strengths and leveraging who you really are, and then, of course, doing the hard work that is required to build more strength you can create success. CIOs as senior executive roles should continue to sharpen leadership/ management skills, though some of the traits needed cannot be learned in a training course, they have to be developed via introspection, practicing and experimenting, such as entrepreneurial spirit, strong work ethic, leading by example, etc. CIOs have to be the creative business leader and forward thinker first! innovation, dealing with situations that you have not dealt with before, possessing the confidence and the experience to be entrepreneurial. CIOs have to become a continuous learner and new knowledge creator due to the shortened knowledge life cycle, this is particularly true in IT, and they have to set the example for creating the culture of learning. If CIOs similarly encourage those they guide to also seek ongoing experience and knowledge, then you will certainly grow a team that can drive your organization to the great height.

Modern CIOs are the sophisticated role. No one comes to a senior management role fully prepared for that role. Everyone needs to have some skills strengthened and some added. However, each of these types needs various types and degrees of knowledge, training, coaching, and continuous improvement. As their businesses change shape, size, expansion, and transformations, they too need conditioning and improvement. It's no wonder that truly successful CIOs are a rare breed regardless where they come from! It doesn’t so matter where the CIO comes from as long as he or she understands the vision, to drive the business growth and improve IT maturity. The path to mastery is something that unfolds day by day, it takes mental tenacity, innate leadership strength, in-depth business understanding, and solid skills to lead confidently and effectively.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Digging into Three "P"s in Running Digital Organizations

Assessing organizational personality, managing company performance and maximizing business potential are important digital management scenarios to catalyze digital transformation.

Digital transformation represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem, with the customer at the center of its focus, information as the life blood, and innovation as the new muscles. Due to the “VUCA” nature of digitalization, the business complexity is unavoidable, companies that are skilled at running a high-effective digital organization can gain advantages by pushing the boundaries of a more complicated business mix, building coherent organizational capabilities, and digging into three “P”s, for running high-mature digital organizations.

Personality: Organizations have personalities in the same way that an individual does. In many ways, the organization is a reflection of the personality of its leaders or managers. Because organizations look to and talk about and mimic their organizational managers and leaders. The spirit of the organization comes from the top, but the first line / middle-level managers also have a lot of power to influence the environment quickly and substantially. Each organizational personality type has its own pros and cons. An “introvert” organization is perhaps information-driven, able to “think” more, and respond to its environment intelligently. An “extrovert” organization is more action oriented based on the leaders’ "Go do it" style. Every organization has a story: A set of beliefs, values, myths, history and judgments about the inner world of work, and the external environment around them. Whether at an individual or collective organizational level, what the personality assessment measures are the underlying motivational drivers that drives work focus, decision-making style, relationship to norms, time and change, etc. Together these patterns ultimately drive behavior, actions and performance.

Performance: Performance is a result of how well the organization achieve its business goals, or how well a manager engages in developing an employee to make a certain accomplishment. A robust performance management system needs to be designed with end users in mind, more output driven, not process-driven; create synergy and optimize overall organizational maturity. Performance management is not just about winning, but in pursuit of excellence. It is important to streamline performance management scenario by simplifying systems, processes, objectives and share ownership, and follow with amplified group and organization’s achievements that each one of them cannot achieve on their own. Winning and excellence are superb words for people who work very hard to achieve their goals and be competitive, and in the scope of organization, the fundamental business goal is to pursue operational excellence and achieve high performance business result.

Potential: Performance keeps the lights on, and potential leap the individual or the organization to the next level of growth cycle. All ambitious businesses strive to unlock their business creativity and unleash their full digital potential. It includes establishing a business climate that encourages creativity, and it also means investing the time and resources to develop domain skills in people and effective collaboration in groups. Helping people recognize when they are being creative shows them what you're expecting from them when you ask them to be "creative." Also create an interactive environment with customers. Business Creativity" must be something to do with the customers , create an interactive environment with customers, so that you can reverse engineer from customer to a creative product. Without innovative leadership, creativity is sporadic rather than integrated into the thinking and activities of the organization.  it needs to be truly spread throughout organizations to maximize the collective business potential.

Assessing organizational personality, managing company performance and maximizing business potential are important digital management scenarios to build up a positive business working environment, foster trustful relationship, enforce relentless communication, seamless collaboration, encourage creativity, pursue excellence, to improve digital business maturity.

IT is the Business inside the Business

The payoff of IT digital transformation is not just for the quick win, but to build the long-term business competency.

At traditional organization setting, IT was perceived as a support function only to keep the lights on. Nowadays, information is permeating into every corner of the business and digital technologies are the driving force behind business disruptions. The exponential growth of information and the tide of “digital transformation” is creating new innovation opportunities for the business. The business must begin to see IT as an integral part of the business and not just as an enabler. In fact, IT is the business inside the business and the digital engine of the entire organization. The role of the CIO continues to evolve rapidly in the midst of the information in digital transformation and accelerating changes in technology.

The digital revolution means that channels to customers, running IT as a customer-centric business: IT has both internal and external customers, IT doesn’t exist to take the order from internal customers only.  IT doesn't exist to do everything it is asked. Nor does it exist to implement without business justification. It is there to manage a scarce and expensive resource for the business, to improve both top-line business growth and bottom line efficiency. IT is the plumber to keep information flow, IT is also a conductor to play its own music sheet and orchestrate digital symphony. When IT leaders complained that they are not invited to the big table for participating strategy making and oversight, and when business departments complain that the IT department doesn’t understand business, you know, the gaps between business and IT are enlarged. From talent management perspective, often correctly skill roles are missing from an integral digital organization; what is needed are lots more impartial and independent hybrid talents (either specialized generalists or generalized specialists) who can help businesses define a robust and rigorous set of needs, work with technologists to deliver the solution and with both parties to ensure the desired outcome happens. The reality is that business leaders need digital acumen as much as financial acumen, psychological knowledge as well as business/technology knowledge, doing its best to see that the application of IT brings the best business results. IT is the business inside the business.

IT and the business need to develop a true equal partnership and work to pursue the desired outcomes: IT shouldn’t react just as a support function to keep the lights on. As nowadays, businesses count on IT to process data, refine information and capture insight, to grasp the emergent business opportunities or prevent the potential risks. “First seeking to understand then be understood.” IT is no longer that island, or corner and those who still want to stick in that corner or periphery are living in a fool's paradise! IT is integral to the business. It cannot deign to step off the line and work autonomously. Today’s IT professionals understand there are only business initiatives, keep the end in mind to either achieve business value or improve customer satisfaction. IT can't behave in a vacuum or at arm’s length; IT acts as a change agent for different functions and countless other crucial business processes that affect most of an enterprise. Repeatable success comes when IT and business act from 'IT vs. business' to a true partnership.  It is the time for business and IT to take each other more seriously, and ideally, integrate as a whole.

IT strives to be a revenue contributor to the business: IT needs to spend more resources on spotting business growth opportunities, looking for solutions which will directly benefit the external end customers will improve the competitive advantage and in-turn bring in increased revenue. Businesses need people who are passionate about exploiting information enabled by information technology to work at the heart of the enterprise. With emerging digital opportunities and risks, business leaders (including IT leaders) are once again seeing the benefit of the IT strategy being fully part of the enterprise strategy. IT is the business inside the business. That is the way to go. Alway take the customer views as the basis of either strategy management or performance/measurement, reduce the delivery cycle time to customers. Running IT as the software startup mentality helps to energize the organization to do more with innovation, speed up, reduces the cost of doing business, increases the margin, and even helps to bring the new revenues stream. The companies that are working to bridge IT-business gap will be the most successful business going forward. They see that technology is driving their business regardless of the industry segment they play in, and information is the gold mine all forward-looking businesses are digging in to explore the art of possible.

To run IT as the business, IT leaders and professionals have to practice strategic thinking, creative thinking and systems thinking to laser focus on customers, and keep the business end in mind, to always think the better way to do things and achieve high-performance business result. The payoff of IT digital transformation is not just for the quick win, but to build the long-term business competency.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 5/25/ 2017

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating and sharing.
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.8 million page views with 3700+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight about digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.

  The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 5/25/2017
  • CIOs as Linchpin to Strengthen Digital Transformation: At the industrial age, IT is often one of the weakest links in the companies, running in a controller’s mode, slow to change. At the dawn of the digital era, leading businesses across industrial sectors claim they are in the information management business. The highly effective corporations need to embed the power of information in its fiber to weave agility and other business competencies, to ensure it is part of its mechanism and process to improve business responsiveness and decision effectiveness. They also have to leverage the power of the latest digital technologies to improve productivity and efficiency. Hence, CIOs as IT leaders should reinvent IT to strengthen the weakest links and catalyze digital transformation.

  • The Digital Board’s IT Inquiries: As technologies permeate into every corner of the organization and information provides invaluable foresight to enable business growth, IT is no longer just as an isolated function or back office utility only. Nowadays, IT has to add more business value and delight both internal and end customers and improve both the top line business growth and bottom line efficiency. Here are a set of digital board's IT inquiries.

  • Setting Principles for Managing Digital Innovation  The blurring border of the digital organization and its business ecosystem make the world hyper-connected, but also over-complex. Organizations today can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation, or still think innovation as a serendipity. Digital is the age of innovation, and innovation is what leads to differentiation. There are many ways to differentiate and, therefore, there are many ways to pursue innovation. But it’s also important to set principles and manage innovation in a structured way across the organizational scope and digital ecosystem.

  • Three Open Questions to Catalyze IT Innovation? In the considerably static industrial environment, many IT organizations only focus on the commodity level of services to “keep the lights on.” However, with rapidly changes, fast-growing information, and continuous digital disruptions, “Doing more with innovation” is the mantra to run a high-performance digital IT organization. Here are three open questions CIOs should keep asking themselves, their teams, their business partners, to brainstorm better ways to do things, catalyze IT innovation and drive digital transformation proactively.

  • The Structural Elegance of Digital Organization  Digital makes a profound impact from the specific function to the business as a whole and the entire digital ecosystem. Digital transformation is the scalable expansion toward multiple directions. Digital transformation is to optimize the whole, not the separate silos. Digital is the gigantic puzzle with many misplaced pieces, you have to put them all in the right places to discover the true meaning and unleash its full potential. The structural elegance of digital organization can further enforce its strategic responsiveness, operational excellence, and organizational maturity.

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Digital Board’s IT Inquiries

The board’s oversight of information management agenda helps to highlight the strategic perspective of IT and improve its differentiated value.

The digital world is so information-intensive and technology driven. Organizations rely more and more on information & technology. IT becomes so critical to the success of the organization nowadays. Many times, it is a determining success factor for your business strategy to achieve fast growth and long-term sustainability. Further, IT is not a function that can be handled only inside the IT department or by IT managers only, it takes brainstorming and empwerment from the boardroom to collective effort and collaboration cross-functionally to run a high effective and high-performance digital IT and improve overall IT manageability and maturity. Here is a set of IT inquiries in the boardroom.

How tech-savvy are corporate boards these days? Information is growing exponentially and technology needs will only expand. IT investment of the organization can either lift or break a business easily nowadays. IT strategy is an integral component of the business strategy, IT becomes a decisive factor for the business’s long-term prosperity. Hence, the board today needs to become more IT-friendly and technology savvy. In many traditional organizations, while directors bring enriched experiences and many competencies to the table, most do not have access to information about innovation and its potential related to the businesses they oversee. That could cause fatal blind spots to cloud strategy execution. Companies should establish on-going avenues to information which will regularly feed BoDs understanding about trends and potential innovation for their businesses. The board should also frequently brainstorm IT impact on the business, and leverage technological vision to the business’s strategic planning. A tech-savvy board will have the advantage of pulling enough resources and pushing the business model of technology, trustworthiness, prepare, and launch change, innovation, and ensure what happens next. IT friendly boards are more innovative because innovation is increasingly technology dependent, technology is evaluated in concert with customers, channels, products, and markets, serving as a catalyst to drive strategic innovation. So the board oversight of information-driven innovation agenda will directly impact business growth and organizational competency for the long run. How tech-savvy the board is will also decide how the business perceive IT, as an equal business partner or just a support function. When IT leaders are invited to the big table, and information agenda has been review thoroughly, organizations take a big leap at the journey of digital transformation.

How best to evaluate the Board's performance in utilizing IT to achieve the business purpose?
The modern boards play a critical role in overseeing the business strategy in which IT is a crucial component. So it is important to have both board and the top executive team understands that technology is not a separate entity which exists just to keep the lights on, and it’s linchpin to build the digital competency. From IT investment perspective, there are three choices organizations make: Ignore new technology, jump on the bandwagon even if you don't know what you are doing, and embrace the new technology finding ways to create strategic value. It is no-brainer to select the third option as the right choice, but only IT savvy boards can truly figure out the link of the company growth in relationship to their technology investments. How deep they can dig and which questions shall they ask will directly impact on the success rate of IT investment and the boardroom governance effectiveness. That is not the act of rubber stamping!  In the end, it’s not about how much IT costs, it’s about how much IT is contributing to both bottom line efficiency or top line business growth either by increased sales or increased agility in adapting the changing business processes. Digital BoDs are the directorial role, it’s crucial to appreciate the value of alternative perspectives and insights which say nothing of not trusting - simply looking from a different stance, and asking the different question, and improve the boardroom effectiveness.

How Important an Information System can be in the digital business success? Though the importance of information and technology is well known as all forward-looking organizations across the vertical sectors claim they are in the information management businesses. However, considering many businesses spend money on sophisticated technology tools that are greatly wasted because the appropriate processes to leverage those tools are not well designed, implemented, or adopted, therefore, the board’s IT investment review and strategy oversight helps to fill the blind spots and bring the new perspective on improving information system effectiveness and efficiency. Generally speaking, information management is all about collecting, processing, refining information, and capturing insight to ensure the right people getting the right information to make the right business decisions timely. Information brings about business ideas; business ideas generate lots of information. Information Systems are the backbone and provide valuable information for key decision making. The board’s oversight helps to build an information-based decision-making culture, and ensure the value of IT is qualitative, measurable and defined uniquely by an organization and become its core competency. The information-based business foresight and customer insight can bring emergent business growth opportunity, prevent risks, lead innovative solutions that meet customers’ needs while reducing the cost to market and achieve unique value for the business’s long-term success.

Digital is the age of information abundance and innovation bloosom. The IT management effectiveness needs to be driven like seamless collaboration, collective advantage, amplified influence, and multi-layer ROIs. And surely the board’s oversight of information management agenda helps to highlight the strategic perspective of IT and improve its differentiated value. The wheel of IT in the dynamic digital business environment should keep spinning to enable high-than-expected business achievement and accelerate digital transformation.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Monthly “Dot Connections Connect the Dots to Build Creative Workplace & Workforce May 2017

Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, and creativity is all about connecting the dots.

The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, creativity is the most wanted trait for digital leaders and professionals today, and innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Creativity is all about connecting the dots. Which dots shall you connect to improve digital professional quality and accelerate digital transformation?
 Connect the Dots to Build Creative Workplace & Workforce
Confidence vs. Arrogance Confidence is one of the most important leadership qualities to overcome challenges and deal with criticisms. Confidence is about having the right dose of ego to show self-respect, self-worth, self-esteem, self-awareness or self-actualization; but not about the overdose of ego showing arrogance or egotism. The management guru Peter Drucker has pointed out the greatest impedance to organizational success is too much ego or arrogance. This can be seen to encompass hubris. So, from the leadership perspective: What are the difference between confidence and arrogance? And how to become confident, not arrogant though??
Likability vs. Respect vs. Trust? Respect is based on being trustworthy and authentic. Likeability is subjective, people often like people who are similar to themselves, or have a certain charisma. Being likable or popular does not always earn you the respect. Trust starts with respecting. There are differences between likeability vs. respect. vs. trust?
High-Performance vs. High-Potential vs. Mediocrity ? Modern talent management is both art and science. However, most of the HR organizations still use static mechanisms to measure talent performance, mainly based on quantitative delivery, with ignorance of qualitative perspective, talent potential assessment, intangible culture effect, and lack of tailored solutions to reach the next level of talent management maturity. For example, as a talent manager, how do you differentiate High-Performance vs. High-Potential vs. Mediocrity, and how shall you treat them same by treating them differently?
Persuasion vs. Manipulation? As Drucker well pointed out: “You can only manage what you're measured.” Benchmarking and measuring are both science and art. There are many practical metrics and KPIs, but not every metric is created equal. The concept of leading and lagging indicators, as applied to the Balanced Scorecard, relies on an understanding of the cause-effect relationships between KPIs in the different perspectives. But what’re the differences between leading indicators vs. lagging indicators?
Complimentary Team vs. Competitive Team - How to Build a High-Performing Team? Digital businesses are hyper-connected and interdependent; the nature of team is also shifting from homogeneous setting into heterogeneous characteristic; the further debate is: Complimentary team or competitive team, which can build more trust and achieve the high-performing result? What's the strategy and tactics to shape a high mature digital master?
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.8 million page views with about #3600th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.