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.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Gaps” Book Tuning: Minding Critical Thinking Gaps Feb. 2018


"Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business
” is a guidebook to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with the multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still., bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge, it is important to bridge communication, knowledge and insight gaps and take a stepwise approach to make a leap of digital transformation.


Critical Thinking Gaps? Critical Thinking is the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. There are very few real critical thinkers because it is a complex type of thinking with the multitude of thought process, at the deeper level, critical thinking has creativity embedded in it. The critical Thinking technique can be taught, but Critical Thinking skills can only be developed via practicing independent thinking, insightful observation, and conscious and even superconscious reasoning. There are critical thinking gaps existing which cause leadership blind spots and poor decision making, how to identify and fill them to improve the leadership maturity and digital professionalism

The Cognitive Gap Cause and Effect?
Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thought, experience, and senses. The "mind" represents our consciousness and awareness. It is the software that promotes and regulates each function and each action of our body, from the reproduction and reconstruction of our cells to the food process and distribution, to our voluntary and involuntary movements, and to all our behaviors, etc. However, the brain activities function for survival instincts are still primitive, what are the further aspect of human sophistication in regards to vision, communication, and innovation for problem-solving or overcoming challenges? And what are further problems caused by cognitive gaps and how to bridge them effectively?

The New Book “Digital Gaps” Chapter 1 Introduction: Cognitive Gaps?
Cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thoughts, experiences, and senses. It is a perception, sensation, and insight. People are different, not because we look different, but because we think differently. Cognitive gaps enlarge problem-solving gaps because it will cause the blind spots for either defining the real problem or solving it. Cognitive gaps cause innovation gaps which disconnect many things that are supposed to be interconnected, it becomes the barrier to connecting the dots to stimulate creativity. There is the multitude of perspectives on the cognitive gaps, as well as how to close them.

The Uncritical Thinking Patterns
Critical thinking means “making clear, reasoned judgments. While in the process of critical thinking, your thoughts should be reasoned and well thought out or judged.” (Wikipedia). So what’re the anti-critical or uncritical thinking patterns? And how to manipulate our thinking in a more constructively critical way?

Bridging Education Gaps
 Education is one of the best things and great privileges for modern global citizens because it provides significant opportunities for people to build disciplines, learn some fundamental knowledge and train certain skills. In the static industrial age with information scarcity, education does help to train certain professionals for gaining some linear skills to do the job well. However, at today's fast-changing digital era with "VUCA" normality, formal education alone is not sufficient to build professional capabilities such as thinking, creativity or problem-solving. Therefore, it creates the INSIGHT and INNOVATION gap when we are moving to the deep digital reality with abundant information (but still with the scarce of insight). How can you capture the real signals from so much background noises? How can you keep updating knowledge to ensure both educators and receivers capturing the real insight and true wisdom with increasing speed of changes and shortened knowledge cycle? How can you not just absorb the existing knowledge, but co-create new knowledge for accelerating innovation and societal advancement? Or to put simply, how can you bridge education gaps for making the leap of digital transformation?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with about #4300th 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.










The CIO’s “Underdog Leadership” Practices at the Dawn of Digital and the “Year of Dog”

There is no doubt that IT plays a more significant role in running the modern business today. Information brings about business ideas; business ideas generate lots of information. Information Systems are the backbone and provide valuable information for key decision making. However, in many organizations, CIOs still don’t get the seat at the big table, they are perceived as tactical managers and second class executives. Therefore, to improve collaboration, gain respect, enforce transparency and amplify their leadership voice, IT leaders should ask themselves: Why is IT still perceived as a cost center? Why is IT not getting enough respect despite all good work and dedicate effort were undertaken? Why is IT always overloaded and understaffed? Why doesn’t the business invite IT leaders to engage in strategic conversations? It is the Year of Dog, should CIOs practice “underdog leadership” at the dawn of the Digital Era as well?

To build effective underdog leadership, CIOs must learn to speak the language of the business:
A CIO needs to be a business leader first, technology leader second. The connection between IT and Business lies in using the common language to help business cross that bridge to IT. The business executives including CIOs should understand that IT as a function is the business in the business and revenue generating. The faster the business management understands that IT is not just technical, but rather Business Technology, and then we will see that many companies start to have better conversations with each other and what’s more, a better understanding of how it all makes sense. A good place to start is by trying to get all parts of the business in the same process for proposing, justifying and prioritizing. A CIO first needs to be a business leader in strategy deployment to engage the IT role and facilitate in the technologist role. Then in the technology role. Digital CIO is the person who is and has enough experience, adequate communication, and leadership skills, willingness to learn and explore the new business opportunities. IT needs to be understood and harnessed by all stakeholders to fulfill its potential and strategic importance as a differentiator of companies.

The underdog IT leaders need to practice when to say “yes,” and when to say “no,” as well as “HOW”
: IT seems to be always overloaded and understaffed. IT leaders seem to be always at the hot seat when things get wrong. IT becomes an easy excuse for being too late and above budget. Too often IT is involved too late in the decision-making process. This results in a dynamic where the business develops enthusiastically nice and shiny plans and goals and IT then has to explain why this cannot be developed and fit into the existing architecture at a reasonable investment. Often, IT leaders say 'Yes' to everything not through the heart to heart agreement, but due to the fears of uncertainties or hierarchical pressure. Though IT should become customer-centric, IT staff should be able to say “NO” with good reasons. And provide alternative solutions to meet users’ need and create the win-win situation. A high-mature digital IT needs to understand stakeholders’ expectations and propose a service/solution portfolio that corresponds to both demand and cost drivers with a focus on business priority and building unique business competency.

The underdog IT leaders must know how to promote their organization by "selling the right things right”:
To reinvent IT reputation as the business partner, IT leaders should change their image from the tech geek to a business leader with intellectual voice and a great sales person who can advocate IT and promote their organization as the change agent. Because CIOs are in unique position to oversee business processes and key capabilities, they should play the role as “change agent,” via orchestrating people, process, and technology seamlessly. IT leaders also should know when to lead at the front, and when to follow, to play underdog leadership accordingly. IT does not always run the show and should not hold up the business and business does not own the goals and own the solution. The company, every department needs to work together to be successful. Leadership that understands both business and IT and focuses on a shared responsibility for effective delivery of IT solutions is usually in the right position to run a highly effective digital organization.

The digital world is so information-intensive, technology needs will only expand, and most likely expand. The growth mind, underdog leadership practices, and egoless adaptation are all important for improving contemporary CIO leadership maturity.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” Feb., 2/16/2018

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating, and sharing.
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with 4300+ 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.

Three Overarching Management Approaches to Shape a High-Mature Digital Organization? The journey of improving business maturity is more evolutionary than revolutionary. It is not just about one-dimensional technology adoption, but a multi-dimensional digital expansion. It is certainly critical to put the stronger emphasis on empowering people, leveraging the source of knowledge, harnessing adaptation, fostering innovations, and taking an overarching management approach to shaping a high-mature digital organization.

Three “Views” to Advance Digital Boardroom The BoD role sets the top leadership’s tone for progression and affects most through cohesive communication, congruent behavior, and continuous endorsement of the change to keep the momentum. Digital boards are the guiding roles, like the steering wheel of their company, leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories for reaching the ultimate digital destination. Which views can help the board clear their vision and enable them to stay focus and advance their leadership to get digital ready?

The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Book Introduction The purpose of “Problem-Solving Master - Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problems Creatively“ is to throw some light on how to understand, frame, and solve today’s multilayer, interdependent, and over-complex business problems effortlessly. Digital leaders and professionals should self-aware of their role in problems, show professional maturity, and develop a good reputation as the problem-solver.

The Monthly “Unpuzzling Innovation” Book Tuning: Digital Innovation Principles & Practices Feb. 2018 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. Talking about innovation is not new nowadays, everybody, every organization now is talking about innovation. It's been at or near the top of the business or economics agenda for a long time. However, there are a lot of confusions about innovation and there is no magic sauce to guarantee its success. Back to basic, what is innovation, the more you look into this topic, the more difficult to give a definition of innovation, as it is such a broad topic? One of the good definitions of innovation is: "to transform the novel ideas into commercial success.” In essence, innovation is, "intentional novelty bringing sustainable benefit."

The Intellectual "VOICE" of Digital CIOs The digital organization is a living business in the relationship with its environments, customers, suppliers, and above all enhances and supports the creative human spirit via connecting, discovery, and experimentation. IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. Thus, digital CIOs must raise the intellectual VOICE, not via speaking louder, but via thinking profoundly, communicating insightfully, and leading innovatively.

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 Underdog Leadership Quotes to Celebrate the “Year of Dog” 2018

“Maturity refers to having a sound understanding of basics and making a fair judgment.”

"Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (22+books) is to perceive the multifaceted impact digital is making to the business and our society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the digital journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” Here is the set of popular quotes about thinking, innovation, and underdog leadership to celebrate the ‘Year of Dog.”


“The defining qualities that will distinguish great leaders from the rest are stemmed from the mindset level.”
Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity


“It seems to be most leaders have more conventional wisdom, but creative leaders have better common sense.”

Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity


“Digital fit” should be first defined as “mind fit,” and then following with attitude fit and behavior fit.”

Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity


“The function of the bridge is to mind the gap; the wonder of the bridge is to create a scene.”

Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age


“The art of questioning is to ignite innovative thinking.”

Pearl Zhu, 100 Creativity Ingredients: Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity


“Maturity refers to having a sound understanding of basics and making a fair judgment.”

Pearl Zhu, 100 Creativity Ingredients: Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity

Digital Change Pendulum, How Fast can it Swing?

 Closer to reality is that 'change' is continuously happening in such a dynamic environment of a company. 

Digital means the increasing pace of changes. A changeable organization is to creating organizations where change is the norm and happens the whole time thereby delivering faster and increasing market share. There is the distinction between different types of organizational change - incremental or transformative; the scope, scale, and impact of the changes. In order to build a high-responsive and high-informative organization, digital leaders need to make an objective assessment via asking:  Digital change pendulum, how fast can it swing? And how to take a proactive approach to manage the journey of digitalization?

Transformative changes: Transformation is, "the company reinvented itself." It is a change to the fundamental business model itself, it is a radical change. The top of the pile is strategy-driven transformation. One reason that change initiatives fail so often is that companies attempt a level of change well beyond their predominant mindset and approach. Sometimes the transformation is necessary in order to cope with change. To manage a large scale transformative change, communication, exemplification, and amplification of best practices are all crucial steps in building a changing-enabling culture. Alignment with organizational design, business architecture, and performance management ultimately accelerates the change pendulum and leads to where you need to be for really making a difference. Make sure all of the management is on board and educated well on the objectives and how to carry them out effectively. Because the organizational change becomes the common practice within an organization, it needs to be treated as a strategic ongoing capability to reach its full advantage. A high-mature digital organization can be observed to have a predominant change culture that is inherent in their approaches, tools, and resourcing. Because the transformative change needs to deprogram old mindsets, let go of “the voices from the past,” reprogram people's minds with new thinking, norms, and attitudes; and establish a new blueprint for how you want to create the digital future collaboratively.

The problem-driven improvement: Running organization is fundamentally the problem-driven improvement and continuum. Change management is a gradual process to keep the change pendulum swinging at the steady speed. Some of the improvement initiatives can be tremendously complex but still have relatively fewer moving parts, compared to transformative change. To achieve desired changes, an organization must create an environment that encourages change attitude, enables effective collaborations, shares & promotes ideas, and makes the continuous goal-driven improvement. The goal of change and improvement should look beyond immediate problem resolution. The focus should include actions designed to sustain performance improvement and anchor change as a new opportunity and an ongoing capability. Overcoming change inertia is challenging, but change is happening at a more rapid pace, understand that proactive change must occur for a particular goal or objective to be achieved. If you make change part of your routine, and then change becomes easier to deal with, and turn to be an iterative business continuum.

Fixing things: Besides large transformation changes, there are many little “c” change, such as,  implementing a new software tool, or tuning an important business process etc. Little “c” change requires tools, training, and practice in order for the participants to feel comfortable that the service level they provide will continue or improve with the same or reduced effort. At the bottom of the change pyramid is simply fixing things. Many change laggards struggle with fixing things reactively or simply fix the symptom without digging into the root cause. The lack of recognition of change impacts individuals and businesses’ willingness to extend themselves again for the next change. For the organizations getting stuck at the lower level of change maturity, sometimes, change itself becomes the very goal as a Change Initiative is completed, often teams walk away without checking to see if it adds value or evaluating if additional work is required. In such cases, there is no surprise that change pendulum is simply slow down or get stuck somewhere, unfortunately.

Transformation is structural. Change is functional. Both are manageable. Closer to reality is that 'change' is continuously happening in such a dynamic environment of a company. The speed of change is increasing, and digital ecosystem has become more complex and compelling. To put simply, change itself changes. So, for a company to move from one level to another change maturity requires step-function changes in tools, culture, leadership, and process, and make the change as an ongoing digital capability.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Monthly “Dot Connections” Setting Positive Tones to Celebrate the Holiday Feb. 2018

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 via connecting wide dots and spreading the true knowledge.


 Setting Positive Tones for the Holiday


Positivity vs. Optimism:
Optimism comes from the Latin word Optimus, meaning "best," which describes how an optimistic person is always looking for the best in any situation and expecting good things to happen. Optimism is the tendency to believe, expect or hope that things will turn out well. A positive mental attitude is focused on strength, opportunities, and inspired actions. It is about being your best, not beating another in a negative way.

Optimistic vs. Pessimistic Mind An optimistic mind sees the sunny side of the things and the world; a pessimistic mind sees the dark side of the things and the world; there’s nothing absolutely right or wrong with both types of minds, but it is optimistic mind pushes the world moving forward and makes the life progressive? And how can you help to improve the harvest of the creative seed and accelerate the advancement of the society?

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.

Holiday Dots Connection: Sympathy vs. Empathy Once again, it is the holiday season and it’s almost the end of the year, it is not just the time to spoil your appetite, but also the moment to open your mind, and connect more dots to discover the new meaning of holidays - Are you sympathetic to give more to others, or are you empathetic to understand better of the world? Are you compassionate about many man-made disasters; or are you passionate to overcome the challenges facing human society? What’s the further dot-connection between sympathy and empathy?

Kindness vs. Toughness: The holiday season is the time to reflect and refresh, it is also the time to share and give. But doing a few good deeds is just the practice to be kind. The true kindness is the state of mind. As the digital leaders and professionals today, how can you connect the dots between kindness vs. toughness, and let kindness flow from the bottom of your heart and the top of your mind?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.3million page views with about #4300th 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.

The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Chapter 1 Introduction

One of the biggest challenges for modern management is how to put the right people with the right capability in the right position to solve the right problem at the right time.

Fundamentally, every job is to deal with problems big or small both from a long-term perspective and even on the daily basis. Sometimes, even you intend to solve problems but perhaps cause more serious problems later on. So, observe the problem-solving scenarios and ask yourself how you discover the part you played in the problem, and how to build a good reputation on problem-solving.

A mindful problem-solver: Problem-solving is one of the most significant activities in the human society. There is the multitude of thinking processes behind problem-solving. For example, it takes the big picture type of strategic thinking and scientific logic of Systems Thinking to dig through the root cause of problems. It is a sense of perspective, stepping back to see a bigger picture than others. It takes critical thinking to frame the right problem and empathetic thinking to address the correct need. Creative and methodical solvers are able to make unusual associations for solving problems recursively. Thus, problem-solving is a mindset with curiosity, self-inclusiveness, creativity, and progression.

A systematic problem-solving master: Systems Thinking is a mixed bag of holistic, balanced, and often abstract thinking to understand things profoundly and solve problems systematically. People are all a bundle of assumptions, a collection of cause-and-effect, and a limited ability to put all this together to create a sense of reality. Many of those assumptions may be false, and some of those cause-and-effects are probably wrong. Therefore, Systems Thinking emerges as a type of digital thinking to deal with complexity and overcome uncertainty. Systems Thinking is the ability to navigate levels of abstraction or logic as an essential thinking skill for Systems Thinkers that help them discover the interconnectivity and interdependence in problem-solving.

Mastering Complex problem-Solving: Today’s businesses become overcomplex, the comprehensive solutions to many complex problems requires both cross-domain knowledge and divergent thought processes, so it can wander and be influenced by disparate associations brought up during exploring problem-solving scenario. Often time, organizations spend too many resources and time to take care of immediate problems or make the quick fix with ignorance of digging into the root cause of real problems. The side effect is that, in many cases, the quick-fix solutions actually make the company backward. It takes commitment and discipline to stay focused on the real priorities of the business instead of being distracted by what seems to be more urgent on any given day.

No one person or entity is always the source of problems, likewise, no one person will be the panacea to all problems. Today’s digital leads and professionals should become problem-solving masters. A true problem-solver is mindful and enjoys understanding the complexity and guides people through it, finds common ground and initiates dialogues, turns around tough situations and enjoys challenges about complex problem-solving.

The “LOVE” Ingredients of IT Digitalization

The best IT leaders are great storytellers with the strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and how it could be better, to put emphasis on those “LOVE” theme.

With “VUCA” business new normal, the pervasive digitization brings both abundances of opportunities and unprecedented risks for the business’s surviving and thriving today. IT is in the unique position to oversee the business function, possess the broadest view of the organization, and take charge of the invaluable business asset - information. IT needs to be telling businesses about the varying opportunities and possibilities, as well as risks or perils. To add some holiday theme, CIOs should know how to articulate the “LOVE” ingredients of IT digitalization, for telling the full story with shapes and colors, not just part of the plot.

Logic: "Business logic" is a blanket term that covers several very different types of components such as algorithms, business rules, workflows, and integration logic. IT digitalization should follow the logical scenario to walk through different stages such as assessment, improvement, and measurement, etc. IT assessment (either via self-evaluation or the third party) is a great way to help identify what is right and wrong in your IT environment. Make a fair business assessment to help IT management get some objective perspectives on what you are trying to manage, develop and optimize the IT operational function within itself. Logically, the role of IT in the current business environment should be able to enable business outcomes or catalyze business growth. The seamless connectivity between IT and business lies in using the common business language to help businesses cross that bridge to IT. IT staffs need to understand the commercial end point of their work and being able to think IT from the outside-in business lens. IT digitalization improves the business performance and enforce business capabilities. The differentiation provided by digital IT - both innovative technologies and abundant information, allows companies to reach the "long-tail" customer that previously was impossible or uneconomic. The next logical step should be to work with stakeholders for developing the right set of measurement that shows how IT can achieve the strategic business goals on time, on budget and most importantly on-value.

Orchestrating: Digital IT is no longer just that support function which plays the background music only. Nowadays leading IT organizations are like the conductor to orchestrate digitalization of the entire company. The biggest IT challenge is the pace at which the IT executive's responsibility for business operations, efficiency, effectiveness, performance, and continuity is outpacing his or her authority to make those areas a success. Therefore, they should be able to both collaborate cross-functionally (not to manipulate), and coordinate with distant contributors to harmonize the digital symphony. The matter of fact is that they wouldn't be able to create a 'symphony' without the full participation of their team members. It is important for the CXOs to work with these roles in a business planning and support capacity to ensure that the information and IT services being delivered are what is needed for the business to play their music. IT is increasingly supportive of the competitive position and the business, IT can weave all important digital elements, optimize processes, time and risk whilst maximizing scalable solutions, to enable the business reaching the next level of digital management maturity.

Variety: Digital variety and workforce diversity are no long wallflowers for decoration, but a switch to turn on the digital way for harnessing innovation and accelerating performance. Focusing on digital variety will force you to confront new ideas, new materials and possibly embrace a new concept that you may have never imagined. Creative tension is important to switch on the “digital mode” of the business environment. Since innovation is fundamentally about breaking assumptions, having more assumptions uncovered will lead to greater innovation. the lack of variety of PoVs makes organizations non-optimal. Digital IT is dynamic, with a variety of teams to run the variety of IT portfolio. The variety of IT portfolio is to build a unique and varying set of business capabilities, to enforce change, harness innovation, and improve IT maturity. IT has to adapt to changes and drive digitalization via managing a healthy portfolio by continuous consolidation, simplification, integration, modernization, cloudification, innovation, and optimization.

Energizing: The traditional IT organization is often perceived as the controller and change laggard because it only responds to the business’s requests in a reactive way. But the digital era is all about changes, with increasing speed. Digital IT can energize the business via “doing more with innovation” and “making continuous deliveries.” IT leaders should create the condition that “making the continuous improvement” is the organizational culture -the collective mindset and attitude. Otherwise, complacency is maligned, people cannot get out of their comfort zone, and IT loses its steam and gets stuck at the lower level of maturity. With fierce competitions and digital convenience brought by technologies, IT leaders have to get really creative on how they architect and implement change, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. The energetic IT can also follow “Keep IT Simple” principle, provide intuitive products or services to delight customers and engage employees, and make a tough leap from functioning to firm to delight.

The best IT leaders are great storytellers with the strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and how it could be better, to put emphasis on those “LOVE” theme. Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. Transformation efforts need to be undertaken as the means of getting to a differentiated capability to accomplish a defined goal.


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Monthly Insight of “Digital Maturity”: The Practices and Perils for Reaching the High-Level Digital Maturity Feb. 2018

Digital is the new paradigm shift to deeply connect the business with the natural ecosystem.

Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business from people, process to technology, both horizontally and vertically. Digital becomes the very fabric of high performing business, being outside-in and customer-centric is the new mantra for forward-looking and high mature digital organizations today. At the heart of digital, it is people and how to build a customer-centric organization. More specifically, what are the characteristics of digital business maturity?

The Practices and Perils for Reaching the High-Level Digital Maturity
Three Overarching Management Approaches to Shape a High-Mature Digital Organization? The journey of improving business maturity is more evolutionary than revolutionary. It is not just about one-dimensional technology adoption, but a multi-dimensional digital expansion. It is certainly critical to put the stronger emphasis on empowering people, leveraging the source of knowledge, harnessing adaptation, fostering innovations, and taking an overarching management approach to shaping a high-mature digital organization.

Three Barriers To Innovation and Digital Maturity
Digital paradigm means holism, hyper-connectivity, integration, interdependence, and innovation. Digital transformation is the journey for solving problems caused by "Conflict," "Out of Balance," “Lack of Logic,” or “Too much complexity.” Therefore, it is critical to break through the industrial constraints and limitations, overcome roadblocks to change and digitalization, and improve the overall business responsiveness and maturity. \


Three “Elimination” Practices to Improve Digital Maturity Digital organizations today aim to move into a more advanced stage of digital deployment by tailoring their own unique strength and business maturity and develop their own set of practices for digitizing and innovating. The business practice is always a combination of people and how they are used to doing things based on the set of principles and standards for adapting to changes in the business or technology shift. Here are three “elimination” practices to improve the business responsiveness, effectiveness, efficiency, and overall digital maturity.

How to Reach Digital Maturity From Functioning to Firm to Delight The organization or company may be in business for many years but has not matured its management disciplines and structural flexibility. Companies need to embed digital into the very fabric of the business, explore digital management practices in a structural way in order to make a seamless shift from functioning to firm to delight, and reach the higher maturity of the business to get digital ready.

Five Stages of Digital evolutionary ecosystem
: Digital is the new paradigm shift to deeply connect the business with the natural ecosystem. The digital business ecosystem is dynamic, nonlinear, expansive, and complex. Digital makes the business flatter and the world smaller because of its very characteristics of hyper-connectivity and interdependence. Digital management also needs to shift from linear and reductionistic to nonlinear and interdisciplinary for dealing with the new “VUCA” digital reality. Therefore, digital leaders, today must frame the bigger thinking boxes and approach problems via the multidimensional lens, technically, scientifically, holistically, and culturally. They need to understand the five stages of the digital evolutional ecosystem in order to lead innovatively and progressively.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2+million page views with about #4300+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom, to inspire critical thinking and spur healthy debates. 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.

Three “Views” to Advance Digital Boardroom

The board of directors as top directorial roles need to be able to view things from different angles and become the mastermind behind the digital transformation.

The BoD role sets the top leadership’s tone for progression and affects most through cohesive communication, congruent behavior, and continuous endorsement of the change to keep the momentum. Digital boards are the guiding roles, like the steering wheel of their company, leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories for reaching the ultimate digital destination. Which views can help the board clear their vision and enable them to stay focus and advance their leadership to get digital ready?

Look beyond the horizon: The advanced board as the senior leadership team can look further, much further than the rest. Because those board directors have the breadth of knowledge and the deep understanding of the business ecosystem, including customers, employees, business partners, and all other stakeholders, the business's competitive landscape, industries, so they can sense that the digital paradigm shift is multifaceted, and they can predict the emergent trend of business, technology or industry, and zoom into the future as if it were closer and assertively monitor strategy management progress. Board directors have to think longer-term and clarify the vision to fuel the passion and guide the top executive teams in the right direction. Boards oversee strategy and monitor performance when they can look beyond the horizon, they won’t get overly distracted by quarterly results, and they can help the management team build the business capability and capacity to unleash the full potential of the business.

Observe out-of-the-box: Digital is the age of innovation, it is one of the requirements of the board members to be able to see out-of-the-box, participate both innovation management and management innovation, or even lead, in constantly proposing areas of innovation. Further-looking board directors are both creative and critical thinkers who live out of the box, ask open questions to collect relevant information, and think alternative solutions to tough problems. Because innovation is too important to leave solely in the hands of the management team without any oversight or guidance by boards. The advance board not only can think out of the small box but also shape the bigger box of thinking, set good policies to encourage creativity and improve innovation effectiveness. Every innovation pursuit has risks in it, and every risk has opportunities in it. Therefore, it is important to set guidelines for managing innovation risks in a structural way.


Notice underneath and around the corner
: Board directors as the top business advisor role need to build the solid thinking blocks; have sufficient knowledge and unique insight to observe deeper, see-through underneath and notice around the corner. Many say superficiality has gone global. The BoDs as the senior leadership role need to learn how to fill the blind spots, break down silo thinking, and improve leadership profundity. The insightful board directors have the ability to influence the leadership team as they undertake a broad range of crucial decisions involving the issues such as vision, strategy, branding, changes, culture, etc, an advanced mindset has influential intelligence if it can discover the patterns or inter-relationship among all those disciplines and contribute deeper insight into the nuances of why and how.

The board of directors as top directorial roles need to be able to view things from different angles and become the mastermind behind the digital transformation. They should be mindful, insightful, innovative, and decisive, to envision and lead the organization towards its future steadfastly.

What are salt and spices in your innovation management practices

Building a consistently innovative company requires both fine-tune the organizational structure and culture that nurture new ideas,  add salt and spices, and is able to profitably execute on those ideas. 

Digital is the era of innovation. Talking about innovation is not new nowadays, everybody, every organization now is talking about innovation. But building a truly innovative organization takes guts, strategy, and implementation. Innovation happens when you change the game; you bring a different twist to what is currently established and perceived. Digital innovation has a broader spectrum and hybrid nature, it is the incremental improvement-evolutionary innovation- breakthrough innovation continuum. Every forward-thinking organization is eager to build a creative workplace, but being innovative is the state of mind. So, what are important elements to catalyze creativity? And what are salt and spices in innovation management practices?

The salt and spices in your innovation management practices:
Every idea has a potential to be an innovation, but it is very far away from being an innovation. The purpose is the salt you put on groups for making them become creative teams for achieving the common goals. The purpose of Innovation Management is also very simple: If you work hard, have a good idea, and deliver premium value to your customers, you will be rewarded. It takes strategy, disciplines, and practices to be fluent in innovation. Without a profit motive and a well-defined business goal, it doesn't work. Other spices of innovation management are how to build an inclusive and creative team for doing interdependent jobs instead of independent work, enforcing individual and collective creativity, accountability, and evaluation. Every team member should add some spices to innovation. Innovation explorers develop unconventional and disruptive solutions, and then, when ideas were fully developed and a prototype built, innovation builders or implementors would take over and worked on serial production and sustaining innovation to make products or services more reliable, easier to make, and cost-effective.

Energy is the spice in innovation management: Will your organizational environment radiate positive energy or produce negative vibe? Creativity in the "corporate" world has a lot to do with fostering a creative environment. The right kind of mind is the essential feature of real innovation. And collective mindsets shape the culture of the business. Innovation needs to become your business routine, you have to live it and breathe it every day, otherwise, your working environment will go stale and taste flavorless. You can feel creative tension when you sense the freedom to be creative, the harmony is achieved not via compliance only, but through idea sharing. Part of creating an organizational environment that facilitates creativity involves having the right dose of creative tension and healthy competition to spark innovation, but also paying attention to employee well-being and building individual emotional intelligence to generate more positive emotions and reducing unnecessary organizational pressures. Many organizations are not fertile ground for ideation, there is the negative vibe surrounding their working environment, silo thinking, bureaucracy, and internal politics all stifle innovation to the certain degree. People in those environments avoid taking risks and seldom learn from their mistakes; asking people to do something they are not equipped to do just frustrates them with more. In fact, when the working environment cannot radiate positive energy, they are often polluted by negative vibe.

Can your organization amplify innovation effect via enforcing collaboration in large scale: Innovation is a systematic process. There are a lot of things (both “hard” factors such as policy, process, performance, and “soft” factors such as culture, leadership, communication) that come with that, in order to make the digital innovation both implementable and sustainable. The latest digital technologies such as social computing make collaboration and sharing possible at large scale to amplify innovation effect. Innovations simply benefit from being developed in and subsequently commercialized in a more open ecosystem, because it makes the pie of creative ideas growing bigger. Creative collaboration via integrative diversity can overcome silos. The most creative digital workplace is the one where collaboration and sharing are the norms. An organization that has a lightweight process and collaborative culture which allow ideas to flow, get protected, channeled and nurtured will succeed more often than an organization that has the overly rigid process and functional silos. The least effective culture at fostering a digital workplace is traditional command and control environments.

It is really hard to build a consistently innovative company, it requires both fine-tune the organizational structure and culture that nurture new ideas and more creative talent, add salt and spices, and is able to profitably execute on those ideas. The challenge comes with determining how to fund, commercialize, foster, protect, and focus investments in innovation that could require distinctly different business environments to prosper.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Monthly CIO Debates Collection: What’re Digital Attitude and Aptitude of IT Organization Feb. 2018

Debating is not for stimulating conflicts, but for brainstorming better ways to do things.

Due to the changing nature of technology, IT leadership role also continues to involve & shift the focus, to move up the maturity level. More and more CIOs are requested to take more responsibility and many CIOs present the breadth of leadership competency. The proactive IT debates help IT leaders to brainstorm better ways to do things and improve management capabilities. Here are the monthly CIO debates collections for brainstorming the digital attitude and apititude of IT organization.



Why Is so Hard for Running IT “Out of the Comfort Zone” Technology is pervasive, information is growing exponentially. Business transformation or change initiatives today nearly always involves some form of information and technology. All forward-thinking organizations across the industries claim they are in the information management business. To adapt to the increasing speed of changes, organizations have to be more nimble about updating technology and managing information effectively. Hence, IT organizations today can no longer get stuck at the lower level of maturity to keep the lights on only or get struggling to make an alignment with the business. Digital IT organization must get “out of the comfort zone,” to explore better ways of running IT as a trusted business partner, proactive change agent, and hyper-connected innovation hub. "Continual improvement" is the IT mantra in the digital era.

Is IT a Building Block or a Roadblock to Digital Transformation?
Nowadays technologies make impacts on every vertical industry sector and information permeates into every corner of the organization. IT is becoming more critical strategically, and the building blocks of the business competency. But still, there are discrepancies between how IT evaluates its own influence & performance and how IT is perceived by business partners and customers. Sometimes, business partners think IT is lagging behind the change curve, and they see IT as a drag on innovation. Even IT should be the irreplaceable building block of differentiated organizational capabilities, businesses perceive IT as the roadblock. So, how can IT turn around these negative perceptions and build a strong reputation as a change agent, innovation engine and driving force of digital transformation?

Is your IT Organization in the Surviving, Striving or Thriving Mode?
Organizations large or small are on the journey of digital transformation. IT plays an important role in leading changes. There is no one size fits all formula to run a highly effective IT, because, different IT organizations and enterprise as a whole are at the different stage of business maturity, IT can be used as a support desk, a tool, an enabler, catalyzer, or a digital platform to meet the ultimate goal of an organization's short, medium, or long-term strategic plans. CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer,” can you make an objective assessment whether your IT organization is in the surviving, striving or thriving mode? And how to transform IT from a cost center to a revenue generator and innovation hub?

How to Transform IT from a Cost Center into a Profit Creator? In most cases, the IT department isn't producing anything that is saleable and, therefore, many in the organization will view IT as something that seems to ceaselessly suck up money with the little-perceived return. First and foremost, a CIO needs to show that IT isn't just a cost center but is a deliverer of value, what’re the effective approaches in doing so?

IT as Frontrunner in Business Transformation?
Organizations large and small are heading to digital transformation; IT has been pushed out of its comfort zone as back office and become a frontrunner in business transformation. Why is the CIO asked to do so much in what is essentially a business initiative- Business Transformation? Is IT ready or what’s the competitive advantage for IT to play such a critical role? Will CIOs turn to be ‘scapegoat’ when things go wrong?


The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.2 million page views with 4300+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. 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.

The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Book Introduction

We all develop reputations for being problem creators, problem definers, or problem solvers. 


The purpose of “Problem-Solving Master - Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problems Creatively“ is to throw some light on how to understand, frame, and solve today’s multilayer, interdependent, and over-complex business problems effortlessly. Digital leaders and professionals should self-aware of their role in problems, show professional maturity, and develop a good reputation as the problem-solver.



Problem-Solving Masters are those individuals or organizations who are equipped with digital mindsets, accumulate sufficient and updated information and knowledge, build the unique set of skills and capabilities, develop their own customized problem-solving methodologies and practices, avoid roadblocks and pitfalls wisely, and master how to frame problems (especially macro-problems) systematically and solve problems (especially strategic problems) creatively. To close the problem-solving capability gap, it is important to keep sharpening our problem-solving skills, always dig underneath the surface, and build a good reputation as an insightful problem-framer or a capable problem-solver. Here are five principles to guide problem-solving.

There is an importance of introspection to assess the part you played in the problem:
No one person or entity is always the source of problems, likewise, no one person will be the panacea to all problems. Thus, it is important to develop the willingness to take ownership; otherwise, it could lead to a defensive mindset and result in failing to identify the role in problem-solving. Complex problem-solving requires both multidimensional intelligence and emotional excellence. It is also critical to leverage lessons learned. Learn from the past problems and challenges along with encouraging others to learn from the problems that have happened, and believe that problems are the opportunity to show others you're a good problem-solver.

Problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually discovering a real solution to that problem, not just the band-aid approach to fixing the symptom: It's worthwhile considering why things are the way they are for, in doing so, you are challenging automatic assumptions that something needs 'fixing.' To just go ahead and fix it carries assumptions, particularly, assumptions about something wrong, limiting, or not working in some way that requires 'fixing.’ It depends on the problem, how and to what extent it is manifesting in a way that cries for fixing, from where it emanates the greater context. If you understand the origin of the situation, where you want it to go, and how to get there, you would understand the specific ‘WHYs’ to dig through the root causes.

Understand the problem with context, and follow the logical scenario to diagnose it:
Context aids us in understanding what’s relevant and what’s not. From a problem-solving perspective, 'seeing' the context you are 'part' of, allows you to identify the leverage points of the system and then 'choose' the key factors, in the attempt to diagnose the problem and solve it effectively. The life cycle of the proper problem-prediction, problem-framing, and problem-solving is there so that you can follow the logical problem-solving scenario, by setting good principles, guidelines, and procedures.

Channeling creativity for solving tough problems: Thinking creatively about a problem requires being close to the problem, it requires context and intangible variables. Both creative and critical thinkers live out of the box, ask open questions to collect relevant information, and think alternative solutions to tough problems. In the business world, at least, you can't always wait for the "best" decision to emerge. You seek for inventions, new designs, and creative problem-solving.


Problem-prevention is critical for adapting to the “VUCA” characteristics of the digital new normal: Preventing problems requires people/processes/systems to analyze and predict the possibility of a problem, this is particularly important for today’s dynamic digital business. Preventing problems and enabling continuous improvement require cultural changes, leadership support, and iterative processes for identifying, assessing, preventing, and resolving problems as well as reporting the successes.

It takes a systematic approach to solve complex problems. The transparent processes help to dig through the root cause of problems and develop a logical scenario for problem-prevention, problem-diagnosing, and problem-solving, keep learning attitude to improve, empower true problem-solvers, enable systematic problem-defining, and encourage creative problem-solving.

Three Overarching Management Approaches to Shape a High-Mature Digital Organization

Digital exploration is all about planning, investing, designing, developing, operating, consolidating, integrating, securing, modernizing, optimizing, balancing, and orchestrating.

The journey of improving business maturity is more evolutionary than revolutionary. It is not just about one-dimensional technology adoption, but a multi-dimensional digital expansion. It is certainly critical to put the stronger emphasis on empowering people, leveraging the source of knowledge, harnessing adaptation, fostering innovations, and taking an overarching management approach to shaping a high-mature digital organization.

The overarching Information management approach: The leading organizations across the industry sectors claim they are in the information management business because information potential directly impacts the business potential of the organization. The business insight captured via the abundance of information allows the business to seize growth opportunities as well as predict potential risks. Information is also one of the most time intensive pieces to the innovation puzzle. Information does not live alone but permeates to everywhere in the businesses. Thus, the value of information is not isolated. Therefore, Information Management is an overarching management discipline because Information is the lifeblood of the enterprise, but if not properly managed, it becomes at worst case a liability and at best case an underutilized asset. IT should first work to identify how information is associated with the valued tangibles of businesses; products and resources. The level of "silo” in many organizations remains far too high, IT has to break down silo to enable information flow frictionlessly and ensure that the right people can get the right information to make right decisions timely. Digital CIOs need to be able to break down organizational silos and take an overarching management approach to managing information for unleashing its full business potential.

The overarching quality management approach: 
Quality management ensures that an organization, product or service is consistent. High-quality enterprise is comprised of high-quality people, high-quality products/services, and high-quality business capabilities/processes, etc. In digital organizations, quality management is not the job of one department, but an overarching management approach to build a coherent, effective and holist organization which needs to be well planned and thoughtfully renewal. Digital management systems and processes are gradually moving away from a static, unidirectional, rigid, and time-bound avatar to a more dynamic, iterative, integral and interactive state. In order to get quality out of anything whether it is people or process, or technology, organizations need to cultivate a climate that is conducive to growth rather than using catch-phrases that make things look good. Where there are ineffectiveness and inefficiency in business management, there are quality gaps existing. Quality (Efficiency + Effectiveness = Q) The successful integration and quality management will depend on the underlying business relationships between all of these points and how they influence each other. Through quality integration, the enterprise is easily combined with assets for orchestrating high-performing businesses.

The overarching Innovation management: Digital lifts the business and world to the next level of innovation era. Innovation is not serendipity, but an overarching management approach. Highly innovative organizations can explore the full spectrum of innovation and deployed a range of different management disciplines, technologies, processes, and structural solutions, etc. In fact, innovation manageability differentiates the digital leaders from laggards because those highly innovative organizations can effectively identify, frame, and deal with the right problems with alternative solutions timely. Nimble organizations also learn how to connect wider dots and scale their innovation practices from one function up to the company scope, and leverage digital platforms and tools to enforce cross-functional communication and collaboration for harnessing collective creativity. Identification of the novel ideas is only the beginning, the heavy lifting starts as a firm aligns resources and executes, learn from experimenting, and hopefully, the firm can manage innovation lifecycle and execute in a manner that provides sustained competitive advantage and improve the innovation management success rate.

Digital exploration is all about planning, investing, designing, developing, operating, consolidating, integrating, securing, modernizing, optimizing, balancing, and orchestrating. Taking these overarching management approaches helps to significantly improve the overall organization’s competency and growth potential, to build high-effective, high-responsive, high-intelligent and high mature digital organizations.







Sunday, February 11, 2018

The New Book "Problem-Solving Master" Preview

We all develop reputations for being problem creators, problem definers, or problem solvers.
Fundamentally, every work is to deal with problems large or small both from long-term perspectives and on the daily basis. The business or societal progress is made via a healthy cycle of problem framing and problem-solving continuum. There are macro-problems and micro-problems; strategic problems and tactical problems. If every problem is like a jigsaw puzzle, can you envision the big picture and diagnose the real problem? Can you collect all important pieces of information in order to solve the problem? Does every problem have solutions? What is the best way to handle a problem? How can you tailor the best solution to the real problem? Often time, people intend to solve the problem, but they could become part of the problem if lack of the right problem-solving mentality, attitude, capability, and methodology to solve it.


The purpose of “Problem-Solving Master - Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problems Creatively“ is to throw some light on how to understand, frame, and solve today’s multilayer, interdependent, and over-complex business problems effortlessly. Digital leaders and professionals should self-aware of their role in problems, show professional maturity, and develop a good reputation as the problem-solver. Problem-Solving Masters are those individuals or organizations who are equipped with digital mindsets, accumulate sufficient and updated information and knowledge, build the unique set of skills and capabilities, develop their own customized problem-solving methodologies and practices, avoid roadblocks and pitfalls wisely, and master how to frame problems (especially macro-problems) systematically and solve problems (especially strategic problems) creatively.

Chapter 1 Problem-Solving Masters:
Problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually finding a solution to that problem, not just the band-aid approach to fix the symptom. No one person or entity is always the source of problems. Likewise, no one person will be the panacea to all problems, but with teamwork, amicable solutions can be achieved. Today’s digital leaders and professionals should become problem-solving masters who can frame the right problems and solve them effortlessly.

Chapter 2 Problem-Solving Methodologies and Practices: Running the business is fundamentally an iterative problem-solving continuum. The business management should determine why problems happened, how problems escalated, which areas of the organization were affected, and when the problems started. You need a more holistic approach to complex problem-solving and create a framework within which the journey between the defined problem and the proposed solution is clearly articulated with logical steps, assumptions, facts vs. opinions, symptoms vs. root cause etc., for both defining the right problems and solving them effectively.

Chapter 3 Creative Problem-Solving: Creativity is the ability to solve, or attempt to fix problems. It is a mental process which results in an action that tests a possible solution. Things either work or they do not. That action is creativity which allows innovators to stand out and above the rest for solving problems creatively and maximizing commercial value to the company.

Chapter 4 Leverage Systems Thinking in Problem-Solving: Systems Thinking is the way of thinking to understand the interconnections and interdependencies between parts. It’s important to leverage Systems Thinking in understanding the problem holistically, to see the trees without missing the forest. It’s important to apply Systems Thinking in framing the right questions before answering them, and it’s also important to leverage a good set of Systems Thinking tools to propose solutions.

Chapter 5 Problem-Solving Pitfalls: Things are complex, people are complex, businesses are complex, and the world as a whole is complex as well. Particularly when you look at a situation and wonder how on earth things could have evolved in such a way, this is the clue that you should first seek to understand the complex problems before jumping into the scenario on how to fix them. When pioneering and solving problems, initial solutions are often more complex than required, and then adoption and progress come with simplification. It is important to spend time on pondering what are potential pitfalls on the way to both define the correct problem and solve it effectively. Otherwise, even though you have a good intention to solve problems, perhaps just fix the symptom, and cause more serious problems later on.

We all develop reputations for being problem creators, problem definers, or problem solvers. To close the problem-solving capability gap, it is important to keep sharpening our problem-solving skills, always dig underneath the surface, and build a good reputation as an insightful problem-framer or a capable problem-solver. Here are five principles to guide problem-solving.