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.

Monday, April 23, 2018

The Monthly “Dot Connections” Change Management Dot Connection Apr. 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 dots and spreading the knowledge

Change Management Dot Connection

Transformation vs. Change? The terms "transformation" and "change" truly overlap in the literal definition; people tend, though, to carry their own associations with each. Transformation is definitely the more ambitious sounding term -- and thus, we attempt to characterize the differences, and bridge the gaps.

Innovation vs. Change Management Innovation is value creation in a different way or to a different element of the business; there are both disruptive innovation and incremental innovation as well. So is innovation just another word for change; or does innovation management align with change management? Change and innovation share a common DNA, which is 'change' nature. But they are still different; each one has different motivators and must be managed differently. Innovation is a collection of thoughts, ideas, or efforts used to bring about or manage change to a desirable outcome. Not all change management is innovative however, innovation only exists to bring about change. Innovations do not need to be new however they should at the very least implement an existing method, idea, or resource in a new way, thereby making it innovative to the particular challenge at hand.

Performance Management vs. Change Management: The speed of change is accelerating, organizations are shifting from industrial speed to digital speed; from inside out - operation-driven to the outside in - customer-centric. When quality and values in your market changes constantly, your measures of P (Performance) have to move with it, better than that, anticipate it and rearrange around coming tastes and preference changes. So performance management vs. change management, how to tone them accordingly for a seamless digital transformation?

Change vs. Transformation Change or Transformation is at every progressive organization's agenda, are they the same or have differences? What's leading to change or on the journey of transformation?

Change vs. Improvement: Change is the only constant, indeed, even change itself changes, but more than two-thirds of organizational change management effort fails, what’s the change all about, why is change so hard, is change equal to improvement?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.3million page views with about #4600th 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 BOD's Three Oversights of Digital Transformation

The digital paradigm is an emerging digital ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set limits or boundaries, also offer the guidance for problem-solving or creating something new under the digital rules, keep information flow and achieve a state of dynamic balance. The beauty of the digital landscape is the fresh insight of business. An effective board enables and directs management towards good outcomes, and ensure the business is on the right track to reach well-defined business goals. What are important oversights the board can offer about digital transformation, and what are the possible governance methods, techniques, structures, etc, help to improve the boardroom effectiveness?

(a) Oversight of assessment - gauging conditions and choices: With increasing pace of changes and continuous digital disruptions, businesses today need to ride the change waves or catch the rising tide timely. There seem to be three choices organizations make: ignore emerging digital trends, jump on the bandwagon even if you don't know what you are doing, and embrace the digital technology and practices, finding ways to create strategic value. The third option is the right one. But the first two are far more common. The board should frequently brainstorm the digital impact on the business, gauging conditions and choices, leverage emerging digital trends to the business’s strategic planning. Digital organizations arise when the scale of the interrelations, interactions, or interrelational interactions surpasses our brain's capacity to be able to do whatever it does with smaller scales. A digital-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. The board oversight of digitalization and information-driven innovation agenda will directly impact business growth and organizational competency for the long run. 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 business success, boards need to gauge diverse conditions and choices, in order to make the digital model transformation sustainable.

(b) Oversight of appropriation - matching priorities and resource: The board's role is to enable the dynamic governance to fit the “VUCA” digital new normal. One of the BoD’s oversight should be focused on the maximization of capital & resource allocation. To address the resource competition issue, the 'benefit' must often be articulated in user-specific currency. The bottom line is, for any company to succeed, it is essential for the entire company to be pulling in the right direction by allocating resource, time, and assets scientifically. The governance and management disciplines go hand in glove. The challenge of digital management is to set the priority right in strategy execution and manage the tactics with efficiency. Although a Board should be long-term oriented, the perspective of a Board must encompass the past, present, and future when assessing risks and growth opportunities. The board’s oversight of appropriation - matching priorities and resources is to ensure that management can see and agree on what has been done and what should be done next all these with proper check and balance, make use of clear targets, communicate and embed prioritization mechanism into the multitude of management to unlock performance and unleash digital potential.

(c) Oversight of accountability - scoring activity and net results:
Board governance (as opposed to other entities with governance authority and responsibility) is the delegate process by which a board carries out the governance of the organization. But the board needs to have the oversight of accountability - scoring activity and net results, monitoring performance closely. Accountability goes hand in hand with the delegation of authority or power. The board needs to focus on their own performance as well as the performance of the management team; and, that performance is not limited to financial performance, but also to the firm's performance in creating value for employees and customers. Accountability starts with leaders at the top, to advocate the digital style of autonomy and self-management. If you ensure the individuals have the autonomy within their tasks, you will be able to address performance on an equal partnership base. Shared accountability or collective accountability involves shared ownership, empathetic communication, the true measure of accountability is about resilience. The board advocates the culture of accountability. There are also some structural issues with accountability. If one is to hold another accountable (peer or subordinate) for achieving some result, there is a set of conditions that must be fulfilled in advance on the "receiver" side. The leaders and managers should be more interested in finding "causes," not interested in assigning blame, in order to build a culture of accountability.

The open digital paradigm is not just about opening your technology, becoming transparent. It's a new paradigm shift. The high-performance board makes the disproportional impact on running a high-performance business through their invaluable oversight of the strategy and inspiring changes and innovation. They have to leverage information to predict, bring up the outlier’s viewpoint to see things differently. They share ‘deep common sense,’ leadership proficiency, strategic viewpoint, growth cycle balance, creativity, progressiveness for leading digitalization effortlessly.

The Systematic Views of IT Management

The digital organization is a complex ecosystem with the blurring line between functions, organizations and geographic locations. Digital exploration is all about planning, investing, designing, developing, operating, consolidating, integrating, securing, modernizing, optimizing, balancing, accelerating, renewing, and orchestrating. IT plays a critical role in knitting all important elements into differentiated business competency. IT is no longer that support function to “keep the lights on” only or an isolated and mechanic function to keep spinning. It is the innovation hub of the company and change department of the business. How to leverage Systems Thinking (ST) view of running IT as a “living system” to catalyzing business growth and driving digitalization.

The system is more than the sum of its parts: Due to the digital characteristics such as hyperconnectivity and interdependence, Systems Thinking is important for the management to understand the interconnectivity between parts and the whole, look at each function in the enterprise as a system and then finding a unified means of looking at the essence. The digital organization is an organic system which needs to keep growing and expanding. Systems Thinking helps digital leaders discover the interconnectivity and interdependence of the digital business ecosystem, improve business processes and optimize business capabilities. From the management perspective, Systems Thinking helps business leaders and management today understand the variety of business relationship, optimize management processes which help to reduce tensions, frictions, and conflict that arise; enforce interrelational communication and collaboration. When a system produces "bad" side-effects, we may wish to intervene. From IT management perspective, an effective CIO’s job is to leverage system view and take the structural approach to improve operations via reducing the waste and burden on the company, and understanding a system is a necessary precondition for an effective intervention. Digital management processes are dynamic, robust and antifragile to keep businesses flow and ensure the system as a whole is more than the sum of its parts.

Information Management is a living system If 'Information' is defined as objective and externally accessible, and fulfill its purpose: Information Management means that the business has the information, the information has the right quality, the information is used properly, and refined into insight to create business value. In most organizations getting stuck at the low level of maturity, data is in dissimilar systems which are being migrated, converted or just staying out due to budget and time constraints. Information is defined as the result of subjective interpretation of data, and thus, it is not accessible from an objective point of view and also is not externalized, it doesn’t fit in its purpose. Perhaps we should first work to identify how information is associated with the tangibles value of businesses; products and resources; like information flow in processes, know how to prioritize based on the business needs, communicate extensively, focus on information adoption, be able to mitigate risks and deliver tangible and visible business benefits. The systematic view of Information Management puts the effort of valuing information independent of its association to the value of related tangibles, to ensure, information, one of the most invaluable business assets create or multiply the business value and return on investment.

IT is a system which has an emergent property of people making sense of experiences in time and place:
The information system as pure technology elements (processor, software/firmware, power, enclosure, I/O) is not complete as a “living system,” people are the important element and should be the center of the information-abundant environment. Though in reality, people are often the weakest link in many ineffective organizations. The key differentiator between high performance IT and average IT is people. To run a people-centric, insightful digital organization, you need to integrate change management and performance management, utilize technology and manage information lifecycle in a structural way. The strategic and structural workforce planning is a responsibility of all functions in the organization, which requires cross-functional collaboration between executive team, managers, finance, marketing, IT and others. Information Management systems have potential to improve the quality of people management, for example, sometimes when the systems are broken, outdated or have severe defects, it decrease productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency either individually or collectively. A powerful IT system can help to build an innovative working environment which stimulates creativity, improve employee engagement and user experience significantly.

The systematic view of Information Technology helps the management understand IT as a living system with a set of interdisciplinary practices for moving the business to a dynamic, iterative, integral and interactive digital flow. 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, and truly make business information-savvy and digital ready.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Monthly Insight of “Digital Balance”: Manage Digital Tension and Strike the Right Balance Apr. 2018

Many come to believe that boundaries are not tangible places of resistance but are only self-imposed limitations we place on ourselves to hide our own fear to move forward. 

We are experiencing the dynamics of the most significant business transformation since the industrial revolution. The majority of us will work in an organization that is somewhere between old and new; at both industrial speed and digital speed; It is more critical than ever to maintain the right level of digital balance. In fact, striking the right digital balance is a never-ending business life cycle.

     

Manage Digital Tension and Strike the Right Balance   

How to Manage Digital Tensions for Thriving in the “VUCA” Business New Normal? Companies today have huge pressures to survive and thrive in today’s hypercompetitive economic dynamic. There are business tensions between old and new; physical and virtual, silo and connectivity. Majority of well-established companies today are running at both industrial speed and digital speed. It's so easy to get stuck in the “comfort zone,”instead of adapting to changes and bringing advancing thinking and progressive activities to light. Business leaders and managers must contemplate how to break down those old thinking boxes, and manage digital tensions to thrive in the "VUCA" business new normal?

Are You Running a Stable Business or a Stagnant Organization With the exponential growth of information, businesses need to grasp opportunities for growth but also manage risks effectively. With increasing pace of change and fierce competition. Organizations must keep the lights on and also make strategic movements all the time. Stability is not equal to stagnation. Like running up to the string, you have to strike the right balance.

Accelerate Digital Transformation via both Hard and Soft Way Organizations large or small are on their digital transformation journey, although there is no one size fits all solutions to ensure the change success, it is important to take a systematic approach, strike the right balance of “push” and “pull” from multiple directions, and accelerate digital transformation via both hard and soft way.

How to Drive a Frictionless, Immersive, and Relentless Digital Transformation Due to the abundance of information growth and disruptive nature of technologies, forward-looking organizations empower their IT to drive changes and lead the digital transformation. The thing needs to be clarified is that digital is not just about applying a few fancy technology gadgets or designing a cool website, it is much broader and deeper than that. Digital transformation is also not just about using the latest technologies as a single dimensional enhancement, but a multidimensional evolution based on sociocultural, sociotechnical, socioeconomic, organizational, scientific, philosophical, psychological, and artistic, etc., lens. These dimensions interact and mutually influence each other. It is the digital paradigm shift. The visionary digital CIOs must continually ask themselves: How to run IT as a change agent, and how to drive a frictionless, immersive, and relentless digital transformation?

Achieve Digital Equilibrium via Delicate Balance Digitalization means hyper-connectivity, over-complexity, and interdependence; it blurs the geographical borders, functional borders, organizational borders, industry vertical borders and knowledge domain border. Many come to believe that boundaries are not tangible places of resistance but are only self-imposed limitations we place on ourselves to hide our own fear to move forward. The black and white boundaries continue to diminish in the 21st century due to the occurrence of increased economic integration, digital dynamic characterized by the movement of information, people, and businesses. Therefore, it is more critical than ever to maintain the right level of digital balance. In fact, striking the right digital balance is a never-ending business life cycle.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #4600+ 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 Highlight of CIO’s Digital Agenda

IT leaders should build a comprehensive agenda with a few crucial highlights to drive digital transformation with focus.

With overwhelming growth of information and increasing pace of changes, businesses across sectors are moving from industry speed to digital speed. IT becomes so pervasive and critical, Information Technology should be seen by any business as a “digital game changer.” But from here to there is not a spontaneous adventure, it’s a well-planned, step-wise and non-stoppable journey. How can CIOs lead change confidently and what are the important highlight of the CIO's digital agenda?

Rejuvenate digital thinking of IT: Traditional IT organizations are often the “order taker,” waiting for the business request without taking enough initiatives to drive change proactively. Traditional CIOs are perceived as the IT geeks who do not spend enough time on practicing strategic thinking and innovative thinking about IT’s long-term competitive advantage. Thus, to make the digital paradigm shift, it starts with IT leaders and professionals who can think “out of the box” more often and broaden their lens to understand the business outside-in and doing more with innovation. At today’s information-driven business dynamic, there’s no shortage of problems to tackle, it’s all about to be able to get all the way around the task, to see it from all interests. It is IT responsibility to identify opportunity for business transformation wherever analysis and assessment indicate the potential benefits of transformation efforts? One of the major sources of the divide that segregates business and IT is the communications dialog - the lexicon used to communicate with people. One of the many paths to attempt to close IT-business chasm and get IT closer to the business is the mindset, words, concept descriptions used. IT needs to be like the startup to keep growth mindset and manage a shorter products/services delivery cycle. A great CIO with their finger on the pulse of technological advancement or information insight can provide many ideas on how new technology and abundance of information can create fresh new opportunities. CIOs will spend time with peer executives one on one to explain the shift in thinking, only with the support of top executive teams, they can row the boat. The CIO is at a unique position in driving business transformation and needs to handle it cautiously but firmly.

Reinforce IT accountability: While CIOs need to be prepared to invest in the future, they cannot ignore the benefits of properly leveraging what already exists. To push the digital agenda forward, it is an opportunity to demonstrate execution of responsibility. There is no doubt IT plays a more critical role in both improving business bottom line (keeping the light on, efficiency) and top-line growth (innovation, capability building, and performance acceleration). Proposing new technologies would be the final touch. As IT leaders, the goal in this regard should be focused on business outcomes via evolving IT systems at the pace of business need to provide such knowledge while reducing the cost of the IT asset. Transparency can help IT leaders tell a story. In the end, it is not about technology, but what technology can do when it is enabling and integrating with change management and business processes to deliver strategic differentiation. IT needs to proactively solve the problems with setting priority right. A good relationship between business and IT becomes visible by clearly defining tasks, authorities, and responsibilities. Without your peers' collaborating, the work will become much harder - to get as many people pulling in the same direction. Ensuring high-performing, high-reliable and high-proactive IT is the key success factor in organizational digital transformation.

Refine IT reputation: IT needs to move up its maturity from a reactive support function to a proactive game changer. CIOs have to get the transformation agenda right to refine IT reputation. Determining IT brand identity begins with questioning the business fundamental and concept clarification: What is the vision for your company? What is the mission of the IT Department? How does the IT Department see itself contributing to the company’s mission? What are the products and services that are offered by the IT Department? What value do these products and services bring to the company? What would happen if the IT Department did not provide these services? Who is the target market for these products and services? How does business functions perceive IT? What are competency necessities, what are differentiated competency? To put simply, IT faces unprecedented opportunity to refine its reputation, also needs to take more responsibility as a true business partner. o build the good credibility and reputation. IT tends to measure itself against trivial things IT considers important but are often less important and impactful in the business lens. To refine IT reputation, IT leaders have to be able to demonstrate in very tangible ways that IT understands business, IT needs to be perceived as the change department of the company. The challenge for the IT leader is to set the right priority, manage the limited budget and resource, for “doing more with Innovation,” and making continuous improvement.

The pervasive digitization requires both business and technology professionals to rethink how things are done in organizations. IT leaders should build a comprehensive agenda with a few crucial highlights to drive digital transformation with focus. The “reach and range” flexibility now exists removes barriers that have existed in the past. The business-engaged CIO is an accepted leader to run a contemporary IT organization with the great reputation.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The Monthly “12 CIO Personas” Book Tuning: CIOs as “Chief Interpretation Officer” Apr. 2018

Contemporary CIO is “Chief Interpretation Officer,” who is fluent in the business language and IT terminology, to ensure the seamless cross-functional communication without “lost in translation.” 

Compare to the other executive positions, the CIO role continues to be shaken up, refined, reinvented and reenergized. The magic “I” of the CIO title sparks many imaginations and modern CIOs need to wear different hats and play multiple roles. Here are a set of blogs to brainstorm digital CIOs as “Chief Interpretation Officers.”

             


 Chief Interpretation Officer


The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter VI Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Interpretation Officer” IT is on the journey to shift from a cost center to a profit rainmaker. CIOs are no longer good enough to be tactical IT managers only, they have to play multiple leadership roles and wear multiple hats to deal with the unprecedented business complexity today. One of the important roles for the contemporary CIO is “Chief Interpretation Officer,” who is fluent in the business language and IT terminology, to ensure the seamless cross-functional communication without “lost in translation,” and improve IT management maturity.

Digital CIOs as Anthropologist: How to Run a People-Centric IT organization? Contemporary CIOs are no longer just glorified geeks, but business savvy strategists and versatile digital executives. Great CIOs have multiple personas, varying personalities, and impressive leadership profiles. Digital leadership sophistication is crucial in complex problem-solving and strategy management. Digital is the age of people, how to truly understand your people and run a people-centric IT organization for improving business maturity?

CIOs as “Chief Interpretation Officer”: How to Improve Communication Effectiveness? The magic “I” in the title of CIO has many indications, such as Chief Information Officer,” “Chief Innovation Officer,” “Chief Influence Officer,” etc. Communications sometimes seem like an oxymoron. As we move from applying technology as a vehicle to maximize efficiency and minimize costs to leveraging technology as an enabler and catalyzer of totally new business models, to maximize business potential, forward-thinking organizations empower their IT to lead the digital transformation proactively. Therefore, CIOs need to become “Chief Interpretation Officer,” to bridge the communication gap between business and IT and improve digital leadership maturity.

CIO as Chief Interpretation Officer: CIOs need to play multiple roles, to make positive influence as a Chief Influence Officer, to deliver the right information/insight as a Chief Intelligence Officer or to orchestrate the seamless integration as Chief Integration Officer. But first of all, the CIO needs to play as a Chief Interpretation Officer to convey the vision, to bridge the gap and to enforce the multi-layer, multi-dimensional communication. But what does it take to be an effective ‘Chief Interpretation Officer”?

CIOs as “Chief Interaction Officer”: Can your Words Carry Weight in making the Digital Paradigm shift The pace of changes in IT would force more CIOs to shift into transformation-oriented digital leadership roles because IT plays a significant role in leading innovation and driving the digitalization of the company. However, in many organizations, CIOs have been perceived as tactical managers or even geeky technicians for so long, all forward-looking CIOs should ask themselves: “Can my words carry weight in making the digital paradigm shift?” How to become the “Chief Interaction Officer,” and “Chief Interpretation Officer,” and ultimately "Chief Influence Officer," for improving IT management effectiveness, building a strong IT brand, and amplifying digital leadership influence?

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #4600 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. 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.

Climbing Up the Digital Pyramids to Improve Organizational Maturity

Real societal advancement is made through the work of advanced minds, update knowledge, unique insight, and progressive activities. 

Today’s organization simply just can’t stand still. Digital transformation is a journey rather than a destination. It starts with the realization that where you are currently no longer can deliver the business vision and objective of success for your company and your shareholders, especially for the long term. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge. Digitalization is not the flat road. It is the journey with many accumulated steps to climbing up the digital pyramids from doing digital to going digital to being digital.

Information-knowledge-insight pyramid: Digital means the abundance of information. Thus, managing information and climbing the information-knowledge insight pyramid is imperative for shaping a highly responsive and intelligent organization. An intelligent organization always look for opportunities across the business to increase the usage of information. Information Management is to make sure that the right information is in the right place at the right time and shared to the right persons for making the right decision. At the organization level, managing information lifecycle means that the business has the information, that the information has the right quality, that the information is used properly, but also that managing information (the information provisioning) is a strategic imperative. Individually, climbing knowledge pyramid is important for both leadership development and unlocking talent potential. Because knowing something is not equal to understanding it, understanding it doesn’t mean you can fully capture the insight, innovate and co-create the new knowledge, or abstract wisdom from it. Digital is the age of insight. Knowledge is often in the box; insight is thinking into the box after thinking out of the box. Insight takes both creativity and reasoning, intuition and logic, the power of acute observation and deduction, questioning, connection, penetration, discernment, perception called intellection or noesis. When reaching the high level of knowledge pyramid, the collective insight allows the organization to make effective decisions, respond timely to grasp business opportunities and avoid risks.

Incremental-substantial-radical innovation pyramid:
Digital is the age of innovation. Innovation is how to transform novel ideas to achieve its business value. Innovation is a nonlinear process with spiral cycle involving non-stable processes. Incremental innovation generally brings short-term value additions or competitive advantage with fewer risks. Breakthrough Innovation is better with greater ROI but with much greater risk. It takes the right mix of innovation appetite and attitude, courage, and skills to climb the innovation pyramid. Research identifies that innovation efforts that ultimately break new ground frequently are fraught with uncertainty on many dimensions -technical, market, resource and organizational uncertainties abound. This requires them to be managed with a whole different approach. When reaching the high level of innovation pyramid, organizations should be able to manage a balanced innovation portfolio which includes varieties of innovation, across the matrix of three types of innovation (process, product/service, business model) and three degrees of innovation (incremental, substantial, breakthrough).


The Maslow’s pyramid of needs: Digital is the age of people and option. Unprecedented digital convenience brought by latest digital technologies change how we live, work, and think. Digital professionals today have better opportunities to climb the Maslow’s pyramid which is a motivational theory in psychology comprising different tiers of human needs, at the bottom is the basic "surviving" needs to the middle tier for" belonging" to the top tier of "self-actualization." In fact, it is an invaluable theory for understanding and managing people in today’s cross-generational, cross-cultural and cross-geographical workforce in the digital era. Because high professional today pursue freedom, independence, and autonomy, at the highest level, to explore meaning, purpose, and mastering of work. The era of face-to-face, top-down hierarchical management, and communication – something that is reassuring to many traditional managers are beginning to change. Digital management is now all about transparency, active listening, trust in the wisdom of the team, giving proper credit where it is due, and making constant experimentation.

A thousand-mile-digital -journey starts with the first step. It’s important to keep “FOCUS,” to break down the old organizational structural pyramid, but climb the emerging digital pyramids. Real societal advancement is made through the work of growth minds, update knowledge, unique insight, and progressive activities. When businesses and the world are catching up with the most advanced mindsets, stepping into the further-looking perspective, aligned with a positive attitude, fitting into the digital new normal, and integrating into upward movements to climbing those digital pyramids with accelerated speed, they reach the next level of digital maturity.

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Monthly “Lesson Learned”: How to Break Through Digital Bottlenecks Apr. 2018


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. Digitalization is the thorny journey and innovation management is both art and science. What are the pitfalls on the way?

           

How to Break Through Different Bottlenecks


Digital Innovation Bottlenecks? Digital innovation has the broader spectrum and more enriched context. Innovation is not serendipity, but a management process. Innovation has three phases: discovery of a problem or new ideas; designing a prototype solution and the ultimate delivery of a commercially astute outcome. Therefore, the best point of view is to see innovation as a system, capable of delivering organizational-wide capability. However, innovation management has an overall very low success rate in the majority of organizations. From the management perspective, what are innovation bottlenecks and how to break them through in order to build innovation as the business competency?

Change Management Bottlenecks? Change is the new normal, in fact, the speed of change is increasing. To put simply, change itself changes. Digital ecosystem has become more complex and dynamic, Change Management also turns to be more complex, and there is no magic formula to follow. That’s perhaps part of reasons why the failure rate of Change Management is so stubbornly high in the last two decades. The perils of Change Management can waste a lot of resources and cause a lot of pains. So, how to identify Change Management bottlenecks and build change as an ongoing business capability?

Break Through IT Bottlenecks to Get Digital Ready
As businesses move into the digital future, technology is the fastest growing arena and information is growing exponentially. Never before has IT and business been so closely tied together, never before has technology moved more quickly and missteps have larger trajectory impacts on every aspect of the business. Still, many IT organizations are perceived as a controller, slow to changes. Can IT play a critical role in handling the digital intensity, break down the capability and capacity bottlenecks, and ultimately become the business catalyst to drive digitalization?

Breaking Three Bottlenecks to Digitize Boardrooms The corporate board plays a significant role in overseeing business strategy, setting principles and policies, monitoring performance to get digital ready. They are the advocate for changes and the mastermind behind digitalization. To lead effectively, they are able to break the bottleneck of digitalization and bridge the gap of opportunity between where they are and want to become, cascading the changes from the boardroom to the front line of the company in order to accelerate performance and get digital ready.?

How important is it to Identify Decision Bottlenecks?
 Either at the individual or corporate level, people have to make decisions, strategic or tactical, large or small even at daily basis. The business and the entire world become over-complex, hyper-competitive, unprecedented uncertain and ambiguous, what is the best scenario to make effective decisions, and how important is it to identify decision bottlenecks?
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached over 2 million page views with about #4600+ 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.

CIOs as “Chief Interaction Officer”: How to Master Different Dialogues to Enforce Communication

CIOs need to be comfortable in communicating at all levels, master all styles of conversations for targeting a different audience to develop situational leadership and influential competency.

Digital CIOs are “Chief Interpretation Officers,” “Chief Interaction Officers,” and “Chief Influence Officers,” today, etc. They are able to initiate communication in the different level of the organization with clarity. There are different types of dialogues. Each kind of dialogue has its context or "initial situation," the participant's goal, or the goals of the dialogue. Digital CIOs need to be excellent communicators, who are business aware and only finally, technically aware, translate from one conversation to the other seamlessly. But more specifically, how can CIO master different dialogues to enforce communication and leadership effectiveness?

Strategic dialogue:
Digital CIOs are business strategists who need to be good at strategic conversations. The CIO needs to develop skills beyond technology, based on the understanding of their particular organization's current and potential corporate structure, strategic plan, senior management style, staff size, etc. They need to convey the technological vision and participate in strategy-making, IT strategy is an integral component of the business strategy. If the corporate leadership is not open and receptive to technical innovation, and not accustomed to engaging the CIO in corporate strategic planning, and then it could be challenging for catalyzing business growth and accelerating digital transformation. As a top business leader, CIOs need to develop a broad skillset beyond technology. Coupled with the ability to understand, translate and speak “tech-talk.” Among other skills, they need strong business orientation and a proven ability to bring the benefits of IT to solve business issues. CIOs must be able to relay complex technical ideas in a non-technical manner to business leaders, understand their environment and playing field to develop a plan to harness the identified opportunities. They are responsible for making sure that the IT meets the business requirements, works as the strategic partner of the business via smooth communication and cross-functional collaboration. Generally speaking, more right brainers or whole-brainers are needed; they need to be a good judge of character, to communicate creatively and candidly. They need to be independent of the subject but bring outside-in view and business perspectives without getting stuck in too narrowly lens.

Trust enhancement dialogue: The absolute No#1 non-technical skill for CIOs is the ability to speak the language of business. IT needs to transform the reputation from a “controller” to an enabler. IT leaders should build peer to peer trustful executive relationships, experiments more creative common language to communicate, in order to bridge the gap between business talks and IT talks via using the common business language. IT needs to forge a mature adult relationship with business users, since today’s multi-generational knowledge workforce, from baby boomer to millennial, overall are becoming much savvier about the wide range of technology than IT managers give credit for. It is essential that the person communicating should also be equally aware of what he/she wants to communicate, how he/she communicates and above all ensure that he/she has communicated correctly. Also, ensuring that you are using a respectful tone in delivering the message to the individual is important. Respect in any situation goes a long way in getting your message across, to amplify leadership influence without "lost in translation."

Technical dialogue: As the professional IT manager, the CIO has to be flexible, adaptable, and able to adjust the lingo to suit the audience; sometimes soften it up and drop the technical jargon, other times diving into the bits and bytes level. To be the most effective leader, you need to display the hard tech skills and knowledge, but more importantly, you need to be welcomed and invited to the table, be able to convey the technological vision, listen and translate business needs into actionable states. The IT team needs to be able to trust the CIO and the CIO needs to understand them intellectually to be able to lead them. The solid IT expertise allow CIOs to practice empathetic leadership in IT, even the CIO does not need to be technically directly involved, but a technical background is good to have to be able to manage the team. It is about striking a balance of leadership, management, and technical expertise/IT skills in order to be good at technical dialogue without “getting lost in details.”


We dialogue when we communicate. Each type of dialogue has its proper use. Communication is much more complicated because there are differences in goals and contexts. These contexts can shift. In natural conversation, we can shift these goals and contexts. As we move from using technology as a vehicle to maximize efficiency and minimize costs to using technology as an enabler and catalyzer of totally new business models. CIOs need to be comfortable in communicating at all levels, master all styles of conversations for targeting a different audience to develop situational leadership and influential competency.



Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 4/19/2018

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating and sharing.


The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with 4600+ 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.





How to Deal with the Sameness and Differences in Making a Leap of Digitalization The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to explore the new possibilities and unlock their business potential. The shift to digital cuts across sectors, geographies, and leadership roles, it represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem. In reality, there is the mix of the old and new, physical and virtual solid and flow, etc. How to handle the unprecedented level of complexity, and how to deal with the sameness and differences in making a leap of digitalization.

The Monthly “Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As” Book Tuning: How to Build the Digital Board with Changeability Apr. 2018 Modern corporate boards play significant roles in guiding businesses toward the right direction and achieve expected business results. Due to the “VUCA” characteristics -Complexity, Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and Velocity of the Digital Era, the directorship in any organization must have the agility to adapt to changes and build abilities to advise, inspire and motivate a group of people toward accomplishing shared visions and goals. Here is the monthly “Digital Boardroom” summary of the digital board’s innovation inquiries.

Three Continuum to Develop Learning Habit To quote Peter Drucker, an American management guru, “knowledge is the most valuable commodity.” It couldn’t be truer in the digital era. On one hand, the fresh knowledge can be captured from the abundance of information, to create significant business value; on the other hand, it doesn’t take so long for that knowledge to become a commodity once the market is exposed to it. With overwhelming growth of information and shortened knowledge cycle, today's digital workforce must develop the great learning habit in order to build professional competency and unlock their performance and potential.

CIOs as “Chief Improvement officer”: Three Alignments to Advance IT There are very few businesses today can state that IT does not play a significant role in the day to day operations or even long-term strategic positioning. But many IT organizations are still suffering from overloaded work and perceived as an isolated support function to “keep the lights on’ only. Thus, alignment is always important; most dictionaries divide alignment into two categories: Arrangement and alliance. Those organizations that have better alignment maturity outperform their competitors and tend to be more responsive to increasing pace of changes and develop long-term business competency.

The New Book “Digital Maturity” Quote Collection IV "Ihe purpose of the book “Digital Maturity: Take a Journey of a Thousand Miles from Functioning to Delight” is to envision the future of the business, articulate the very characteristics of digital organizations; reimagine the interdisciplinary and hyperconnected digital ecosystem; fine-tune processes and structures of the digital busins to what can be achieved within its fraess; develop the best and next practices to charter the digital paradigm shift seamlessly; leverage information & technology as the linchpin of the digitalization; take a holistic approach to measure digitalization effort; avoid pitfalls and barriers on the way; and make a leap from doing digital to being digital effortlessly.

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.

Three Signals of Creative Workforce

Organizations need to support the process of improvisation and develop a creative workforce to compete for the future.

Creativity is a long-term endeavor. The organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades and intensity. One of the aspects of running a digital organization is how to build a creative working environment where individuals or groups can generate creative ideas regularly and frequently, and the business can manage innovation effectively. The management needs to ask themselves: Which type of work activities, roles, industries, require great deals of creativity? Which signals shall you detect for assessing how creative your workforce or workplace is? How do you, as leaders involve all people in creative thinking and actions? And how can you help improve the harvest of the creative seeds?

Productive friction: The idea of 'productive friction' is a way of encouraging and instilling a creative innovative environment. Creating productive friction is about flow, quality, and creativity. It is important to create and nurture an environment in your organization where inquisitiveness and humility are appreciated, curiosity is encouraged, and creative thinking is rewarded. Build individual emotional resilience to generate more positive emotions and reduce unnecessary organizational pressures. If people challenge each other to have to translate/transform their PoVs into new expressions, and then not only is the combined creative output novel, but their individual inputs are also novel. However, 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. In the environment with productive friction, creativity is stimulated via cross-functional communication, cross-generational brainstorming, and cross-industrial dots connection.

Creative tension: Have you seen the creative tension through the abundance of digital flow: information flow, mind flow, and talent flow? Do you find yourself getting inspired, challenged or intimidated by people of a different background from you? Does diversity spur new perspectives in an individual or in a collective corporate setting? Can you always discover new perspectives and really valid learning points in work or any social community? Creative tension, when you see it, you know it. Creative people gain in-depth understanding through asking the right questions and open for varying answers. Often those creative workplaces have the right dose of creative tension and healthy competition to spark innovation. You can feel creative tension when you sense the freedom to be creative, the harmony is achieved not through compliance, but through idea sharing and quality debating. 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.

Constructive disobedience: As the say goes, you cannot make the omelet without breaking some eggs. The innovation challenges the status quo and that is important for developing a healthy, innovative organization. Impatient with the status quo and believing there is always a better way to do things is a strong signal of having a creative workforce. Thinking outside the box is all about "rule breaking"; the more "unruly" you are, the more creative you are. There is no innovation without disobedience. Constructive disobedience has a positive sense - it’s about the desire to make something better and the willingness to try and explore new possibilities. Innovation is the progression, innovation is doing something better than it currently is, having an innate curiosity to improve. Being innovative is a mindset.

In fact, innovative solutions often come from the floor and not the ceiling. Therefore, organizations need to support the process of improvisation and develop a creative workforce to compete for the future. Creativity must be cultivated, part of creating an organizational environment that facilitates creativity involves paying attention to employee wellbeing and you must allow room for failure, for tangents, for being "different." So collective creativity becomes the business competency.




Five Stages of Digitalization

Digitalization is a continuous journey with iterative steps. Don’t rest until you’ve done everything you can do to make your organization as resilient, inventive, inspiring, and accountable as it can be.

Digitalization represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem. During the journey, there are many accumulated steps from doing digital to going digital to being digital. Companies need to take the journey with logical steps, embed digital into the very fabric of the business and laser focus on the most important things to get business digital ready.



Exploring: Many organizations are at the stage of experimenting digital, exploring the new opportunities to grow business and figuring out better ways to do things. They develop the next digital practices, figuring out which of them makes sense to challenge and then leveraging creativity tools (exploring, divergence, convergence) to arrive at a useful new box and figure out an alternative solution. Riding the learning curve and catch the digital wave take pre-contemplation, preparation, planning, and implementing. There is the conflict between old and new, innovative businesses refuse to bound by constraints and limitations. Many forward-looking organizations separate the exploitation of existing methods, technologies, processes from the exploration of new ways by leveraging emerging digital trends. The emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern as the pervasiveness of an organization's digitization journey increases. It requires the balance of courage and caution, learning and doing, standardization and innovation, stability and speed.

Scaling up:
Digitalization implies the full-scale changes in the way business is conducted, the business needs to take a framework approach to scale up across the organizational scope. Make the common set of principles and develop the best and next business practices. Digital organizations arise when the scale of the interrelations, interactions, or interrelational interactions amplifies the collective capability to unlock business performance for the organization. The reason why many transformations fail - some soft factors and the challenge of complexity come into play. Therefore, you have to dig deeper to understand intangible business factors and fine-tune the underlying business structures, functions, and processes in order to adapt to the digital new normal, as well as sustain changes. Taking a logical step to scale up means that companies must begin thinking about ways with strategic planning to broaden their vision and revenue streams while becoming more responsive, scalable, high connected and super competitive.

Ecosystem Expansion: The digital organization today is hyper-connected and interdependent, like the switch in its digital ecosystem, keep connecting with its environment. The digital business territories blur, and the digital ecosystem is dynamic, hyperconnected and expansive, it expands when the components broaden their community scopes and consume all sorts of resources. To succeed in today's digital dynamic, the most successful organizations have a very clear vision and understanding of why they exist and the value they bring to customers and the very reason for changes. So, they not only survive the fierce competition but thrive in the expanded digital ecosystem. However, for those lagging organizations, the ecosystems have evolved without much attention or planning. Transformative changes often come outside-in, digital business will always seek and embrace the influences beyond their own company, treat customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active agents who have permission to share knowledge and combine the modular capabilities exposed in a platform to create new experiences and expand its impact.

Accelerating: Increasing pace of changes and continuous disruption throw the challenge for businesses across sectors to respond and adapt with faster speed. Uncertainty is the beast that organizations need to deal with today, digital-savvy organizations can take dynamic planning, information-based forecast, timely adjustment, and relentless implementation. Many organizations reach the inflection point to accelerate and adjust the turning potion to make the breakthrough. It is the moment when the business conducts change more radically, explore new opportunities more aggressively and expedite for rising to the new heights relentlessly. Speeding up implies to orchestrate digital transformation in a synchronous way. The goal is to accelerate changes, but not rush up for catching only short time gains, and strike the right balance of digital speed and stability, quick wins and long-term business results.

Self-renewing: Digital organizations are like the living systems that can self-renew in striving to become high-performance businesses. Digital is the new age paradigm associated with deep ecology - the digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. To self-renew and create a positive change tomorrow, you need to start today understanding self. How can you prepare for making positive changes? And how can you continue innovating for the community to thrive? There are no shortcuts to getting to that state, it takes holistic understanding, fluid structure, and a real commitment to getting there. High mature digital business can provide a more intensive and creative working environment enabling the organization to get all the right people with the right capability in the right position to solve the right problems from right angles all at once, and ultimately achieve high-performance business results and maximize the full digital potential. Digital organizations need to emphasize participation, relationships, communication, and realize that organizations will need to renew themselves periodically to cope effectively with change and have a fluid structure that responds adequately and makes an impact on the hyperconnected digital ecosystem significantly.

Businesses today need nothing less than a paradigm shift in their thinking about the fundamentals of how organizations work to build an authentic culture and an engaging workforce, take the logical steps for reaching the next stage of business maturity which means business effectiveness, responsiveness, performance, intelligence, innovation, and people-centricity. Digitalization is a continuous journey with iterative steps. Don’t rest until you’ve done everything you can do to make your organization as resilient, inventive, inspiring, and accountable as it can be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Monthly “Problem-Solving Master” Book Tuning: The Systematic Problem-Solving Apr. 2018

You need to have deep insight, take a holistic approach to complex problem-solving and build a comprehensive framework for both defining the right problems and solving them effectively. 

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 Systematic Problem-Solving

How to Apply System Thinking to Shape Right Questions or frame Right Problems Today’s digital business and society are hyper-connected and interdependent, systems thinking is a type of thinking, not only see different pieces of components separately but also think how they are connected to the whole. You can apply systems thinking when solving problems. However, does systems thinking change the way you define problems, why does it matter, and how to apply System Thinking (ST) to shape the right questions?
The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Chapter IV: Leverage Systems Thinking in Problem-Solving The world has become so dynamic with the exponential growth of information, it is full of opportunities and problems. Many problems do exist because they are either ill-defined or the concept cannot be adequately captured contextually. Further, there’s the problem that the same word means different things to different people because they carry different emotional baggage or have the cognitive difference. So, what’re the logical scenarios for problems diagnosing and solving? And how to leverage Systems Thinking in problem-solving?

Five Elements (AISDE) in Digital Problem-Solving Framework Running a business is fundamentally an iterative problem-solving continuum. Due to fast-paced change, the exponential growth of information and continuous digital disruptions, the problems facing business also turn to be over-complex and difficult to solve. You need to have deep insight, take a holistic approach to complex problem-solving and build a comprehensive framework for both defining the right problems and solving them effectively. Otherwise, the temporary fix will cause you to reconsider the problem statement soon after. Here, we introduce a comprehensive digital problem-solving framework with "AISDE" components.?
How to Leverage Systems Thinking in Problem Diagnosing and Solving in Digital Era? The world we live in is full of opportunities and problems. Many problems do exist because they are either ill-defined or the concept cannot be adequately captured by our current language contextually, or often, they get lost in translation. In addition, there's the problem that the same word means different things to different people because they carry different emotional baggage or have cognitive differences. So what’re the best scenarios for problems diagnosing and problems solving? And how to leverage Systems Thinking in managing them?

Apply System Thinking to Frame the Problems? As businesses become over-complex and extremely uncertain, more often, framing the right questions to ask or defining the real problems to solve is more challenging than finding the answers or discovering the solutions. Does Systems Thinking change the way you 'define' problems?


The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with about 4600+ 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.


The Two Sides of “Change” Coin

Running the business is an ongoing and iterative change continuum.

A changeable organization is to creating organizations where change is the norm and happens the whole time thereby delivering faster and increasing market share. Digital ecosystem has become more complex and dynamic, Change Management also turns to be more complex, and there is no magic formula to follow. For a company to move from one level to another change maturity requires understanding the two sides of the change coin and having step-function changes in tools, culture, leadership, and process.

Strike a dynamic balance between the inner and outer elements in leading changes: To succeed, businesses need a unified “one sight” focus for driving change, but understand both inner and outer elements in leading changes. The change and (existential) creativity is deprogramming old mindsets, letting go of "the voices from the past," reprogramming the collective minds with new perspectives, norms, and attitudes. Therefore, it’s important to understand the relation and dynamic between consciousness (thinking,) energy (emotions) and information deeply. It is like to recode the DNA of the business, challenging, but establishing a new blueprint for how top management wants to create the digital future reality. No change can be forced, let it unfold. Thus, it’s important to strike a dynamic balance between the inner and outer elements in leading changes. Having learning curve awareness means that you have to engage the sixth sense, if needed, to decipher when to make the change, and to discern what to throw out and what to keep. Shall you shake the old bottle with the same content or shall you have to change the entire bottle with different content? Change reaches the inflection point when the disruption allows for "new" energy to flow and bring with it something that would not be born without it.

Listen to both the “Naysayers” and “Yay sayers” when it comes to deep and far-reaching change: Communicate carefully the reasons for the change and be honest about the impact - positive & negative - on them as individuals. Like many things in this world, there are always two sides of the story. You need to listen to both for gaining true understanding. How you create an authentic context that allows for agreement and disagreement to work equally towards the desired result is the question. Change agents need to inspire and share their success stories. Naysayers or skeptics have a valuable point of view about the change that needs to be listened to and considered. This feedback can be very important in shaping the change effort to increase its success. It is important to try to find ways to make people feel involved in the design and implementation of the change. The more transparent about a change effort, the less uncertainty, and consequently less fear, the change management will be more effective. When people are empowered, intrinsically motivated, creative to take initiative and self-confident, they can become the real change agents and problem-solvers



Change is the 'Now.' Transformation is a journey and requires larger strategic investment: Organizations large or small spend significant time and resource to deal with the Big Changes such as digitalization or small changes as the daily improvement. The top of the pile is strategy-driven transformation. Change is fragile and often temporary - it usually occurs at the behavior level without a shift in the underlying belief system. Transformation is the change, but on a grand level, at the level of the system, differentiate in terms of the end result on a systemic level. One could also look at change (things happening now) as the consequence of a transformation journey. The most significant difference between the two main categories of change is that the tools and capabilities that work reasonably well for improvement have little success in transformational efforts, and, in fact, can be a waste of valuable resources and a source of frustration. The other significant difference is that transformation can require multiple times dedicated resource as a similarly sized improvement initiative. It needs to focus on coordination and facilitation, follow the right set of principles and take the best practices.

Running the business is an iterative change continuum. As change agents, Change Management has a very wide scope and is a relatively new area of expertise, you need to understand both sides of the coin smoothly. It is about how to ride the learning curve to get into action in creative, positive, and productive ways that educate, support and celebrate every critical step of the change curve to accelerate the business transformation journey and sustain change effect for the long-term business success.

Digital CIOs as Anthropologist: How to Run a People-Centric IT organization

 IT needs to think like the anthropologist for running a people-centric organization to enchant customers, empower employees, and evolve business partners. 

Contemporary CIOs are no longer just glorified geeks, but business savvy strategists and versatile digital executives. Great CIOs have multiple personas, varying personalities, and impressive leadership profiles. Digital leadership sophistication is crucial in complex problem-solving and strategy management. Digital is the age of people, how to truly understand your people and run a people-centric IT organization for improving business maturity?


Reading between the lines: Understanding context is often the first and one of the most important steps in leadership perception. With information permeation and continuous disruptions often driven by technologies, it’s simply not sufficient to just run IT as an isolated function to “Keep the lights on” only, IT needs to be a linchpin for running a digital organization today. It’s important for CIOs to both have business acumen and IT knowledge to ensure IT acting as an integral part of the business. From the IT management perspective, contextual understanding is about getting to understand the whole meaning of functional dialects and business dynamic and perceive the business insight in a cohesive way. Behind every problem is a relationship dynamic out of alignment. Thus, understanding the interconnectivity of systems and relationship dynamics are also important as well for both identifying the real issues and solve them smoothly.

Manage multi-layer business relationships: From IT management perspective, there are multi-layer relationships CIOs need to manage. IT leaders should target different audiences, such as business peers/shareholders relationship, customer relationship, vendor relationship, etc, tailor special needs in order to build up the long-term empathic leadership competency.  Digital is the age of people and options, it provides the opportunity to think the new way to do things, so it forces CIOs to get really creative on how they architect and implement change. Understand the psychology behind changes is an important step in running a frictionless digital organization. Building people-centric changeability is a prerequisite for dynamic digital strategy execution. The change capability of the business is built through the alignment of people, process, and technology. At the high mature digital organizations, change management goes hand in hand with strategy management. From IT management perspective, CIOs need to be like the anthropologist and psychologist, who can diagnose the problems from the mindset level, understand the variety of thoughts behind the changes, and build the culture of learning and innovation. The overall employee engagement is very low in many organizations, and people fear or resist changes. They are not motivated to be the innovators or change agents. Thus, IT leaders need to inspire and exemplify changes, develop change capability in those who'll help drive and deliver the change, consider also the capability of those impacted by the change to handle its impacts. It is about providing a more intensive and effective working environment enabling the organization to get all the right people with the right capability in the right position to solve the right problems from right angles.

Master audience tailored communication: CIOs are no long IT geeks who cannot communicate with business via common language and mutual understanding. In fact, digital CIOs are “Chief Interpretation Officer,” “Chief Interaction Officer,” and “Chief Influence Officer,” today, etc. They are able to initiate communication in the different level of the organization with clarity. CIOs as good ‘storytellers” will help business customers or partners gain open perspectives on IT performance and potential, close the perception, communication, and collaboration gaps between IT and business. Because communication gaps decrease productivity, cause mistrust and decelerate business speed. The CIO’s strategic communication should embrace creativity, context, cascade, and tailor the varying business audience, in order to close cognitive gaps and enforce mutual understanding. “Lost in translation” syndrome is caused by mistakes that most organizations make in business communication that fails to translate the high-level language of strategy into the professional language or functional dialects. CIOs as “Chief Interpretation Officer” should ensure IT folks understanding the commercial end point of their work rather than it being an abstract set of code. It is worth the effort to take better communication approaches and become both creative and critical in enforcing business and IT collaboration.

Digital CIOs, are born to change, how they overcome the digital transformation challenges depends on their ability to think, adapt, proactively plan and execute, with a sense of humor. IT needs to think like the anthropologist for running a people-centric organization to enchant customers, empower employees, evolve business partners, invite all sorts of business partners for feedback, and ensure the right people getting the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. It helps to rebrand IT as a creative and a trustful business partner.