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.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Three Change Dilemmas

The digital business dynamic allows the organization to morph as the business conditions and organizational capacities change to allow a better fit. Change is inevitable, and the pace of change is increasing. But change is never for its own sake, one of the good reasons for the change is to solve business problems both large and small, hard and soft. Change is also neither the isolated nor a random initiative, it is an ongoing business capability. Change is complex as well, here are three change dilemmas.


The more you think of changes, the more confused you become: Change is complex, linear thinking or mathematical logic only often cannot always drive change success. Because change is an iterative continuum. It first requires clear thinking which includes both rational thinking (compare and contrast, define frame of reference, etc.) and creative thinking (a result of holding the contrasting factors in the mind until something new appears). Clear thinking includes hard-wired to constantly seek solutions to problems, and keep the end in mind to ensure change reaching the business expectation. The opposite of clear thinking is either thinking too little or overthinking. Thinking too little about change scenario might lead nowhere or get lost at certain point; but overthinking causes anxiety and mental confusion. Energy usually gets focused on problem-solving, and realization becomes a rush where thoughtfulness about people and processes is a casualty of time. The important thing is to be able to thinking profoundly via capturing business insight and gaining the true understanding of change. The deep thinking occurs when you look for internal understanding in order to find a way to contribute. It is important to think both hard and smart, fast and slow, holistic and nonlinear, master different thought processes skillfully to lead change with clarity.

The more you change, the more stay the same: Change is not the straight line, there are change curves and bumps on the way. The real problem seems to understand the curve and how it relates to change. The curve is ready to be the steps one goes through during change when in actuality they are the steps that come before change can take place. Otherwise, it comes to the dilemma “The more you change, the most stay the same.” Functional silo, comfort zone with gained existing stage, wrong groupthink (past success will come to future success), all contribute to create change curves. In terms of cultural change, a lot of people resist as it takes them outside their comfort zone which generally gives a negative feeling, such as fear, apathy. indifference, loss of control, personal vulnerability. To ride change curves, 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. All stages of changes must be handled with attention and proficiency to ensure success. "Begin with an end in mind” should present in any process designed to successfully produce positive changes. Determining what the future needs to look like, and what the transformation must look like is the next step.

The harder you solve the problem, the more problems you create:
Often times, people have a tendency to try to fix a symptom which results from the actual cause of the problem. A solution is nothing if the problem is not perceived, therefore, creating the awareness of the problem is the first step to making a solution be understood and accepted, realizing “We can't stay the same,” the realization only comes when the problem is perceived. Fixing issues with speed is not equal the to the quick fix or the band-aid approach. Trying to fix the wrong cause of a problem will waste time and resources, increase anxiety. Until the underlying problem is addressed, the symptom or result will continue to return. Due to the complexity of contemporary organizations today, many business problems are also complicated or even seems “illogical” at the first sight. Thus, a better solution that crosses all industries is to keep peeling back the layers to find the root cause via asking big WHYs or taking systematic approaches to discover the real cause, address it, and fix problems radically.

When people are empowered, intrinsically motivated, creative to take initiative and self-confident, they can become the real change agents and problem-solvers, to overcome these change dilemmas. Working hard is really about working smarter, with the right mindset and attitude to make positive things happening and deal with the business complexity effortlessly.

CIOs as “Chief Inclusiveness Officer”: How to surge forward in Creating Success Stories?

Contemporary CIOs have to wear different hats and play multiple roles for practicing situational leadership. Innovation is the light all forward-looking organizations are pursuing, but people are still the weakest link for transforming IT from a support center to an innovation hub of the business. Thus, in order to become “Chief Innovation Officer,” CIOs need to become the “Chief Inclusiveness Officer” first for cultivating the culture of creativity, spotting innovators, creating success stories, and unleashing collective potential to get digital ready.

There is no innovation without inclusiveness:The focus of inclusiveness needs to focus on cognitive differences, skills, abilities and the wealth of ideas. Because creativity is a combination of divergent and convergent thinking. It’s best to bring a group of people together with cognitive differences such as different backgrounds, capabilities, strengths etc., together in order to spark creativity. At individual level, being inclusive means how to broaden the points of interest and try new things to extend your thinking box. Collectively, being inclusive means how to build a fearless and collaborative working environment to spur creativity. Due to complexity and hyperconnectivity nature of digital, there is more collective creativity happening everywhere than many realize. However, in many traditional organizations, their diversity program is only based on the physical identity of people, and their inclusiveness only works at the very low levels of organization. The higher the hierarchy the more homogenous the workforce is. It could be the very reason that many talent/leadership development and innovation initiatives fail to achieve the expected result.

Embed inclusiveness into culture and the business lifecycle:The business leaders must work with the right mindset to create an inclusive organization with every dip in the business lifecycle. It is important for a creative team having people who do not have the same viewpoint of varying issues so that they can complement with each other’s viewpoint. Whether the group of people has an amplified creative ability depends on varying factors such as different intent (positive vs. negative), different talent trait (compliant vs. creative), different working styles (enforcement vs collaboration), or different outcomes (disharmony vs. harmony). Since the value of inclusiveness lies in the contributions of the individual to the organization. One of the aspects of creativity is the environment where individuals or groups need to generate creative results regularly and frequently. Generally speaking, an inclusive working environment can stimulate creativity, amplify creativity effect, and nurture innovation success.



Being inclusive means that the organization should focus on learning new things and how to surge forward in creating success stories: Orienting people and making them aware of the inclusiveness of their organization or team, helps them understand the value of harnessing the unique competency and cognitive difference. It is about how to work in harmony for amplifying collective skills and abilities. Effective communication is also important, since different perspectives, and talent, lead to well-rounded ideas which have to be communicated effectively in order to come up with alternative business solutions. Effective communication also helps to build trust in a dynamic digital and global working environment. To produce a high-performing team, the forward-thinking digital organization needs cognitive differences, levels of capabilities, diverse experiences, the spectrum of skills, unique competencies, complementary perspectives and personalities to build the culture of innovation, create success stories, and unleash business potential ultimately.

Being inclusive is a state of mind, and the prerequisite to build a highly innovative organization. The most innovative business and advanced societies are diverse mixtures of peoples that can spark creativity and amplify innovation effect. Because we can learn a lot from different mindsets with varying thought processes, cultures and positions, so organizations as a whole can be competitive enough to keep surging further and build a dynamic business as the digital powerhouse.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Monthly Digital CIO Spotlight: CIOs as Chief Improvement Officer Dec. 2017

Modern CIOs have many personas and face great challenges.

Modern CIOs have many personas and face great challenges. It is not sufficient to only keep the light on. Regardless of which industry or the nature of organization you are in, being a digital leader will need to master the art of creating unique, differentiating value from piles of commoditized technologies. What are the digital CIO’s next digital practices for leading changes and drive digital transformation effortlessly? Here is the monthly spotlight of the CIO as “Chief Improvement Officer.”
                   
 CIOs as Chief Improvement Officer
  • CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer”: How to Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy to IT management? Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist, who stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs 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 not only for understanding and managing people with empathy but also for providing the insight to the multitude of management discipline. Nowadays, organizations rely more and more on technologies, IT organizations have more and more to offer, it also has a lot of obstacles to overcome for achieving the high level of business maturity. So, CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer”: How to apply Maslow’s hierarchy in IT management
  • CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer”: How to Run IT as the “Digital Energizer” of the Business?? Digital is about hyperconnectivity, change, fierce competition, and people-centricity. A digital business ecosystem is open, fluid, dynamic and energetic because the speed of change is exponentially increasing, and closer to reality is that 'change' is continuously happening in such a dynamic environment of a company. IT plays a crucial role in digital paradigm shift because IT can weave all important business factors into differentiated organizational competency, information is intangible and becomes the most precious business asset in digital businesses. Traditional IT organizations are often perceived as a cost center, money sucker, and change laggard, but modern digital IT organizations today can streamline digital flow, refine, energize, and innovate business to reach the high level of business maturity.

  • CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer”: "Continual improvement" as the Digital IT mantra? CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer” is one of the proper titles IT leaders need to play, and "Continual improvement" is the IT mantra in the digital era; there is never an "enough" to optimize IT operations and do more with innovation. Continuous improvement is by tweaks of things in the old fashion way to bring efficiency. But, even a very small improvement leveraging a new way of doing things, bringing an outside view, shifting the paradigm, to get digital ready.

  • CIOs, Are you the Fiercest Critic to Yourself?: Due to the disruptive nature of technology and exponential growth of information, the role of CIO has to be reinvented for adapting to changes and re-energized for leading digital transformation. Digital CIOs are not just tactical IT managers, they are strategic business executives and inspirational digital visionaries. To lead effectively, the CIO should have both self-awareness and digital awareness: Knowing who you are and how you react and respond to different situations can help you discover the true self, present authenticity, understand leadership substance, stimulate creativity, and build differentiated professional competency. It takes cognitive understanding, courage, and practice. CIOs: Are you the fiercest critic to yourself?

  • CIOs as "Chief Improvement Officer" What are Digital CIOs' Skill Matrix? Due to the disruptive nature of technology and overwhelming growth of information, the role of CIO has to be reinvented for adapting to changes and re-energized for harnessing innovation. Digital CIOs need to develop a broad set of skills beyond technology and have the differentiated competency and recombinant professional capabilities and skills to lead the organization up to the next level of the business maturity. Here is the digital CIO’s skill matrix.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.2 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.

How to Close Blind Spots

“Blind Spot” is not a new topic, everyone has some, but some with more, some with less. The root causes of blinds port are often the people’s mentality such as ego or bias, thought processes such as lack of “whole brain” thinking, or lack of knowledge or insight. The blind spots, either strategic one or operational one, are perhaps inevitable, the point is how business leaders or professionals learn to deal with them and close blindspots seamlessly.

Blind spots are caused by silo thinking and homogeneous team setting: Many organizations are still running at the industrial speed with bureaucratic culture and hierarchical decision-making scenario, the business is the sum of pieces than a holistic whole. Silo mentalities will create numerous blind spots in talent, resources, process, capacity, and capability. Functional silos compete for resources, rather than work collaboratively to optimize businesses. Therefore, it’s important to build high-performance teams with the heterogeneous group setting, complementary skills, and distinctive capabilities in order to fill blind spots, clear business vision, and spur creativity. The company's reputation and success today are founded on innovation and to a very large extent, innovation closes blind spots. The productivity is higher in an innovative organization, and an innovative organization has less blind spots because people do not fear to provide feedback. Creativity is encouraged, and cognitive difference expands the lenses to comprehend the business thoroughly and manage the business seamlessly.

Fast learning and self-control to close blindspots: Continue to see the importance of dealing with blind spots by learning how to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Can you provide calm inquiry clearing the blind spots to help find out what is really happening? Can you see the bigger picture and is not living the day-to-day activities only? Can you always dig through the root cause, not just know the symptom? Can you dispassionately analyze the situation to close blindspot smoothly? Your signal light behavior illustrates the value of maintaining self-control when you face hardships in business or your personal life. Can you ask right questions to spot blind spots? Do you provide calm inquiry clearing the blind spots to help find out what is really happening? Be humble, be patient and learn self-control to close blindspots.

Understand the bigger picture, and not just living the daily activities to close blindspots:  Most teams operate with an incomplete and relatively small view of the world. Thus, too often in an effort to keep moving forward, they jump to the wrong conclusions. To close blindspots, you have to be humble to realize there are many things you know you don’t know and perhaps even more which you don't know what you don't know. Until that happens, you will continue on the lives of blindness. All these together add up to quite a bit, and should really make you desire insight and squash arrogance. As the person that can see the bigger picture and is not living the day-to-day activities, the team needs you to close blindspots! At today’s “VUCA” digital new normal, there isn't always a right or wrong choice in any situation and there are a lot of grays. This makes it very hard to choose a right or wrong from your choices. Thus, it is important to challenge, debate, learn the nature of each other through the aspect of dynamic and respectful dialogs to close blindspots and bridge cognitive gaps.

Whether that be the elimination of obstacles, closing the blind spots, or to provide guidance, it is the attitude plus aptitude, be humble to learn; be hungry for the insight and be skillful to frame the right questions and answer them mindfully. That is the practice to clear the path and accelerate change and progress.

CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: Can you carry the Innovation Ecosystem on your Shoulder?

One of the most critical roles of contemporary CIOs is “Chief Innovation Officer.” Innovation shouldn’t be a serendipity, but a management process. IT can help to weave an enriched innovation ecosystem which enables systematic innovation management, with critical components such as innovation leadership, culture, processes, tools, recognition systems measurements, and risk approach. Each component by itself may not cause a highly innovative environment, but collectively they can catalyze creativity and improve innovation success rate. An innovation ecosystem should fully cover a wide enough direction and embrace the full spectrum of innovation categories. Here are three questions CIOs need to keep asking themselves to ensure they can carry the innovation ecosystem on their shoulder.

WHAT does the organization innovate: To effectively respond to the digital dynamics, companies must begin thinking about ways to broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams while becoming more responsive and innovative. From IT-driven innovation management perspective, an open information platform enables companies to integrate critical components of a smart platform, which is open and powerful only because it allows information exchange and participants involvement, but also because it ensures that interdependencies and loyalties between partners are taken into account and build up a strong innovation engine. Such a powerful innovation platform can further evolve to weave a dynamic innovation ecosystem. Instead of being rigidly grouped around a specific function or business, ecosystems draw together mutually supportive companies from multiple industries that collectively seek to create differentiated ideas and capture value they could not reach alone. Therefore, innovation effort can be scaled up, to solve bigger and tougher problems, and innovation effect can be amplified to touch more people, businesses, industries, and societies. Innovation ecosystem or the methodological environment should cover the whole innovation process, from processes in managing ideas or idea handling systems to idea implementation and promotion. It is a set of means including methods that cover the process from the problem's choice till commercialization.

WHERE should the organization innovate: Due to the increasing pace of changes, innovation can happen anywhere across the organization and its ecosystem. When looking at businesses or organizations, the most powerful innovation navigation system involves tapping the organization's ecosystem for collective perspectives or insights of those who make up and know intimately their parts of the system. Innovation happens in which the business interacts with customers. Focusing on customers' needs should be an easier path to grow the innovation fruit. People-centric innovation is in strong demand because digital is the age of choice. Innovation also happens at the intersection of business and IT. IT needs to proactively work with the business and partners upon the great new digital technologies which can change the business and fuel innovation engine to delight customers and engage employees. IT has a great opportunity here to catalyze innovation and lead business transformation. IT is uniquely positioned to observe processes across the enterprise to connect the innovation dots. Sometimes when one business area has a new product or service that can be used by another, IT leaders can scale up innovation practices and amplify innovation effect.


How to enable the systematic innovation management:
Today’s information technology enables companies to leverage their various environments, or ecosystems, to chase innovation opportunities, take structural innovation approach, and accelerate innovation performance. Innovation needs to lay out different thinking, structures, and solutions to develop in its potential where organizations are combining all that is available to them in imaginative and advantageous ways. Due to the fact that innovating in today’s digital world has become increasingly complex in nature, often, organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. It is important to be able to co-create in a digital ecosystem. A co-creation strategy treats customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active agents who have permission to combine the modular capabilities exposed in a platform to create new experiences or ideas and develop them into full fruity. Every organization needs to develop the tailored innovation practices via leveraging effective technologies, tools or methodologies and apply them wisely with the expertise to really add value or drive innovation. Thus, companies need to invest in IT necessary to advance businesses through either incremental or radical innovation.

The evolution of innovation only exists in the more open environments or the ecosystem that create insight, take advantage of all sources of creativity in a more open way and leap innovation management to the next level.The ultimate innovation isn't what you do; it's what you deliver for results, and how being innovative becomes the state of mind. CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer” should be able to carry innovation ecosystem on their shoulder, build a culture of innovation to encourage free thinking and experimenting, have the right dose of creative tension and healthy competition to spark creativity and expedite innovation.

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Monthly “Digitizing Boardroom” Book Tuning: The Digital Board Profiles Dec. 2017

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, abilities to advise, inspire and motivate a group of people toward accomplishing shared visions and goals. Here is a set of Digital Board profiles. 

             The Digital Board Profiles


  • The Instrumental BoDs Digital means the fast pace of changes, the abundance of information, and fierce competitions. The digital business ecosystem is open, fluid, dynamic and expanding. Due to the “VUCA” digital new normal, the directorship in any organization must have the ability to inspire, guide, motivate, and adapt. In fact, the contemporary board has to play the instrumental role in exemplifying leadership, influencing changes and orchestrating digital transformation.

  • The Corporate Board as Digital Brand Enhancer The Board of Directors is an interactive change agent and influential brand enhancer that represents the organization, stockholders, and senior management. If a Board is to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities to its stakeholders, it needs to take a professional and a structural approach to assessing strategies, prioritizing agendas, advising changes, overseeing risks, monitoring performance, advocating reputation and business brand. The Board of Directors is the top leadership team who can make the great influence on shaping digital mindset and advocating changes. BoDs can also monitor the organizational performance and enforce the business brand via asking the following questions.

  • The BoDs’ Digital Profiles? Due to the “VUCA” digital normality, organizations today have to live up with the business dynamic which is uncertain, ambiguous, complex and flux. Board as high-level governance body plays a crucial role in business advising and monitoring, as well as setting key tones in organizational culture style and leadership quintessential. Corporate boards also need to advocate changes and become the mastermind behind the digital transformation. Hence, today's BoDs need to be insightful, influential, strategic, and highly effective. The best fit for the board depends on the Board’s current makeup and culture and which "gap" needs to be filled. Here is a set of digital BoDs profiles.

  • The Board of Director as “Problem-Definer” The corporate board is one of the most important leadership pillars in modern businesses. In today's work environment, change is happening at a more rapid pace, no one will have all answers, it is important to both frame the right questions and answers them smoothly. At the board level, directorship effectiveness is based on strategy oversight, performance monitoring, and policy making. Often framing the right problems is critical to building the digital board reputation as the insightful “problem-definer,” and invaluable digital mastermind.

  • The “Change Agent” Board of Directors: Change is the only constant, and the speed of change is increasing rapidly. The board directors should become interactive change agents that represent the organization, stockholders, and senior management, make a significant influence on setting digital tones and shaping the digital mindset of the organization, both walk the talk and talk the walk and set the digital tone for others to follow.

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. 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 to human progression.



The New Book “100 Digital Rules - Setting Guidelines to Explore the Digital New Normal” Conclusion The Multitude of Digital Maturity

Digital principles and rules are statements of belief that reflect the values, culture, and real-world concerns of the organization.

Digital transformation is rarely a straight line, It is all about interaction, incrementalism, and innovation. It could mean less restrictive rules or silo setting, but it also means that the guiding digital principles and updated rules become more crucial to be defined as core decision criteria and behavior guidelines.

Digital principles and rules are statements of belief that reflect the values, culture, and real-world concerns of the organization. By following the digital principles and rules, the business lifecycle could be viewed as resulting in emergent means of reorganizing, refocusing, rebalancing resources, and redirecting people to understand the whole, to ultimately achieve the seamless digital flow and high-level digital maturity.

Running IT as the Golden Thread of Digital Transformation

IT transformation is an integral part of the business changes, the linchpin of strategy management, and the golden thread of digital transformation.

Embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the reality. In order to lead change and expedite digital transformation, IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. “Keeping the lights on” is just for openers, an evolving digital IT organization rides above the learning curve to become the business value creator and the golden thread of digital transformation.




IT management must directly link to the strategic direction of the top line business goals: The IT organization should provide guidance, direction, assistance, and support in the application and adoption of information technology solutions enabling business objectives! However, in many companies, there is a disconnect between the business’s strategic goals and IT management focus. Business partners perceive IT as a cost center, or support desk only, because they don’t have a clear picture with quantitative information about contemporary IT value proposition, and thus, lack of knowledge on how critical IT can contribute to the business’s top-line growth and customer satisfaction, and even become the golden thread of digital transformation. CIOs need to make an objective evaluation on how IT can directly contribute to the organization's strategic direction and the top line growth. IT needs to be considered a line of business. IT can become known as a revenue rainmaker by associating its efforts directly with sources of income. Both HW and SW IT assets, either externally acquired or internally developed, must be linked to business services that support the business goals and measure IT contribution to revenue generation.

Identify and trace through the matter by which IT impacts both the business bottom line and top line business growth: CIOs must lead IT in reaching high-level performance. IT management needs to keep doing routine checks such as: How do we get revenues? How will we do in the future? How should IT help the company win businesses? How can IT contribute to customer acquisition and retention? The first thing is to stop calling IT initiative, clarify the business purpose first, profits and ROIs should be the driving force behind any IT effort. Trace through how IT impacts both the business bottom line efficiency and top-line business growth. There are tangible (cost savings, efficiency, etc.) and intangible (brand equity, sales enablement, etc.) components of business value. For CIOs to help the organization generate revenue, they need to get in front of the customers. Looking for solutions which will directly benefit the external end customer will improve the competitive advantage and in-turn bring in increased revenue. Retention of customers/reduction in the churn with better services and experiences provided to the customers will be an indirect way of increasing and maintaining the revenue. Like any other business initiative from another part of the company, developing a compelling strategic business case is especially critical when an initiative is difficult to monetize. IT has to switch its perspective from inside-out operation driven to outside-in business focus and customer-centric. It means to leverage more resources and talent to increase revenue and improve customer satisfaction. Making IT department a profit center is one of the biggest challenges in most organizations. It is important to measure and validate ROIs, to be as comprehensive as possible in monetizing costs flows.


Information and knowledge can be tapped in monetizing an IT-driven business initiative’s benefits flow: CIOs will contribute to revenue generation when they are part of the senior executives' team responsible for the strategy making and revenue targets. IT understands deeply the value chain of business, value chain of the industry segment and value chain of the business ecosystem where it competes. Generally speaking, IT value is demonstrated through the rate of employee productivity increases, the rate of new product development increase, the rate of market share gains, the rate of customer satisfaction and retention improvement, and the rate of sales gains, etc. Information Management today can capture the real-time business insight and customer foresight for discovering the new areas which contribute to the business growth, or spot the opportunities to increase revenues, and to innovate in the way certain tasks are automated with the help of technologies that allow the business to put a significant portion of resources and talent in innovation management. IT is no longer just that isolated function, IT management has to work both in IT and on IT, the true value is created at the intersection of many disciplines. There should also be a strong interaction of different functional management and their teams with feedback mechanisms and willingness to work on IT-enabled revenue-enhancement initiatives and find solutions that can support both the business need and build any ROI required to justify the business case and enable IT-driven innovation benefit flow.

IT-driven digital exploration is all about planning, investing, designing, developing, operating, consolidating, integrating, securing, modernizing, optimizing, balancing, and orchestrating. IT organization has to lift its maturity from a cost center to a strategic business partner and a profit maker. IT transformation is an integral part of the business changes, the linchpin of strategy management, and the golden thread of digital transformation.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 12/8/2017

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.





  • Enhance Digital CIO Personas with Enriched Leadership Portfolio Overall speaking, CIO is the leadership role, how CIOs provide the appropriate leadership and how they convey to leverage IT for the business value depends on the CIOs' vision and leadership strength and style. With increasing pace of changes and fast growing information, clearly, the role of IT and that of the CIO is going through significant changes. Because every company is in the different stage of the business growth lifecycle, thus, every CIO is different and whatever the management team needs or wants at the time out of the CIO will also be different, and by the type of business needs will be different. Thus, the CIO role needs to be continually reimagined, refreshed, and reinvented.


  • The Corporate Board as Digital Brand Enhancer The Board of Directors is an interactive change agent and influential brand enhancer that represents the organization, stockholders, and senior management. If a Board is to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities to its stakeholders, it needs to take a professional and a structural approach to assessing strategies, prioritizing agendas, advising changes, overseeing risks, monitoring performance, advocating reputation and business brand. The Board of Directors is the top leadership team who can make the great influence on shaping digital mindset and advocating changes. BoDs can also monitor the organizational performance and enforce the business brand via asking the following questions.


  • Three Styles of Innovation Leaders The leadership in any organization must have the ability to guide, inspire, innovate, and motivate a group of people toward accomplishing shared visions and goals. Innovative leadership is essentially anchored on the leader's overall multifaceted resourcefulness and multidimensional competencies to formulate creative alternatives or unconventional solutions to resolve problems, to show versatility and flexibility in response to unpredictable or unanticipated business circumstances.


  • Three Radical Management Shift for Making a Leap of Digital Transformation Digital makes a profound impact from a specific function to the business as a whole, digital transformation is not a single dimensional technology adoption, but a radical management shift and multifaceted business expansion. The purpose of such radical digitalization is to make a significant difference in the overall levels of business performance and organizational maturity


  • The New Book Preview "100 Digital Rules: Setting Guidelines To Explore Digital New Normal"Digital businesses today are facing fierce competitions, unprecedented uncertainty, and velocity. There is a classic fable about a lion and a gazelle to analogize such a "surviving and thriving cycles." The lion wakes up and starts running, otherwise it will not catch lunch. The gazelle does the same but, in this case, to avoid becoming lunch. Either way, you have to move to survive and accelerate to thrive.

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 New Book “100 Digital Rules - Setting Guidelines to Explore the Digital New Normal” Chapter 5 Digital Transformation Rules

Accelerate digital transformation is to help people feel more comfortable with chaos, uncertainty, ambiguity, and develop creative capacity.


The emergent digital technologies and tools help to break of silo paradigms and loosen overly restricted structure. Digital workplace is fluid, live, creative, and productive.

The digital organization should set the guidelines and rules to empower employees at all levels within an organization to unlock creativity, understand and develop their creative capacity to solve problems and exploit opportunities in new and innovative ways.

CIOs as “Change Agents” How to Walk the Talk Effortlessly?

Change in and of itself is never the reason. Change is an ongoing business capability.

Forward-thinking companies across the industries reinvent IT as the change organization. However, the best technology can’t ensure victory. Do CIOs have the required mindset and skillset to drive change? Do they have the charisma to get buy-in either from the business or from current IT staff? Can they “walk the talk,” to lead change effortlessly?

Achieve the business buy-in: Change is a dance between the top management and the affected parts of the organization. One of the first things a CIO must do in a transformation initiative of this magnitude is to ask the business for help. Running a highly responsive IT organization needs to get support via front desks to boardrooms. CIOs should be able to talk with business unit leaders, selling them on the challenges and the vision for the future. Change Management has to maintain and fix any imbalance by involving the executives across functions and take a structural approach, to make sure all of the management is on board and educated well on the change objectives and how to carry them out effectively. The change effort will fail if the business units are unwilling to invest resources and accept a "period of pain" where service levels may be adversely impacted. Many CIOs graduate from IT management where their job was to maintain. The transition from a maintenance mindset to changing mindset is a stretch for some IT leaders, but it's crucial to reinvent the tarnished IT reputation in order to get digital ready. CIOs need to be open to a new perspective, willing to adapt to new skillsets to the demands of evolving technologies or adapt their role to the evolving business requirements for technologies. Change Management and strategy management go hand-in-hand. The IT leader needs to focus with his or her peers by putting together a solid IT Management Framework that matches the needs of the business, have a supportive management team, embed change mechanism into IT management processes, and let his/her management team execute.

Delight customers from outside-in: Change is not for its own sake, it is IT responsibility to identify opportunities for business transformation wherever analysis and assessment indicate the potential benefits of transformation efforts, to satisfy customers, and to catalyze business transformation. Digital is the age of customers, delighting customer is the other dimension to speed up IT transformation from inside-out to outside-in. Technology is being leveraged every day to enhance customer experiences, this will provide a competitive advantage for the business, keep their loyal customers, and expand their customer base. IT needs to champion intuitive and easy to use customer tailored solutions to achieve specified goals and optimize customer experience in a continuous delivery way. The IT organization is in the right position to orchestrate business changeability (people change, process change and technology change), to have a good understanding from a strategic perspective of the organization (structure, processes, locations, drivers, objectives, goals, applications, data, technologies.), in order to build a people-centric organization for either delighting customers or engaging employees.


Make change deliverables continually: There are radical changes and incremental changes. Big change requires participants to understand the "why" and for leaders to clearly communicate the goals, expectations and success criteria and to hold managers accountable. Change requires tools, training, and practices in order for the participants to feel comfortable that the service level they provide will continue or improve with the same or reduced effort. There are significant change deliverables that must be tied to all change plans. The changes delivered could be incremental via training, transitional via improving a process, or transformational if it is fundamentally shifting the entire business model of an organization. You must show change 'progress' as you go along so the business can justify the IT investment. Your deliverables are actually phases of activities, which act to keep your attention on the right places. These change activities will progressively prepare people for moving to a new way of working. A big challenge is for the managers to change their own behaviors to allow their teams to do the change that is needed,

Change in and of itself is never the reason. Change is an ongoing business capability. Many organizations are at the strategic inflection point of the digital transformation, it is the broader and longer journey with many leaps and jumps, bumps and curves, perils and pitfalls on the way. Change Management needs to be a mechanism embedded in the multitude of IT management. And CIOs have to become the change agents to walk the talk effortlessly.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Corporate Board as Digital Brand Enhancer

The BoDs can become the corporate brand advocate and enhancer via pulling enough resources and pushing the business model of technology, trustworthiness, and innovation.

The Board of Directors is an interactive change agent and influential brand enhancer that represents the organization, stockholders, and senior management. If a Board is to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities to its stakeholders, it needs to take a professional and a structural approach to assessing strategies, prioritizing agendas, advising changes, overseeing risks, monitoring performance, advocating reputation and business brand. The Board of Directors is the top leadership team who can make the great influence on shaping digital mindset and advocating changes. BoDs can also monitor the organizational performance and enforce the business brand via asking the following questions.

What are you trying to accomplish? Digital means to break down the past and lead toward the future with a quantum leap. The corporate board plays a critical role in setting guidelines, envisioning the future of the business, overseeing business strategy, monitoring performance, practicing governance, as well as enforcing business reputation and brand management. Corporate branding includes how to develop a set of practices for promoting the brand name of a corporate entity. The corporate board can contribute to brand enhancement as a coherent effort of overseeing the business vision and strategy. An ultra-modern board can set a clear choice among future scenarios that advocate advancement and promote the organizational brand and encourage positive behaviors. It is important to envision “To-Be” state first because it creates a paradigm shift in digital management discipline. When building the future state, make sure that you break it down into looking at the ideal future first, which brand will you build? Customer-centricity, innovation champion or leading with speed? By envisioning “To-Be” state and clarifying brand core, the board and business management can work together to communicate a clear message down to the different level of organization and ensure the entire business working in the same direction for strategy management, digitally connect key resources and assets in the context for brand building.

Are you on the right path?
For successful branding, basically, the BoDs can make a comprehensive list of the organization’s strengths, weaknesses, goals, and objectives, do “SWOT” analysis, add “trends” for zooming into the future more clearly, monitoring the corporate performance and discovering business potential closely. The first thing board members need to do, is to have or gain the experience and expertise to know with some certainty how the business of the corporation is conducted. They have to leverage information to predict, bring up the outlier’s viewpoint to see things differently. Boards must continually evaluate the management team to determine if the right strategy and culture are thriving in the organization and to proactively drive the future growth of the business and build a strong corporate brand. Board directors need to be able to guide senior management team through effective questioning, coaching, advising, and assessment of the business strategy, vision statement, and brand message. The real challenge is to understand where and how you can and should improve to get the biggest effect and scale up across the digital ecosystem effortlessly. Focus on what the proposed initiative will be doing and ensure they are on the right path to achieve the expected goals and build a solid business brand.

Is “what you look” consistent with “who you are”: The corporate brand is the consistent image the organization present to its customers, employees, business partners or other stakeholders. Not only when they walk into your store, interact with your product and speak to your staff, but also when they get in contact via multiple purchasing channels. The entire customer journey and experience they have of your brand at each stage needs to be mapped out clearly to be sure that your customer is getting the best service, and that their experience is consistent, on-brand, relevant and refreshing. Thus, the corporate culture plays an important role in building a consistent business brand. Culture is 'established' by those at the top, the corporate board, as well as the top leadership team, for setting the tone of the corporate culture. A cohesive culture creates team synergy, catalyze digital transformation and improve overall organizational maturity. The board of directors needs to verify: Do you have all (if possible) audiences at every level of enterprise weighed-in with delight to build a brand? What’s in customers’ mind when they think about your brand? Or do you ever have a brand? The commitment is that we are all in this together and have our passions focused on a goal with a cohesive leadership to build a strong business brand. Culture and brand have an intricate relationship. Culture becomes the way you discover yourselves, do business to delight customers. It is your brand promise.

The board of directors role affects most through collective mindsets, congruent behaviors, continuous endorsement of the change and regular communication to keep the momentum. A digital-ready board has the advantage of pulling enough resources and pushing the business model of technology, trustworthiness, prepare and launch change, innovation, and become the corporate brand advocate and enhancer.

The New Book “100 Digital Rules - Setting Guidelines to Explore the Digital New Normal” Chapter IV Problem-Solving Rules

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


Fundamentally, every work is to deal with problems big or small both from long-term perspectives or on the daily basis.

To close the problem-solving capability gap, it is important to keep sharpening problem-solving skills, always dig under the surface, and build a great reputation as either problem-framer or problem-solver.