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.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Gaps” Book Tuning: Gap Minding Leadership Apr. 2018

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

The Digital CIO as the Gap Minding Role? Nowadays, information is permeating into every corner of the business and technology is often the disruptive force of digitalization. The CIO is not a static management role, but a dynamic leadership role due to the changing nature of technology and overwhelming growth of information. Especially now more and more enterprises are leveraging IT for revenue-generating initiatives. The IT leader of the future and the exemplars of today must move away from pure IT manager, and become a trustful business partner and an insightful strategist to bridge the gap between IT and business, and between the industrial age and the digital era, The important component of IT leadership success has to do with the definition or scope of the role that the CIO is playing and the profundity of IT leadership influence

Gap Minding Leadership Practices in Digital Boardroom? Digitalization makes the business flatter and the world smaller because of its nature of hyper-connectivity and interdependence. Competition at the leading edge of business is also becoming fiercer at the age of digitalization and globalization. Thus, successful companies need to grow and innovation is no longer "nice to have," but must have business competency. The corporate board plays a critical role in setting policies for innovation and exemplifying leadership influence. Thus, foresightful BoDs should always look for the complementary mindsets, diverse experiences, and differentiated skillsets so that collectively, they can avoid groupthink, make sound judgments, provide innovative advice and mind leadership gaps to ensure the boardroom digital ready. ?

Three “G” Factors in Innovators? Creativity is an innate ability to create naval ideas. Creativity is, by nature, unique to each person. Being innovative is a state of mind. There is no template which you can apply and suddenly have a creative workforce. It must be done slowly, experimentally, patiently, and individually. Either for individuals or businesses, creativity is a long-term endeavor. It must be cultivated. The best way to foster creativity is to help people communicate in a way that instills confidence, not fear; rejuvenate passion, not routine; inspire thinking differently, not “command and control.” Here are three “G” factors in innovators.?

The New Book “Digital Gaps” Chapter 2 Introduction: Digital Leadership Gaps Digital means hyperconnectivity, fierce competition, and “VUCA” digital normality. Successful companies need to keep growing and innovating, and developing the next generation of leadership is one of the best ways to do that. The variety of management studies shows that there are significant leadership gaps for both innovation management and management innovation, as well as the radical digital transformation. The traditional cookie-cutting matching leadership development approach more possibly lands a homogeneous follower, cannot discover an authentic leader. And traditional talent pool is too static, limited and not dynamic enough to select authentic, creative, and energetic digital leaders who can lead more effectively in today’s complex global business environment. The change needs to come from the top to amplify its influence. If you are not taking steps now to shrink that leadership gaps, you will not be prepared to lead the digital business in the future. But more specifically, how to identify and close digital leadership gaps in order to improve leadership effectiveness and maturity?

Three Traits to Bridge Digital and Global Leadership Gaps We are at the age of digital dawn, now the physical barriers can no longer be the walls to separate people from communicating and sharing knowledge and insight, are we on the way to recognize the best of the best, or simply blend the variety of perspectives into the new ideas and solutions, and more critically, what are emergent traits to bridge global leadership gaps, and develop the new generation of digital leaders and managers who can gain respect, win hearts and minds not just locally, but globally?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #4500th 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 can CIOs Shift their Focus to Avoid Becoming “Chief Irrelevant Officer”

More often than not, technology is the catalyst for driving business change and digital transformation, information is the lifeblood of the business. The expectations for CIO have grown multi-fold, and they are expected to be visionary and path-finder for organizational strategy and growth. How should CIO shift their focus to improve leadership effectiveness and how can CIOs prioritize the limited time and resources to ascend IT maturity?


From inside-out to outside-in: Today’s organizations are at a crossroads where the segregation or silo of business units are at a need to reach across the aisles and respectively work with each other. IT needs to switch its focus from inside-out to outside-in. The concentration should be on what these technologies can do for the businesses, not on the technology itself. This is particularly important for IT because it is an integrator to glue silos to the whole. Information does not live alone but permeates to everywhere in the businesses, thus, the value of information is not isolated. The best IT leaders and managers always have a strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and how it could be better with 360 degrees of business view. Information Management is no longer just IT’s business, but the business of the entire company. CIOs are in a unique position and opportunity to lead with information in the corporate ecosystem. Even go one step further, the top digital CIO understands what current technology innovations can add business value and transfer this to the business for the next level of business growth. CIOs must devote their time and energy, understand the business and the potential of digital technologies to improve customer experiences, optimize business processes and work with senior executives to develop new digital enabled business models. The CIO needs to understand the needs of the different business units, and take those needs and translate them into an IT investment to support that vision. Develop and socialize a strategic business plan that aligns both business strategies and technical direction. As a result, you'll have an IT organization that is viewed as a business partner that always adds business value and becomes the business. To improve organizational maturity, IT needs to relentlessly optimize business capabilities, processes, and cost, to manage business complexity and achieve strategic goals.

From command & control to empower and influence: Traditional CIOs are often perceived as the controller to run IT as a gatekeeper, sometimes slow to change. However, digital CIOs need to shift their leadership style from “command & control” to empower and influence, they can communicate effectively with all levels of the organization, has a solid grasp of the business goals and objectives, can think globally and holistically and take systematic approaches to solve business problems. Communication is important, however, what is even more important is the ability to connect, inspire and motivate; the ability to help people achieve their goals and objectives; the ability to help people overcome their challenges and more importantly, the ability to help people navigate through difficult change. The problem of IT skill gaps should be seen as an opportunity, especially as more and more organizations are seeing IT as an enabler and driver of generating revenues. It is important to hire really bright, energetic, positive people to build the culture of innovation, and it’s important to leverage the emergent digital pipelines and experiment the new way to do performance management.

From “doing more with less” to “Doing more with innovation”:
Making IT department an innovation engine and profit center is one of the biggest challenges in most of the organizations because it requires strategic thinking and creativity from innovative IT leaders. The issue many IT departments have is they think innovation is implementing the latest and greatest technology rather than using advances in technology or existing technology differently to provide innovative solutions for business now and in the future. CIOs generally have a greater opportunity to stand out and take a lead in driving innovation across their companies. CIOs need to be more people-centric, and run IT as a software company, as they manage applications as products/services, with incentives on how much revenue they generate, on customer satisfaction and retention. Customers should be the center of innovation management and they are the major focus for innovation process and accomplishment. From IT leadership perspective, The CIO could be the perfect role to help manage innovation with disciplines and the right tools (such as collaborative platform, analytics tools., etc) at the organizational scope. CIOs are also in a unique position to align process, technology, and people, from generating ideas on applying technology and data assets to drive value. The oversight is needed in managing innovation lifecycle. As a CIO, you need to clarify what the organization’s expectation from IT through an innovation lens, overcome “We always do things like that” mentality, reinvent the corporate processes to build innovation as a differentiated digital capability. CIOs need to become Chief Innovation Officers to run IT as innovation engine; otherwise, you will become Chiefly Irrelevant Officers.

In short, to keep IT relevant and reinvent IT as a strategic business partner, the CIO needs to talk like and actually delivers as a business executive who is also great communicators not only understand multiple ‘languages’ but also know the business context and always bring the unique insight to the table. When the CIO’s voice gets heard by the broad base of audiences, that will improve the visibility and transparency of IT, help IT become more integrated and aware of the organization as a whole, improve IT maturity as the business growth engine, innovation hub, and trust partner of the business.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Monthly “100 Creativity Ingredients” Book Tuning: Practice Creativity on the Daily Basis Apr 2018

Whenever you are open to something new to come to the fore you are being creative.

All humans are born with raw creativity ability. Creativity has many dimensions, with multi-faceted truth and myth, manifold knowledge and multidimensional insight. Creativity is wings of our mind and tempo of our heartbeat. Creativity is a constructive disruption, not so bad addiction, and a sensational phenomenon. The purpose of “100 Creativity Ingredients - Everyone’s Playbook to Unlock Creativity “is to classify, scrutinize, articulate, and share insight about one hundred special creativity ingredients, to paint the picture with them, add colors on them, embed the music into them, make the story via them, and more importantly, exercise your creativity muscle on the daily basis, in order to unleash collective creativity potential.                

Practice Creativity on the Daily Basis


How to Flex your Creativity Muscle via Daily Practices? Creativity is an innate ability to generate novel ideas. If you consider being creative as a way of thinking, of imagining, of expression, of perceiving things, of inventing, of inspiring, etc, then it happens every day, multiple times a day. Creativity is innate, it could become a healthy habit or even a positive addiction. Creativity is the #1 professional skill needed in the 21st century, how to flex your creativity muscle via daily practices?

The New Book “100 Creativity Ingredients” Conclusion: Unlock Creativity via Daily Practices? Creativity becomes significantly important in the digital age with the advanced technologies because the digital workforce of the future will not be mere automatons, but continue to discover, explore, and improve the surroundings. As the matter of fact, creativity is one of the most wanted professional qualities in the digital age. Hence, it is important to set your own principles, practice, practice, and practice more to unleash the abundance of creativity.

Practice Three Things Which Cannot be Taught Completely The digital era has the “VUCA” characteristics: Velocity, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. We are living in a complex world where inventions, developments, and conflicts are continuously changing and that makes it impossible to have a complete knowledge and understanding of any issue individually. Therefore, today’s contemporary digital leaders and professionals must keep learning, adapting, innovating, and practicing on the daily basis for developing differentiated competency. Here are three things which cannot be taught completely, it is both nature and nurtured, and it takes the practice, practice, and practice more to be fluent.

The Principles and Practices to Encourage Creativity As businesses get more cut-throat in the face of fierce competitions and unprecedented changes, this puts stress on the labor force that is not conducive to creative, experimental thinking. As a business leader, what are the common solutions to encourage creativity? Will you allow people to make mistakes? Spend time on something with no guarantee of ROIs? Work on what interests them? Which type of work activities, roles, industries, require great deals of creativity? 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? Doesn't the real solution to innovation, creativity begin with inquiry? Would it not be prudent to focus on ensuring all levels of the organization are well founded on asking learning questions?

How to Build a Creative Workplace and Workforce?
We generally have a very narrow view of creativity conceding it to artists. If you look closely at your own experience, likely you will find your own special way of being creative. Whenever you are open to something new to come to the fore you are being creative. It is a state of openness where you set aside what you think you know. You step out of your logical thinking minds to create something new; or more often, you blend different types of thinking processes to see things differently. More specifically, where does creativity come from, and how to tap your creative potential?

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. 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 Performance Dashboard of Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is a journey. A performance dashboard is a support decision instrument, gives instantaneous information about the organization's main drivers and decisions to be made.

Forward-looking organizations are on the journey of digital transformation. You can’t manage it if you can’t measure it. A well-designed dashboard is an effective management tool for enabling business leaders to make better decisions and lead change in the right direction. A well-designed digital management dashboard is an easy to read, often single page, real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status (snapshot) and historical trends of an organization’s key performance indicators to enable instantaneous and informed decisions to be made at a glance. A digital performance dashboard helps capture the progress being made or the important issues need to be taken care of, with the goal to improve management effectiveness.

The “essential” information presented in the dashboard has a clear alignment to the digital strategy that the audience is trying to execute or manage: A good start of a performance dashboard is to clarify business strategy, determine the main KPIs, analyze if the data is available and of good quality. It helps the management to align the operational activities with the strategic goals of the business. Digital organizations need to expand the capacity by improving operation efficiency and effectiveness with the KPIs to resolve problems. The very goal of digitalization is to improve business effectiveness, efficiency, and overall organizational maturity. Therefore, the effective measurement selected should be part of a link of cause-and-effect relationships. It needs to measure the organizational efficiency, productivity. operating expenses, on-time delivery, inventory, write-off, quality, levels, or capacity planning. When those operational tasks are accomplished and measured well, the financial objectives and ultimately, the strategic value of the business can be realized seamlessly and visualized persuasively.

The continuous performance management dashboard is to track in monthly basis the performance against the company results: Digital is the age of continuous delivery. The corporate performance management also needs to do the similar adjustment, from static, unidirectional and time-bound avatar to a more dynamic, continuous, and interactive state. The idea is to get away from the annual event based on stale data and poor record keeping. How about making real-time appraisals that take place consistently and can be tracked accordingly. The bottom line of return on investment (ROI) should be achieved and can be measured if there is a marked improvement in reducing/streamlining the processes, and managing the risks to an acceptable level by the enterprise management oversight. Map benefit/cost, progress status to business transformation initiatives. The performance dashboard will not only have a performance and goal review but also guarantee the alignment with corporate goals.

The effective performance dashboard with the appropriate visual design provides a brief but clear view about the most critical or pressuring management issues: It allows users to examine and perceive a large amount of information very quickly and use them to see the big picture or to identify any items that deserve attention and further analysis. Dashboards have to show dense business information on small spatial space that communicates unambiguously, simply and rapidly. If the user cannot understand what he/she is seeing at a glance, then something is surely wrong. Visualizing actionable data is meaningless if no one can see it act upon. They should be brief enough to keep focusing on the most strategic business initiatives and the most crucial information for making effective decisions. Because the trick is that the more information you expect to include in your first launch of a dashboard, the more you risk, both in terms of delayed implementation and in terms of loss of buy-in from stakeholders if the data quality is low. The intuitive visualization is also important factors in making execution dashboard user-friendly, minimize the overall number of metrics to share the logical business flow.

Digital transformation is a journey. A performance dashboard is a support decision instrument, gives instantaneous information about the organization's main drivers and the progress being made. Well defining the right set of metrics will never be an easy job, but always keep in mind of the “SIMPLICITY” principles, and do not confuse the means with the end.

Three Horizons of Innovation

Innovation needs to become a “living process," with frequent evaluations, listening, and revision.

There is a rapid shift in digital paradigm. We are more creative and innovative than ever. There are all sorts of innovation and different flavors of digital innovation. Innovation is risky and most companies want to minimize risk versus taking intelligent risks. Most companies would never take a huge leap even with the enticement of a huge payback. The innovative appetite and aptitude decide the future of the business. Here are three innovation horizon.

Incremental Innovation: Innovation is a nonlinear process involving non-stable processes. Innovation needs to become a “living process," with frequent evaluations, listening, and revision. Innovation like most aspects of learning is best started with small frequent improvements within any organization. Generally, incremental innovation brings short-term value additions or competitive advantage but takes less risk. Incremental innovation and continuous innovation are overlapping. if your stakeholders are internal process owners and your output stakeholders are the same, the type of innovation you have is Continuous Innovation. Innovation is a management process, thus, organizations have to keep tuning the process to make idea flows, improve the success rate of idea implementation. Incremental innovation is important to build the culture of innovation, build the business capacity for innovation, and create the “atmosphere” with innovation as a new normal.

Evolutionary or sustainable innovation: It is about how to manage incremental innovation in a structural way to make the continuous delivery. This requires an effective 'innovation system' that is capable of managing and sustaining both widespread incremental innovation and ways of working as well as the rarer 'step-change' innovation in products/services/process, working methodology, business model, market positioning, as well as “soft management innovations,” such as leadership, communication, culture, etc., innovation. If you take knowledge from one context and bring it over into a new context you have knowledge or technology transfer innovation. Without innovation, without collective human progress. Hence, innovation managers should create a sense of urgency to stretch up, have a bigger innovation appetite, and take the time to ride innovation curve. That also includes the effort to scale innovation and amplify innovation impact. There is a delicate balance of breaking down the overly rigid structure to experiment and tuning efficient processes for managing innovation. The broader the scope, scale, and impact of the innovation, the more one leans towards calling such innovation evolutionary and sustainable.

Radical or breakthrough Innovation: Breakthrough innovation is disruptive, with high return and high risks. Breakthrough Innovation is disruptive and will change your organization in many fields. You need new technologies, new processes, new customers, new knowledge may be a new business model. All that makes them very risky but on the other hand, you will get very great chances and opportunities for new product lines, platforms etc. The differentiation between incremental and breakthrough innovation relates to the degree to which a particular innovation changes the competitive landscape, potentially making entire industries obsolete, as digital photography did to the film industry. Radical/Breakthroughs/Transformational Innovations are not something everyone can accomplish. You have to systematically develop the capability to execute it successfully, and that is something you do not accomplish overnight.

The gap between incremental and radical is huge both in terms of outcomes if successful and on how to approach it: Because most of the radical innovations need a lot of time to launch into the market. Therefore, most of the organizational culture, especially in large companies are not inclined to radical innovation. Large companies are much better at incremental innovation than at radical innovation. They have lots of potentials and also the better chances for the success of the evolutionary innovation. The realities of corporate life don't allow companies to spend all their resources on radical innovation, because of the high percentage of risks to fail. You cannot “disrupt” without incremental innovation being part of the process. However, on the other side, the challenge of leading and managing innovation is an overly conservative approach itself, focusing on individual line extension renovation rather than developing a broader portfolio. It perhaps limits the organizational capability to only focus on small incremental innovation and fail to result in significant step changes and revenue opportunities by evolutional innovation and breakthrough innovation.

How to manage a balanced innovation portfolio depends on the nature and size of the business Generally speaking. companies should have a balanced portfolio of innovation management composed of ~70% of "incremental" innovations, ~20% of "adjacent" and ~10% of "radical/breakthrough innovation" Obviously, the precise ratio is dependent on the age/size of the company.  The "three-horizon innovation strategy" is the name for this approach.

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 2.5 million 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 BoDs share ‘deep common sense,’ leadership proficiency, strategic viewpoint, growth cycle balance, creativity, progressiveness for leading digitalization effortlessly.

The beauty of the digital landscape is the fresh insight of business. The digital paradigm is an emerging 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. 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. There is no doubt that 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. From the top down, 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 systematic view of Information Technology helps the management understand IT as a living system for moving the business to a dynamic, iterative, integral, and interactive digital flow. 

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 an innovation hub of the company and a change department of the business. How to leverage Systems Thinking (ST) view for running IT as a “living system” to catalyze business growth and drive 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. Or in some cases, 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 can create or multiply the business value and maximize its 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, improves employee engagement and optimizes 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.