Welcome to our website. Open forum to discuss global thought leadership, Tao of IT Leadership .

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 best practicing the Tao of IT leadership: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What does Being Authentic Mean?

The issue of authenticity has been considered and written about for decades (if not centuries), yet it continues popping up as an issue/problem/requirement, is it an unresolvable issue? What does being authentic mean?

Being authentic is defined as being real or genuine. But what does "real" mean? To what standard are we being genuine? First and foremost, remove the filter of your biases in your vision. By doing so, you will be able to perceive the authentic identity of the other person. Go with what you know and be open to learn from those you lead. Leading is only possible when you truly know yourself. Who you are and why? Daring to start to find an answer on this question enables anybody to lead one selves and possibly others. Defining your true purpose is helpful instrument to guide yourself (your team, your business, your relations) along the other dimensions. It is your heart that ultimately contributes to a better world.

Consistency - words, behaviors, advice, how you treat others, and so on. Being consistent during the good and tough moments is difficult for leaders as they advance in their career. Being authentic means being true to that in every aspect: thinking, saying and doing. If this standard is internalized then it should guide behavior. If it is not internalized but being implemented anyway, and one's thoughts and beliefs are not in consonance with this standard, then the individual's behavior will not be true to that standard ... it will not be genuine. This dissonance will eventually become apparent.

Discover the strength and uniqueness: The next step is investigating what’s your strength, your passion: defining your task, things you want to do and do better than others. Leadership is complex yet simple. Complex in that there are so many traits and characteristics that are considered when evaluating a leader. The emphasis is on trying to determine which competencies/skills should be used in which combination and with what level of weight for each, for every different situation. The simplicity comes from knowing that leadership is about the futre. If we all act based on our hearts, follow the golden rule and do what we think is right for the good of others, we will be respected for that, will be trusted and will earn the title of leader.

Learn self awareness, engage in reflective practice: Indeed it is at two-level reflection: (i) personally- who are you and what is happening in your life that influences your work. To be "authentic" and genuine first and foremost, ensuring that your voice and actions are in synchronization by combined action, endurance, and with the right spirit. This must be relevant  within boundaries to maintain professionalism in the organization.  (ii) professionally- how can you take leadership to achieve organizational success. One of the most important things leaders can do for those they wish to lead is to work towards emotional connections with those they wish to influence. The leader creates the vision, the mission, the objective, the goal, whatever one wishes to call it. It is then the leaders’ responsibility to frame a story around that vision that people can relate to and feel connected with. It's the age old adage of followers wanting to know 'What's in it for me?' or 'How will I benefit from this effort?' This does not necessarily refer strictly to subordinates either. A leader can exist at all levels of an organization, therefore a manager may have to frame a story around a specific objective so their Director chooses to follow the recommendation.

It seems everyone who considers authenticity has his or her own view of it. It is a construct formed in the mind and we know that the mind of every individual is different, the actual mental understanding and subsequent manifestations in action will be different for each individual. One cannot universally ascribe real world consequences to a construct, in this case authenticity, as it will be unique to each individual.

Five-Step Decision-making Scenario

One of the most important tasks for management is to make decisions, however, across the sectors, many business leaders still make “gut feeling” only decision all the time, what’re the logical scenario to make effective decisions? Technically, how shall you weigh in the data and gut feeling to make the effective decision at the right time?

(1) Framing the question: The key decision factor is how you frame the issue (to be decided on), another factor needing more attention is WHO makes the decision. The big “WHY” as the framing question is in rigorous pursuit of its answers. One has to realize context, motivation, structure, and longevity. No one word is more powerful than "WHY" in pursuit of vision and solution to the problems. Define and clarify the issue - does it warrant action? Next define if the matter urgent, important or both. Does your decision making process include opportunities? Opportunities need to identified as well and you need to know they fit with your strategy, be them growth, cost focus, market development strategies

(2) Gather all relevant available information: First prerequisite is to recognize your own frame of reference prior to making any decision. If you do not recognize the lens through which you make sense of the world around, you are unknowingly captive to your own predispositions.Achieving this awareness through serious self-reflection, frees you from the habitualized 'scripts,' and allows you to see new possible options before decisions are made. Hence, collecting necessary information is an important step in making objective decision. The data gathering step is heavily driven by many factors to ensure teams aren't spending a lot of time or effort gathering information that is not necessary for the decision at hand. What exactly is the decision to be made and what are the key factors that will drive that choice? Any other information can be a lot of noise. The more important the decision, the more you need to have all the data, perform all the preparation, increase of confidence of success, but the search for perfection is the enemy of decision-making. The more perfection you seek, the more you risk falling into the trap of analysis-paralysis. So it’s important to take your decision as a calculated risk..

(3) Brainstorm possible options and solutions: Consider and compare the advantages and disadvantages of all options. Select the best option - avoid vagueness or indecisiveness. The thing however that the human brain cannot do, is to do a comparative assessment of many decision criteria - both quantitative and subjective, concurrently across many options, initiatives or programs etc, but the advanced decision intelligence tools can help. When leveraging the tool weighing trade offs, it's important that the team has determined the relative importance of each factor. One alternative may have a lot more strengths than another, but all those strengths together may not be nearly as important as the 1 or 2 strengths that another alternative has. So effective decision making needs to well blend both information and intuition; think fast and slow accordingly.

(4) Explain the decision to stakeholders involved and affected: When landing on the final choice, ask questions like:
- What can you do to mitigate the risks/weaknesses that you've identified in this choice?
- If you cannot mitigate or remove those risks, are you still willing to move ahead with this choice?
-What are the possible outcomes of making this choice, and how to handle different scenario.
The business clients might not be interested in the actual technical details as to how analytics generates insights for decision making, but the actual measurable results should always be able to win over believers.

(5) Follow up to ensure proper and effective implementation: Once you make a decision, then you must take action - or you really have accomplished nothing towards solving the challenge that faces you and your organization. So the further questions are needed to keep track of actions and results: ‘Who is to take action?' 'How will we know the action is completed?' and 'What is the consequence of not taking action’? And the proper set of metrics will help present the tangible results via action taken, also make it possible to improve the future decision making.

Digital business is complex and uncertain, decision making is more often a complex scenario. Think fast, think slow. Decision making is the discipline cross the art and science; gut feeling and data driven; confidence and humility; and more often than now, it takes both multi-disciplinary knowledge and light bulb type intuition to make effective decisions.

CIO as a New Leader: How can you Learn and Lead Effectively?

When a new CIO just takes the role with passion and excitement to start an adventure, however, it is also very critical time frame to use with due diligence to communicate openly, demonstrate strategic business & IT leadership, and make a plan accordingly.As a leader: how can you learn and lead effectively?

What a new CIO wanted from the business or institution walking in the door. First, each of the senior managers must agree on what the job is, including: What exactly is the job description? What are the two or three things most critical for success in the first twelve months?; and how often will you evaluate progress against those goals? There are too many things new leaders need to learn:
-Learn about the culture of the place. Do you fit, or better to be “mistfit” for leading as change agent?
-Know why the CIO is important to the CXOs. Are you on the same page?
-Are you on equal political and power position with the other C class senior officers?
-Are you a business process and institutional leader or technology manager only?
-How do other senior officers define your value?
-Are you being brought in as a change agent for the whole business? If so, does everyone understand what that means?
-What is the existing funding model for technology? Does the company understand its existing investment and what it takes to keep that going? Is it prepared financially and politically to implement the vision you have discussed with them?
-Why did the last CIO leave? Why was this position created?
-What about where you report, governance process considerations, collaborating on deriving a viable business-IT strategy…
-Is there any general agreement of staffing/resources/budgets for those items deemed critical for success in the first twelve months?

LISTEN to your clients, stakeholders, vendors, partners and staff. Be careful, you do not want to come across as having a solution looking for a problem, perhaps starting with some listening would help. Hence, ensuring that you have the commitment from the senior executives to engage in dialogue (formal and informal) to derive a viable business strategy that is enabled/driven by IT would be good. To listen, comprehend and understand the people and the business they are part of before embarking on any new way of thinking to know where you have come from enables you to move to a new place even quicker. The institutional trust, support, power and autonomy make your vision a reality. Everyone who is on your hiring committee is now responsible for helping you to be successful. You have laid out your vision, defined how you work and communicated a solid timeline.

Tie every single movement you make to the CXOs/Board's goals. Create your relationships at the peer level across all revenue generating departments, adopt the voice of the customer and make other executives work easier. Do all that while maintaining constant positive urgency and morale in your group. You are the leader of the foundation of the business--so make sure you have one "big bang" per year that is marketable to this forum because of how business enabling it was. A CIO needs to be willing to hold their ground even while it’s falling out from under them. Be strong, be confident and be patient. The job is about making changes when people want things to stay the same, making rational decisions when others are rash, and responding quickly when others are slow. Once they believe all that, then, remind them to listen and get a complete picture before making decisions. Understand organizational mission, vision, goals, business, product, people, customers, vendors, stakeholders, and importantly business processes. and then, see where you can ADD VALUE to the business in terms of business growth and entering to new market sector or product line.

Last but not least: Be genuine and let people know something about who you are and what's important to you. Give respect to everyone and don't tolerate technical arrogance. Your teams will learn from your example and work better together. For a CIO to be effective, he/she needs to be an advocate of the business when talking to IT colleagues and an advocate of IT when talking to business colleagues. It is the bridge between the two trying to shrink the gap between the two. Develop your talented team with the right mix of technologists who understand the business environment and objectives, and some business staff that understand the value of the IT.

Bring an “outlier” view, learn with humility and lead by questioning. DECIDE if you are a going to be an innovative or a utilitarian CIO, a transactional or a transformational leader, and build/market your strategy accordingly.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Can you Choose your “Business Mood”?

Decide on how you will change your behaviors and workplace environment and then act.

If culture is like organization’s “EQ,” then the business mood is perhaps like its “facial expressions,” somehow tell you what’s going on in the organization with quick view, to assess business’s “healthiness” or “happiness” level. How does individual mood interact with business mood though? And can you choose mood, either at personal level or business level?

There are differences between work environment (business mood) and company culture. A company's culture, which is heavily engrained and implicit and not directly perceptible, is also very hard to change and changes slowly if at all. Work environment, which is on the surface and easy to see and measure and feel, is also relatively easy to change - even in days or weeks. Anyone in the organization can begin to change their work environment! And because organizations look to and talk about and mimic their organizational managers and leaders, it is these groups (particularly the first line / middle level managers) that have a lot of power to influence the environment quickly and substantially.

Self diagnose the business moods: What are the behaviours that you can see? How would you describe the prevailing mood? Lack of trust in management? Work overload? Lack of clarity or direction? Unclear or rapidly changing priorities? Continual firefighting? Ambivalence? Lack of teamwork? Poor communication or silo thinking? What are the contributing environmental factors and behaviours? Slow or unclear priorities, strategies or decision processes? A sea of administrative bureaucracy? Poor or inconsistent communication down or across the organization? A disconnected or distant layer of management or leadership? A lack of recognition or honest feedback or a disconnect between recognition and performance? What are the needed changes in behaviour, process, communication, accessibility, engagement, approach? Do you inspire open conversations about work environment?

Make constructive conversations about working environment an open discussion in the organization. Take away the stigma and fear - proactively ask questions, challenge your own views, invite opinion and ideas. Find people embedded in the organization that are willing to tell you what they think. Tune into the nonverbal - watch how people work, act, respond. Learn what others think and feel. Be connected and tuned into your organization on many levels. People will not always be in the mood to listen to you. If you change the environment in which you like them to listen to you, however, whether someone listens or not can only be influenced. You can't make them listen, generally speaking. Indeed, sometimes an emphasized silence can be the most powerful way to get people's attention. What perhaps has to be clear is (i) what's in it for them if they listen? (ii) what is the nature of the conversation? Are they being told something, sold something or being asked to co-create something? Are you speaking to one person or many? The meaning of your communication is the response you get so that being the case, what is it within you and your delivery of a message that needs to change to cause them to choose to listen to you? What are your expectations of the other person/people as an audience? What judgements are you attaching to them? Sometimes asking a better question of yourself before attempting to have people listen will produce the result you are seeking.

Decide on how you will change your behaviors and workplace environment and then act:  Compliment your actions with a few careful explanatory words without excuses or criticism or focus on the past - let the organization know that you are doing something different and why! Leaders are real when they can openly admit when change is needed. Actions, are incredibly clear and very consistently interpreted and send messages far more efficiently and effectively than any amount of words. Words alone are only crude tools of communication and terribly inefficient at conveying the feeling of a message. Their interpretation is quite varied from person to person and when overused or not complemented with actions, words quickly become rhetoric or noise.

And finally, your mood - If you have this kind of challenge ahead of you today - to listen to the organization - to change your behaviour - to try something new - to act, to inspire positive change in those around you…It's absolutely possible to choose your mood even if you catch yourself feeling flat or low. Catching yourself doing it through third position observation and naming, claiming your mood enable you to then decide the mood you want to have. You can change mood by changing your physiology - going for a walk/run - or by changing your internal self talk (meditation, mantras, positive affirmations).

How to Manage the New Chapter of Digital Innovation

Innovation is the book never ends.
The world is becoming more hyper-connected with the latest digital technology advancement, are we ready to open the new chapter of digital innovation? Can we develop an approach which also places social, political and ethnic differences within a common framework to generate meaningful progress toward the next level of innovation? Is it possible to integrate the innovative concepts into a comprehensive approach that can generate intelligent solutions to the seemingly insurmountable large-scale problems? For example, how do you balance the partitioning of land and sea between man and nature? How can you use energy from sunlight to recycle all mass at the molecular scale locally? And if you were the Chief Innovation Officer in the organization or on the Earth, what’s your innovation agenda?

Look uphill to identify the real problems: Looking uphill can help to identify the real problems that matter, and on a scale that can make a difference. Looking deeply into the future can have a profound effect on where we go, and how we get there. From this perspective, both uphill and into the future, we gain an understanding of the unintended consequences of our actions in the future, and how to anticipate problems of our own making. Besides those macro, large-scale problems, at intermediate or micro level, for either organization or individual, how do you get motivated to be innovative at daily basis via solving real world problems large or small, in creative way. Innovation is not for its own sake, but for problem solving.

Think bigger. It all starts at the beginning, to make the most impact. If we always do the same thing the same way, we'll always get the same result. What can we do differently? What is stopping people from being autonomous, pursuing mastery and seeking purpose? It's mastery by each individual when time permits and a singular purpose that involves the immediate reaction. This is part of the cognitive surplus. Yet, there are many who do not feel comfortable with self-direction, nor do they look to their jobs for the level of potential that is possible.

Motivation: As an Chief innovation officer, you need to listen, convey, inspire, motivate, bring in people to share the vision, inspire the mission, communicate the ideas, advocate people centricity, start with the project, fund it, listen some more, create your next wave of innovation gurus, creative communicators, savvy experts, community activists, and make smart investment. Asking them to look into the future should trigger their imaginations. And having a true consideration for life provides a bit of guidance on how and why we undertake these efforts. The lives of kids, life swimming in the ocean, lives of the birds and beasts, and life in the inner cities, all matters. We're dealing with the complexity of the whole planet. And if we're going to take action or promote behavior that we need to also assume responsibility for our advocacy.

Innovation Life Cycle Management: Having solved the motivation problem, and moved out of the way, what do you think the nearly 7 billion people of planet earth would do if they had more autonomy, mastery and purpose? Or put another way, What’re the best or next innovation practices, What are the structure for innovation? Money alone will not do it. Speakers or classes, or signage or slogans will not do it. It requires acknowledgement, involvement and commitment. It also needs to have principles, processes and performance measurement. Many like P-I-N approach to start handling new ideas:
* P - what is positive about the idea
* I - what is innovative about the idea
* N - what are the negatives, problems, risks

Digital innovation has broader spectrum with hybrid nature, it is the incremental improvement- radical innovation continuum. It is hard to think of any innovation as not a hybrid, a combination of something old with something new or a number of new things. Probably, the more hybrid, the more old familiar things are combined, the less likely is any disruption, although all innovations are disruptive of something or some behavior to some degree. The digital CIOs need to master at managing complexity and dynamic of innovation portfolio more effectively.

Wisdom Management

The wisdom management is to manage collective wisdom which gains more knowledge that creates more wisdom.

Knowledge is facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. Wisdom is insightful quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the inner quality of being wise. Does transformation start when wisdom is converted to knowledge or when knowledge is converted to wisdom? Is wisdom management as the same as knowledge management or wisdom management is higher level of knowledge management? Many well-established organizations have information and knowledge management, how about wisdom management?

Knowledge-Insight-Wisdom Hierarchy: There is explicit knowledge - things people write down, things people can explain to others easily - and then there is tacit knowledge - the stuff that people know how to do but is not easily captured because it's all in their head. Tacit knowledge is more akin to insight which is something where people have the experience, knowledge, and good judgment. Wisdom is the transformation of you into “A REAL YOURSELF” for which your knowledge may help you sometimes facilitates too, but you need to have an inner drive to demonstrate wisdom.

Wisdom must undergo a conversion to knowledge before it can be properly managed. Wisdom includes whatever knowledge we've acquired to this point in our life and it incorporates experience, reflection and questioning. it may seem intangible, but it is very real and valuable. True wisdom is definitely related with experience, directly or indirectly (via learning). But only if you have learnt something from those experiences, and make it part of your inner-self, will your knowledge turn into wisdom.

Wisdom is application of knowledge at right time: Knowledge is Information or experience;
it is a collection of facts and raw data. What one does with the raw data requires wisdom. Wisdom is an umbrella term, at its best, it is the amalgamation of thought, analysis, planning, prediction of consequences, and so on. It is necessary to educate people to become aware of the many dimensions of any particular initiative. Depending upon the actual initiative, they may be: the environment, labor relations, community relations, professional credentials of those involved, competitors, suppliers, distributors, regulators, etc. The wise person will consider the current and future needs of all of these constituencies when planning and executing the project. If these constituencies are all the same or better at the end of this project, wisdom will have been demonstrated.

The wisdom management is to manage collective wisdom which gains more knowledge that creates more wisdom. Understanding of wisdom in the data, information, knowledge and wisdom spectrum is that wisdom is the application of knowledge to solve practical problems in the daily life. See wisdom as the result of life experience or knowledge transcendence. Wisdom comes from making mistakes and learning from them (or from others mistakes), and so knowledge comes before wisdom and wisdom uses knowledge. Then knowledge is the result of lessons we learned by exploitation of our wisdom! Less knowledge means less factual wisdom. As wisdom encourages to keep on gathering facts (knowledge).  Knowledge without wisdom creates catastrophe; when it creates wisdom which gains more knowledge that creates more wisdom.

In some organizations, knowledge management and wisdom management are the separate coin that doesn't need to be separate; for many others, it’s the same information-knowledge-wisdom continuum; either way, the goal of such management disciplines helps improve organizational change adaptability, idea adoptibility, learning capabilities and overall business agility.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Digging into the Agile Principle: What “Barely Sufficient” Means?

Principles are those core decisions values, not value as in benefit, but values as in beliefs that shape behavior and define culture.

Principles are general rules and guidelines, intended to be enduring and seldom amended, that inform and support the way in which an organization sets about fulfilling its mission. Many organization are going through the agile shift from doing Agile to being agile, how do you dig through the twelve Agile principles and manage projects or even running business more effectively? For example, one of the Agile principles says: Agile requirements are barely sufficient, who decides what 'barely sufficient' means?

What is "barely sufficient"? "Barely sufficient" means to capture and record your requirements at just enough detail for the needs of those requirements for today and tomorrow. As with pretty much all other aspects of just about everything, the answer really is, "it depends," instead of asking who decides what barely sufficient is, ask what is a barely sufficient requirement. This is straightforward. A system behavioral related requirement is defined by its inputs and outputs. If you're building something simple, where the code can be the documentation, then whatever the team decides is good enough to get to the design to inform the development. The team should decide whether the requirements have enough clarity to get the work done to an acceptable level, but it is not done in a box. Left to their own designs, developers often assume they understand more than they really do and end up building some really bad things.

There are a couple of perspective of “barely sufficient”: (1) It's best to do things just in time. And (2) It's best to adjust until what you're doing is just enough. Doing things just in time means they are done in time, but it also means that we know as much as we can know when we do them, and the opportunities for change between the time they are done and the time they are needed is minimized. So it would take some powerful arguments to override those motives. Doing just enough is minimizing waste. Doing any more would be waste. However by the time you find you've done too much it's too late to do less. There are people who argue that it is better to do 'not quite enough' on the grounds that good feedback loops will tell you, in time, that you need more and at that point you can do more. So feedback loop is important. You get feedback that tells you when you haven't done enough; if you're careful you get feedback telling you when you've done too much. From this, you get better next time at doing 'just enough' - or 'not quite enough' - depending on which you are aiming for.

Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential: It means that every team should find that sweet spot where they do the least amount of work to fully get what the requirement is. This will differ greatly from team to team because of factors of domain knowledge of both team and product owner, experience of team, effectiveness of the team, agile maturity and likely more. The challenge with agile requirements is when you need more than the code or transient user stories in order to manage your system capabilities for the long-term. There needs to be a boundary around the requirements with a well defined acceptance criteria. For example, a good story has the following attributes:
(1) Independent
(2) Negotiable
(3) Verifiable
(4) Estimable
(5) Small
(6) Testable

Principles are those core decisions values, not value as in benefit, but values as in beliefs that shape behavior and define culture. All Agile principles help build the culture of change with three “I” - Interaction, Iteration and Improvement.

What’s your Psychological Response to Changes?

What is more interesting is what drives people's perspective.

Change is inevitable in any organization today, it’s not for its own sake, but for continuous improvement or even breakthrough to adapt to the business dynamic. However, the change inertia is also a reality. From Change Management and talent management perspective: How the age and different emotions response to changes? Is change friction really getting bigger when one gets older? Or does lack of vision make people act old? Age or mindset, what’s the real obstacle to adapt to changes.

The industry study concludes it's not age that matters, but perspective: When people see that they have a future, they set out on adventures, create, and think. When they don't? They contract their world. That's the young (growth) mind vs. old (static) mindset. Keep in mind, the physical age and mental age is not always proportional; very possibly, the elder has an energetic mind, and the youth has an “older” mindset. It's not so much a stereotype as a research tested phenomenon.

There is a distinct relationship between a person's emotional state and small or expansive thinking: When people experience a state of anxiety or uncertainty, they tend to drift back to the comfort of small thinking and getting their minds around points of detail. When that anxiety is removed and they experience more certainty, they have the courage to think more expansively. But these ways of thinking can flip quite easily as if at the flick of a switch. So the challenge with change is to create emotional states that mean certainty for the individuals affected, and have it stick. Not easy, but not impossible.

There is so much psychology in openness to new ideas and perspectives: There is not a one size fits all approach to addressing the different psychological responses and thereby reducing anxiety, because there are different psychological perspectives. For example, there are those who think logically, others focus bigger picture, and others are a lot more emotional in their decision making. It takes slightly different approaches, timescales and skills to unlock the anxiety.

It is important to build a culture of change: Perhaps the big challenge for businesses is when change involves engaging with large numbers of people. That is where the 'herd instinct' can come in handy. That is, if you can adopt strategies and tactics that create groups of people open to change, then you can create an atmosphere which has people thinking "If we don't go with this change then may be we'll lose out". Thus, people feel they ought to follow everyone else, and slowly they become more used to, and thus more comfortable with what's happening.
It is all about perspective. What is more interesting is what drives people's perspective. Those lack of vision are either incentivized incorrectly to focus only on the short term; inexperienced outside of the small field in which they operate; too focused on their own self preservation; or have no energy or desire left to think longer term. In addition, people all have biases, and the biases, are so inherited from such a long evolutionary history, that it won't probably be possible, or even preferable to erase them or "design them away" with policies or interventions. However, awareness of them is important, many of such biases are apparent at the same time, sometime complementing each other and other times contradicts each other; so that you can reduce the harmful impact they might have, and leverage upon the beneficial. Make sure that when you make decisions, they are not based on opinions, but on a commonly understood starting points to make changes.

People neither love nor hate "change." The differentiator is that people embrace change if they understand the value adding to them. It is people’s understanding and perspectives of the result of change that will shape one’s mind, trigger the positive psychology, and drive one to behave in one way or another.

How does a Modern Leader Avoid being Overwhelmed

Setting the right priority, and behave like a true leader knowing how to delegate are crucial to avoid being overwhelmed.
Digital organizations are complex and ambiguous, as an effective leader, how do you avoid being overwhelmed by the waves of issues or opportunities and focus on the important ones?

Becoming visible and invisible in different circumstances: It means that true leader know how to set priority right, focus on the most important thing. It will become visible only when he or she is needed, and will become invisible when there is no need. In other words, they are only visibly with their teams when their advice is solicited, and they can add real value to the discourse, and not seen around at every moment to micromanage. It is hard to do, but, most successful leaders have learned to do this. By doing this, they reap the benefits through increased creativity of their people, and flourishing of mutual trust in their organizations. By mastering this, they can focus on important opportunities and issues, and their organization as a whole becomes more effective. What is standing in the way of many leaders who can’t do this is their ego and lower self-confidence. Through ego containment, and growing their self-confidence, they can also become like the few successful invisible and visible leaders.

Delegation is important to avoid being overwhelmed: Good leaders are like magnets, people and problems gravitate to them, to avoid being overwhelmed: First, it involves the team in the process and helps them grow while allowing the leader to prioritize other issues that may require deep personal involvement. Secondly, it reduces the total issues that gravitate to a leaders because once a team learns that the first question is going to be "what do you think?" They will begin to evaluate before they bring it to you. Limit the number of issues that actually get to you because they solved it themselves and, more importantly, they will be more prepared with more information when they come to you, reducing the time and depth of the discussion. One of many things a leader can do is to build a good rapport with his/her subordinates. Empower them to solve problems at the earliest opportunity within their sphere of authority rather than letting it migrate vertical or horizontal through the chain of command points. Moreover, improve a line of communications with your managers and workers to anticipate potential problems and identify opportunities for solutions rather than passing a buck. The courage to delegate but not to overwhelm those they are delegating to is important, but even more important is the recognition that there might be errors, mistakes and failures. Creating an environment where the leaders in your team or safe to fail is critical to sharing the load.

Build a complementary team to cover blind spot:  We seldom make great decisions if we are so close to an issue that we cannot see all of the facets of the diamond. Sometimes it is difficult to get perspective and that is why it's always important to have someone you trust to cover your blindspot. We all have them and whether its a superior, friend or staff member, you always need someone to help you detach. By empowering all whom you lead to be great communicators, innovators and independent problem solvers, leaders can lead teams of potential leaders, all being mentored to handle issues as they arise. It's a risk that we take when we delegate that level of authority, but with acceptance of mistakes, encouragement and coaching (all grounded in great communications skills), we can prevent from being overwhelmed. This is truly one of the key attributes of great leaders.

As many say: “No problems, no business.” The only way a leader can avoid overwhelming through multitude of issues (trivial many) and focus on the real important issues (vital few) is to set the right priority, also behave like a true leader knowing how to delegate. This helps put the magnitude of an issue in perspective and allows you to better prioritize when everything seems to be on fire, take a step back and decide which bite to take first and which to take last. An effective leader does not always keep the hands full, but learn how to be “mindful.”

Friday, April 17, 2015

What're UX competencies

UX is an important step in lifting digital maturity from functioning to firmness to delight.

User centered design or UX (User Experience) is based on a suitable standard and design principles which explain the why (the purpose of design), and rules (which explain the how). Although UX has been around for a while, it is still an emerging and developing field, many employers apparently don't understand it, and many UX professionals were not formally trained as such. UX competencies goes beyond a pretty interface, it includes following factors:

Empathy: UX is largely a user centered design approach, "empathy" is one of the key characteristics in defining a successful UX professional. In many cases, a design was done by an expert. It sure looks good, but it just does not allow the user to achieve his or her goal effectively, efficiently and with satisfaction, to say nothing of the organization's goals.

Process fluidity: Being good at visual design is not equal to being competent in UX; being proficient in UI coding or UI prototyping is not equal to being competent in UX. To define UX in terms of usability is also limited view. UX is an iterative and fluid process to leverage human factors in decision-making or workload. It has six areas of interest--User Research, Interaction Design, Information Architecture, Content Strategy, Visual Design, and Usability Testing.

Customer satisfaction: Customer Experience covers the entire experience of the customer. UX competency refers to "the effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction with which specified users achieve specified goals in particular environments." if you want it to mean, or could replace it with 'Pretty pictures' - and be happy with the definition - then you're not going to get the full benefit of what true UX can bring.

UX can make a big difference in digital transformation. Organizations with UX competencies and capable of properly implementing their digital transformation, will overwhelm traditional linear organizations, because they take better advantage of the information-based externalities inaccessible to older structures, a feat that will empower them to grow shockingly faster than their linear counterparts, and then accelerate from there, the interface designers design the interface to delight customers.

It's obviously difficult to showcase UX rather than UI as you're trying to show your process rather than a finished result. It does make sense to creating case studies for past projects which includes all the scruffy work, process and decisions along the way. And UX is an important step in lifting digital maturity from functioning to firmness to delight.

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