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, October 17, 2018

The Popular Quotes of “Digital Master” Book Series

The right people have the right mindsets, they are high-positive, high-innovative, high-influential and high-mature.


Digital Master is the series of guidebooks (25+ books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” Digital organizations are always on, interdependent and hyperconnected, people are always the most important asset in any organization before, today, and future. However, compared to a traditional industrial workforce, the digital workforce is a new breed -it's the super-connected generation with a multitude of varieties - multi-generations, multi-cultures, and multi-devices. Here is a set of quotes of "Digital Master."

89 “The business or societal progress is made via a healthy cycle of problem framing and problem-solving continuum.”
― Pearl Zhu, Problem Solving Master: Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problem Creatively

90 “Setting the right priorities or having superior time management skill means knowing the difference between “must have,” and “nice to have.”
― Pearl Zhu, Thinkingaire: 100 Game Changing Digital Mindsets to Compete for the Future

91 “Critical Thinking brings insight into the situation.”
― Pearl Zhu, 100 Digital Rules

92 “The art of questioning is to ignite innovative thinking; the science of questioning is to frame system thinking, with the progressive pursuit of better solutions.”
― Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity

93 “The answer from yesterday is not as critical as the questions about the future.”

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

94 “Innovation has to become the philosophy, and part of DNA in an organization.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Master

95 “Silo builds the wall in people’s minds and creates the barrier in organizations’ “hearts.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

96 “Dissatisfaction with the status quo is the psychology behind creative disruptions.”

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

97 “Ingenuity is the ability to solve difficult problems, often in an original and creative way.”

― Pearl Zhu, Talent Master: 199+ Questions to See Talent from Different Angles

98 “Lack of independent thinking is lacking in confidence.”

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

99 “Intuition matters but, pay more attention to the unconscious bias.”
― Pearl Zhu, Talent Master: 199+ Questions to See Talent from Different Angles

100 “The right people have the right mindsets, they are high-positive, high-innovative, high-influential and high-mature.”

― Pearl Zhu, CIO Master: Unleash the Digital Potential of It


Digital Master refers to those high-performing, highly innovative and high-mature (less than 15%) digital organizations; they have both clear digital vision and well-crafted digital strategy; they are courageous to be in the vanguard of digital transformation with a quantum lead. But they also proactively develop more advanced and unique digital capabilities step-by-step and build a digital premium into their very foundation of business, such as digital thinking, culture, agility, intelligence, and structure, and they achieve high performing results through strong digital governance discipline and reach its zenith as the digital world continues to expand and diversify. At the individual level, Digital Masters are those cross-generational digital professionals who are equipped with advanced digital minds and build a unique set of digital capabilities, climb to the top of Maslow’s Pyramid 2.0.

The Digital Board’s Balanced Scoreboard


Due to the “VUCA” digital new normal, the directorship in any organization must have the ability to inspire, guide, motivate, and adapt. They need to keep adapting to changes by the boardroom refreshment and taking advantage of effective tools to improve the board effectiveness. A well-balanced scorecard measuring key strategic performance indicators such as the business finance health and performance, process effectiveness and efficiency, innovation and learning capacity, and customer satisfaction, etc, can provide them both information-based stories and holistic pictures for improving digital fluency and their leadership maturity.

A strategy oversight tool: A scorecard assesses the progress to strategic goals. It is important to define the strategic level performance indicators which take into consideration the possible implication of the organization as a whole and the future orientation. A balanced scorecard approach is needed to measure all the relevant areas of corporate performance such as, how the company is dealing with its customers, employees, vendors, and communities; how it is performing financially, with a focus on how assets are being employed; and how it is cutting cycle time, improving quality and developing new products and services. It provides them with a holistic view about the progress of digital transformation, and it offers a way for a corporation to gain a wider perspective on its strategic decisions about the future performance of the business. The feature of the scoreboard is an effective communication tool to help the board make sure that the strategy execution is on track. It enables feedback & learning and adjusting the strategy accordingly.

A decision support tool: A Balanced Scorecard, correctly and fully implemented and used, is nothing more than a strategic decision support system, allowing the most effective initiatives to be planned for achieving the corporate goals and the appropriate corrective actions to be taken upon those initiatives when needed. A scoreboard is to provide the “balanced” view of trade-off variables and ensuring decision makers such as board directors understand and weight in to make effective decisions. You also need to consider, among other things, the overall strategic balance, dependencies, and constraints between components, individual, and overall risk exposure. 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. 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.

A discussion facilitation tool:
A balanced scoreboard is a very useful tool for facilitating board discussions as well: Quality boardroom communication ensures that information is concise and update in enabling decision-making and goal tracking. It is a matter of leadership guidance to steer the journey of digitalization. The BoD as the directorship role who have to make sound judgments and steer the organization in the right direction. Thus, the important issue is how the board accommodates diverse opinions and how they assess them and converge the diverse thoughts into effective decisions. It is a matter of leadership guidance to steer the journey of digitalization in the right direction by understanding the purpose of doing that and engaging on that. The balanced scorecard measures key strategic performance indicators along with the things that drive those measures. The well designed balanced scoreboard with well-selected metrics can harness information-based communication and lead to continuous improvement. A balanced scoreboard is very useful for facilitating discussions and ensuring decision makers understand the various trade-offs and make the overall strategic balance, business dependencies, and constraints between components, individuals, and overall risk exposure.

With a balanced scoreboard, the top leadership can become more confident and more accurately judge the coming curves and obstacles on the path, With the support of measurement, the management can clearly evaluate each stage of change, and point out clearly wherein the business gets the benefit of taking up the activities so far to form a stepping stone for the big jump of digitalization.

Three “Soft” IT Management Disciplines

IT is impacting every business unit and is becoming the driver of business change and digital transformation. With the fast pace of changes, old IT thinking cannot move fast enough in the era of digitalization. IT management is multidisciplinary; it not only includes “hard” components such as IT operation and portfolio management but also has some “soft” touch elements. Digital means business fluidity, often, soft overcomes the hard and gentle overcomes the rigid. Here are “soft” management disciplines to improve IT management maturity.

Business Requirement Management: There are both business requirements and IT requirements. IT has to oversee the full set of the requirements to ensure the cohesiveness and to determine all the customers, users, and stakeholders and obtain their involvement. IT requirements are allocated to IT from the business requirements. Business requirements drive everything the entire businesses do, way beyond IT, but many of which IT is "allocated" its share of. The customers, users and all stakeholders including suppliers, partners, and all internal functions hold a stake in the requirements. IT initiatives are unlike others as they are always enterprise-wide, and IT oversees business processes. Assume any inputs are incomplete from a holistic perspective and are filtered from the silo's functional view, the reiteration of the requirements development process is essential to arriving at the "real" requirements. When it comes to collecting the business requirements, IT needs to take the traceability path of where the requirements come from, and IT requirements need to be functionally structured to serve each functional needs of the enterprise. The requirement managers shouldn’t lose the sight of all requirement and relationship, understand where all the functional boundaries are and who is organizationally associated with each requires managers with a holistic perspective and the “soft” leadership skills and management disciplines to communicate and prioritize, focus on those requirements whose improvement has the most benefit to the business, and keep the stakeholders focused on those requirements and relationships.

Communication Management: Communications are the tool to solve problems, and languages are the tools to make communications. Communication clarity makes directly impact on the business effectiveness. However, in many organizations, especially those strictly hierarchical large organizations with bureaucratic culture and silo mentality, a lot of time and energy are spent on keeping and maintaining the functional wall instead of developing honest and genuine relationships with people, they are process and control driven, have large communication bottlenecks, which stifle cross-functional communication and collaboration. In fact, miscommunication is one of the biggest gaps between IT and business. To improve IT communication effectiveness, the question is not only about how to deliver the clarified message but also what message to deliver. People all filter information differently based on their experiences. Respect your audience's cognitive diversity and professional interest, and try to send the message which appeals to them. It is also important to foster an environment where feedback and communication are based on reality and not simply what senior management wants to hear. It is equally important to discourage unprofessional communications. We live in the digital era with continuous delivery as a new normal. So, it’s all about striking the right balance of overcommunicating and “less is more,” to improve communication effectiveness and achieve the end goals.

Partnership Management:
Digital IT shouldn’t be run as an isolated function, but a real-time business partner in order to bridge the gap and improve its responsiveness and maturity. Therefore, the partnership is a “soft,” but a critical component in the digital IT management playbook. IT is no longer that island, or corner and those who still want to stick in that corner or live in its comfort zone! Business today will not just use IT as a digital extension, but leverage IT across their organization to attain the enterprise-wide business competency. IT is not a function that can be handled only in the IT department or by IT managers only, what should be focused on is how to integrate IT into business decisions and processes. IT not only needs to build a cohesive relationship with the business but also develop the varying business partnerships such as vendors, customers, and varying shareholders within its digital ecosystem. IT leaders should make an objective assessment of those relationships: Who are your strategic partners, who are your reliable supporters, and who will be your detractors? Who will work with you to overcome big challenges? Who may try to kick you when you are down? To go broader, IT leaders need to manage multi-layer business relationships and play toughness and softness accordingly and master one of the most sophisticated executive roles in modern businesses effortlessly.

Due to the complexity and ever-changing business dynamic with frequent disruptions, it takes mental toughness to manage orders from chaos, staying cool under the turmoil business conditions. More often than not, soft overcomes hard. The soft elements will become the key factors for the success of changes. Organizations also have to tailor their management styles to make these soft business elements well mixed into organizational competency.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Monthly Digital Practices Summary: The Practices to Enforce Innovation Oct. 2018

At the heart of innovation is the lifecycle of idea generation, interaction, selection, and learning. 

The business practice is always a combination of people and how they are used to doing things based on the set of principles and standards for adapting to changes in the business or technology shift. Besides building a set of principles to follow, it’s also important to develop a series of best/next practice to scale up and amplify digital effects.

           


The Practices to Enforce Innovation


How to Develop the Digital Innovation Scenario? With the overwhelming growth of information and continuous changes and disruptions, organizations just have to get used to the new normal and learn how to deal with them proactively. To stay competitive, innovation becomes the light every organization is chasing to overcome the challenges. However, innovation is overused and misused by many, obsessively filling all presentations. Sometimes innovation has even become a buzzword to the point that those who truly understand it cannot get the real message out through the "hype" and truly implement innovative changes. To develop innovation as the differentiated competency, companies must go beyond experimenting with innovation and commit to taking a systematic scenario to explore innovation in its digital ecosystem for achieving high-value business results.

Five Practices to Enforce Enterprise Innovation and Change: In the rapidly evolving businesses and economic systems, the creation of new innovations is very complex but critical for firms' survival and thriving. The essence of innovation is made of trying the new combination of known things to create new stuff and figure out the better way to do things. Organizations should develop a healthy working environment to encourage idea sharing, enable cross-functional communication, and take a scientific approach to crack innovation serendipity code for achieving digital innovation premium. Here are five digital practices to enforce enterprise innovation and change.

CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: What are Your Innovation Leadership Digital Principles & Practices? Innovation is the management process to transform novel ideas to achieve their business value. At the heart of innovation is the lifecycle of idea generation, interaction, selection, and learning. Due to the fact that innovating in today’s digital world has become increasingly complex in nature, organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. Innovation management requires much deeper whole systems and taking emergent, generative, iterative, integrative, and holistic approaches. Information is one of the most time-intensive pieces of innovation puzzle and technology is the disruptive force behind digital innovation. CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: What are your innovation leadership digital principles and practices?

Tuning Soft Elements in Innovation Management? Creativity is, by nature, unique to each person, it is an innate process to create novel ideas. Innovation is to manage novel ideas and generating business value from them. There is no template which you can apply and suddenly have a creative workforce. It has to be done slowly, patiently, and individually. That is why so many companies won't do it. There are both hard elements such as framework, processes or tools as well as soft elements woven together to orchestrate an innovation symphony. Here are three soft elements in innovation management.

How to Walk the Innovation Talk Effortlessly: Digital is the era of innovation. Nowadays, many people and organizations are talking about innovation, but very few practice creativity persistently and manage innovation effectively, with the ability to walk the innovation talk effortlessly. There is innovation friction existing and change fatigue block the way. Once people get into a routine at work, they typically get stuck at the “We always do things like that” mentality, and they do not like to hear about how things could be done differently to make the work more productive, and innovative, or finding the better way to solve either the old or existing problems. So, digital business leaders today should learn how to walk the innovation talk and manage innovation in a structural way.?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #5000th 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 Characteristics of Digital Workplace

Digital organizations are like the living systems that keep growing, adaptive, and renewing.

Due to the “VUCA” characteristics of business new normal, digital workplace today needs to become dynamic and informative. Traditional hierarchical lines will phase out and a collective of the business partnership will emerge. The digital transformation won’t happen overnight, organizations need to work collaboratively to set the strategy and achieve organizational goals, invest in the cultivation of capacity for change, innovation, and strategy implementation. Here are five characteristics of the digital workplace.

Adaptive: The disruptive technologies and the fast growth of information bring both unprecedented opportunities and risks to the business. Therefore, organizations today must adapt to changes and stay curious all the time. From the organizational structure point of view, the structural elements adapt because of the business flow; the business flow adapts because of the structural elements. The point seems to be that the organizational structure has a strong influence on organizational traits and behavior. it is possible to see what enables a self-adaptive organism is an information-driven process feeding and sustaining it. People are able to adapt themselves and their organization through a collaborative and peer to peer approach. A highly adaptive organization is a system which is able to re-configure its own structure and change its own behavior during the execution of its adaptation to environmental changes. A highly adaptive organization is to create an organization in which change is the new norm and happens the whole time, thereby delivering faster and increasing market share, and ultimately becomes the business competency.

Trustful: Trust is fundamental in an organizational system if you want to change something. The more deeply the leaders or managers understand their employees, their value, priority, the way to think and do things, the lens to see the world & work and what they see; the more effective leadership would be. Leadership at many different levels is often likely to drive out the best in the people, organizational innovation, and culture. It's trust that is the key determinant of any collaborative effort; and conversely, the lack of it can accurately predict the demise of any collaborative effort. Trust is not straightforward, but multifaceted. Reciprocity is an important part of building trust because of shared goals, which create less stress on the relationship, also allows predictability and stability in the relationship building. One of the key principles of assigning responsibilities is to reduce as far as the possible number of people who have to be involved in each task since all the additional communication/consensus seeking dramatically increase the time required to get even simple tasks done. So, there needs to be the real delegation of responsibility with well-defined boundaries and clear accountability. Trust can make the delegation process frictionless. This also helps to improve digital workforce quality, reliability and also productivity; and it further fuels the sustainable growth of the business.

Responsive: With increasing pace of changes, the reality is that organizations that do not respond to external environmental changes will quickly outcompete as more responsive enterprises take their customers. The responsive organization is highly conscious about what's happening in their environment, learn to stay alerted and to observe with subtlety and respond fast, grasp opportunities and prevent risks effectively. The digital organizations are more dynamic, if you look at a business as a collection of subsystems, the degree of business responsiveness depends on how those subsystems interact with each other, and those interactions can be structural, technical, informational, or human. Running a highly responsive organization sometimes needs to have the adaptability to meet the business’s expectation, leverage tailored approaches to fit specific circumstances, ultimately respond to the external environment. The less friction for the changes and the more seamless business interactions enable the business to flow and accelerate its performance and growth, and ultimately transcend into the highly responsive digital business.

Flexible: Flexibility is about figuring out alternative ways to do things and the resilience to survive or thrive from the failures. With unprecedented uncertainty and high velocity, companies across sectors should be flexible to leverage tailored approaches to fit specific circumstances and respond to the external environment as geopolitics, rapid innovation, and social expectations change the business landscape and blur the digital territories. Each of these business contexts requires a different management approach to improve organizational effectiveness and efficiency. People with a flexible mind can work as a team more seamlessly, but also professionally, such team or working environment encourages collaboration. From the organizational structure perspective, the goal for optimized organizational design is to improve cross-functional communication, mass collaboration, and overall business changeability and flexibility. Ideally, the two structures - hierarchy and relationship structure wrap around each other to ensure high responsiveness, flexibility, and accountability. Ultimately, digital organizations are becoming more flexible, able to navigate changes and business complexity through creative problem-solving.

Innovative: The digital workplace will be shaped by changes that take place in the way people relate to themselves and to their experience of their environment and others around them. Innovation is the most wanted changes. Make sure the work environment encourages creativity and collaborative thinking, help employees at all levels within an organization to think out of the box, take reasonable risks, go beyond their defined roles and demonstrate their intellectual capabilities to bring positive changes and breakthrough innovation. From top leaders to front-line employees, understand and develop their creative capacity to solve problems and explore opportunities in new and innovative ways. Generally speaking, the more innovative employees are, the less tolerant of structures (policies, rules, and paradigms)  they are. So, there must be an appreciation for the organization of the sources of creativity as well as the structures and cultures that will promote innovation. Innovation management in the workplace is a multi-dimensional pursuit. Talent, the individual, and teamwork are important, so are strategies, systems, and processes, so are the freedom and a capacity for risk-taking.

Digital organizations are like the living systems that keep growing, adaptive, and renewing. Today’s digital organizations need to be highly responsive, flexible, innovative, and self-adaptive to the dynamic environment. The organizations have to embed digital across the organization, expand to every dimension of the company, to emphasize communication, participation, relationships, and realize that they have to renew themselves periodically to cope with change effectively and achieve higher-than-expected business results.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Fit” Book Tuning: The Creativity Fitness Oct. 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. But what are digital organizational traits, how to define digital fit and take a structural approach for digitalization?

                  

                            The Creativity Fitness


The Multitude of Creativity Creativity is an innate ability to create novel ideas. Would you consider that creativity is a response to a stimulus and that individuals will manifest different behavioral responses to that stimulus depending on their individual experiences...? What are the personality traits or working environment which decide how creative the individual or team could be?

A Creative Mind? Creativity is a mode of thinking. Some people are more in the creative thinking mode than others. This would mean that you can switch your thinking mode to fit the circumstances. That is the secret weapon of a 'creative mind,' to be able to voluntary switch between open and closed thinking styles.

Three Practices to Build Creative Workplaces and Workforce The creative workplace is based on a triangle with three vertices: culture, method, and people. People are always the most important business asset and investment, but also one of the weakest links in organizations. The important perspective of digital transformation is to put people at the center of the business, and to both engage employees and delight customers.

Innovation vs. Inclusiveness: Do not just think that diversity is only based on how people look, in fact, the diversity of thought is the gem of creativity. Creativity is innate with many special ingredients; creativity can be developed if the conditions are right and there is inspiration, inclusiveness, encouragement, and abundance of knowledge. Innovation is then the management discipline to transform those novel ideas and achieve their business value.


Is a “Misfit” Mind a Truly Digital fit Digital fitness is about the business or talent’s capabilities to adapt to the digital dynamic –the accelerated changes or over complexity, what’re the digital fitting mindsets? Are they conventional or out-of-box? Are they homogeneous or heterogeneous? Are they compliant or critical? Are they stereotypical or creative? Does the one being called misfit actually a better fit for digital thinking? So is a misfit mind a truly digital fit?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5+million page views with about #5000+ 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.

The Middle Ground CIO Leadership: Running Digital IT by Taking a Hybrid Approach

The digital CIO is not just tactical IT management position, but a dynamic leadership role who has to keep learning, be keen about exploring new technologies and emergent markets.


Information Technology becomes pervasive in the modern enterprise today, the CIO role is perhaps one of the most sophisticated executive positions in modern businesses because they often get obsessed with many things, have to wear multiple personas and practice situational leadership all the time, regardless of whether they like it or not. IT is in the middle of the sea change, it is important to realize that there are basic principles and rules that enable IT keeping the business lights on as well as leading changes and maximizing the best business value. But more specifically, how can CIOs play the middle ground leadership to strike the right balance in the digital dynamic?

The balance of divergent and convergent approach for IT improvement and innovation:
Organizations today can no longer just react to the dynamic business environment, they have to leverage multiple viewpoints and pull all critical business elements to form differentiated business competency. The real power of the divergent approach comes from the innate appeal of interacting socially and intellectual stimulation that people derive from sharing what they know, expressing opinions and learning what others know and think, and exploring many possible solutions to either emerging problems or existing issues. The most effective digital workplace is one where collaboration and sharing are the norms. It is imperative that we are willing to seek out help, break down silos, and harness cross-functional collaboration as we work to generate new ideas or solve problems. It’s best to bring a group of people together with cognitive differences such as different background, capabilities, and strength, etc, in order to stimulate divergent thinking and sparking innovation. After the process of divergent scenario has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured by leveraging convergent processes. It takes a structural approach to strike the right balance of divergence and convergence, enhance the IT-business relationship, make business-IT alignment, collaboration, integration, optimization, and innovation.

The balance of transactional activities and transformative changes: Keeping the light on is still fundamental. An effective CIO has to take care of chronic operational issues and deliver much-requested upgrades and tactical solutions. Transactional or operational capability usually makes only minor adjustments in the organization’s, structure and management, etc. It often takes linear steps for tuning the enterprise machine and ensures it keeps spinning. However, the pace of changes in IT would force more CIOs into transformation-oriented digital leadership roles because IT plays a significant role in driving the digital transformation of the company. Just transactional running the systems is going to shrink with emergent digital technology. Once IT is seen as strategic rather than tactical, IT can be transformational when the opportunity arises and it is appropriate to seize it. It is the ability to work across disciplines to solve complex problems with contextual understanding and systematic approach. It helps to expand the organization’s horizon and elevate the business up to the next level of maturity.

The balance of ownership and stewardship: Digital organizations are flatter, with an “every individual as a stakeholder” culture, to close the accountability gap through improving cross-functional collaboration, open door listening, and transparency. Lack of accountability is often one of the biggest obstacles to getting things done or causing change inertia, either in IT or the entire company. When CIOs are equipped with the ownership mentality, they can run IT boldly and provide the leadership style to inject enthusiasm, which is infectious and spurs the concept forward. Businesses today are information-intensive, CIOs & IT usually manage data lifecycle. However, at most of the businesses, IT doesn't own data, as business functions usually declare “ownership” of their data, it makes situation tougher, as siloed data will cause poor decision making, resources wastes, as well as leave risk loopholes with support and collaboration from business partners. IT needs to play a “steward” role in facilitating and managing data lifecycle more effectively. Being ‘steward,' instead of an ‘owner,” shows the good attitude. Thus, digital CIOs should strike the right balance and play the situational leadership accordingly.

The digital CIO is not just tactical IT management position, but a dynamic leadership role who has to keep learning, be keen about exploring new technologies and emergent markets. More importantly, to deal with digital complexity and uncertainties, and play the middle ground CIO leadership to strike the balance of improving IT organizational stability, changeability, innovation, and maturity.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Monthly “Problem-Solving Master” Book Tuning: The Solutionist Thinking Oct., 2018

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

                      

The Solutionist Thinking


How to Build a Good Reputation for Problem Solving Fundamentally, every job is to deal with problems big or small both from the long-term perspective or on the daily basis. We all develop reputations - for being problem creators, problem definers or problem solvers. Sometimes, even you intend to solve problems but perhaps causes more serious problems later on. So it's important to observe the problem-solving scenarios and ask yourself the sets of questions such as, how do you discover the part you played in the problem/challenge? Which thought processes shall you leverage to diagnose problems and solve them? What is the best way to handle a problem that seems to have no solution?" How to build a good reputation for problem-solving?

Are you Part of Problems or Part of Solutions? Businesses and the world as a whole become over-complex with increasing speed of changes. Some say the lack of problem-solvers is a problem for this world, more specifically, can you define the right problems, and solving them in the right way? From business management perspectives, some organizations waste much time and tens of thousands of dollars reacting to problems/challenges, but never really solving anything only creating more problems. So as digital leaders or professionals, what’s your reflection-Are you part of problems or part of solutions?

The Digital CIO as the Business Solutionist Fundamentally, running a business is a change and problem-solving continuum. With continuous disruptions and exponential growth of information, the role of IT in the current business environment should be able to solve critical business problems and enable business outcomes. To keep IT relevant for the long run, the digital CIOs as the business solutionist should ask themselves whether they are offering something in their dialogue that really helps business partners see how they differentiate themselves or their business practices can help to solve the toughest business problems and achieve the competitive advantage.?

Have You Focused on Fixing the Wrong Cause of a Problem? As human species, we are still facing many problems and challenges. Either for individuals, organizations, or society as a whole, the problem-solving capability is crucial to surviving and thriving. However, many decision-makers fail to fully grasp and accurately perceive what leads to problems and difficulties. Often, events and patterns are observed on the surface, and then the action is taken, but that is too early. After observing events and patterns, there are the underlying structures, the mechanisms, that cause the problem. And people lack critical thinking are usually never question because "it's the way things should be." Problem-solving in the majority of organizations today is woefully inadequate, so what happens when you focus on fixing the wrong cause of problems?

How to Leverage Systems Thinking in Solving Thorny Problems? As some saying goes: It is not what we don’t know that is a problem; it is what we know that is not so, that is a big problem. The world becomes overly complex and paradoxical, does every problem have solutions? How can you leverage Systems Thinking in problem-solving? What is the best way to handle a problem that seems to have no solutions?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about 5000+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify your voice, deepen your digital footprints, and match your way for human progression.

CIOs as “Chief Information Officer”: How to Ensure Information Robustness and Innovation Excellence


Digital organizations are information overloading and knowledge abundant, but very few of them are truly running the digital-savvy and high-intellectual business.

The most powerful and differentiating tool in today's businesses is information; the aim of managing the information and the information position of an organization is what ought to be called Information Management. Information is the lifeblood and dynamic business ingredient that allows the company’s continual growth. CIOs as “Chief Information Officer”: How can you create the great condition to ensure information robustness and innovation excellence?


Permeating information into every corner of the business: Many organizations feel overwhelming by the exponential growth of information. Information is the most invaluable commodity individuals and organizations produce in the digital environment in which they currently function, and it’s one of the most invaluable business assets need to be managed successfully! Information does not live alone but permeates into everywhere in the businesses. Thus, the value of information is not isolated. There seems to be the unrealistic expectation that if you have a great business and it’s working OK, the information will flow around smoothly; knowledge, ideas, solutions, and advice will easily transfer to achieve its business value. In practices, Information Management takes strategic planning, systematic approach, and scientific methodology. In many legacy organizations, their methods, and procedures to process information are siloed and outdated, stifle information flow, and thus, business flow. Even in a small company, variation between the amounts and type of data need to support different lines of business can be challenging. Information Management entails collecting, organizing, retrieving, acquiring, maintaining, securing, updating, distributing, sharing, publishing and achieving information. Information Management is all about ensuring information robustness, having the right people to have the right information to make the right decisions at the right time. Identify how information is associated with the valued tangibles of businesses; products and resources; like information flow in business processes, for example, and then its own value will become readily apparent and quantifiable by association. Information Management lifecycle with data, information, knowledge, and wisdom at the different stages evolves how to refine information to gain business foresight and customer insight in order to run a highly intelligent and high-performance digital organization.

Continuously share knowledge and generate new knowledge: There is no hard asset that you can buy today that will guarantee the success of your organization. But effective information management will help the business make a large leap of achieving long-term business prosperity. To reach information robustness and knowledge abundance, you need to not only assimilate the existing knowledge, more importantly, but you also have to create the new knowledge, more frequently to replace the out of dated knowledge. Because siloed or outdated knowledge stifles organizational change and decreases business speed. Knowledge workers with intrinsic motivation like to share their knowledge to learn more by themselves; they are perfectly able to find a balance between sharing knowledge and ensuring sharing knowledge will not become a goal in itself. The ultimate business goal is to improve productivity and encourage innovation. Having knowledge is a good thing, debating, sharing, and exploring what to do with that knowledge and connecting disparate ideas that don't seem to fit together naturally will lead to new knowledge or idea generation. Make the conscious application of what we know and at the same time stay open to the unknown, new thinking and knowledge can emerge. Knowledge Management methodologies and tools do play a major role; but ideally, knowledge sharing needs to be embedded in the work style and well-placed knowledge management system, to make it an effortless business activity and ensure information robustness and knowledge update.

Encourage innovation experimentation by exploration of newly acquired information or fresh-minted theories: The original germ of a creative idea is often, if not always arrived through the interaction of ideas from different domains of thoughts and experiences, or information without boundary. Nowadays, information is often the most time-intensive piece of innovation puzzle. To move forward from information robustness to innovation excellence, cross-pollinating ideas, collaborating and sharing knowledge are what spurs innovation. Absorbing knowledge is only the beginning of learning. How deeply your understanding is based on the mindset, logic, lenses, and methodology you leverage to interpret things and connect dots to spark creativity. Knowledge workforce today uses the diversity of ideas as a rich source of connectivity and relationship, to foster innovation and provide the breakthrough thinking to arrive at creative outcomes that would be otherwise very unlikely. Keep in mind though, building a learning organization is not the goal or a vision, the ultimate goal is to ensure such organizations keep tapping their innovation potential and they know the tasks and knowledge required to sustain itself and create an environment and business systems to reap innovation fruits.

Digital organizations are information overloading and knowledge abundant, but very few of them are truly running the digital-savvy and high-intellectual business. Information technology should be seen by any business as the growth engine as well as the business optimizer which continues trimming the wastes and eliminating the cost, to ensure information robustness, knowledge abundance, and innovation excellence in order to reach the high level of business maturity.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Monthly “CIO Master” Book Tuning: The Multifaceted Digital CIO Oct. 2018

The top CIOs today must have the unique business insight and high level of influence on business changes and digital transformation. 

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 on the digital CIO’s dynamic role.
     

    

The Multifaceted Digital CIO



The Multifaceted Digital CIOs Many organizations are at the strategic inflection point of the digital transformation, it is the broader and longer journey with many leaps and jumps, bumps and curves. IT plays a crucial role in knitting all important business elements into differentiated organizational competency. The pace of changes in IT would force more CIOs to shift into transformation-oriented and multifaceted digital leadership roles. Digital CIOs, are born to change, how they overcome the digital transformation challenges depends on their ability to think, adapt, proactively plan and execute, as well as their multifaceted leadership capacities.

The CIO as both Creative Theorist and Innovative Digital Practitioner Digitalization is the evolutionary business transformation which evolves production, adoption, assimilation, exploitation, and exploration of value-added novelty in the business. The purpose of digital businesses today is to advocate better ways to do things, amplify collective human capability and business capacity in order to compete confidently and keep the business growth momentum.

The Interdisciplinary CIOs The role of the CIO continues to evolve rapidly in the midst of the information growth and the accelerating changes in technology. The top CIOs today must have the unique business insight and high level of influence on business changes and digital transformation. They should practice expert power and interdisciplinary management disciplines all the time in order to become the trusted business partner.

The CIO as Digital Catalyst? With faster-paced changes, the exponential growth of information, and continuous disruptions often caused by technologies, the businesses are looking to IT for leadership around the competitive application of information & technology in a rapidly changing market. The role of modern CIO as the digital catalyst is to identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the high-performance business by linking all digital aspects together to create business synergy.

The CIO as the Digital Modernist? The modernist is a believer in or supporter of modernism, especially in the arts. Information & technology is both art and science. The digital modernist CIO is an advocate to catalyze change and lead digitalization. Many perceive engineering as an art because it involves creative thinking, personalized observation and judgment, design thinking, intuition, and innovation. To unleash the digital potential of the business, organizations need to understand that IT is not just technical or scientific, but also artistic and delightful.




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 #5000 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.




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Running a “Boundaryless” Digital Organization


Today’s digital businesses are nonlinear, volatile, interdependent, and uncertain. Digital blurs the geographical, functional, organizational, and even industrial borders nowadays. It means that organizations today need to be fast and flexible, have less boundary but better abilities for dots connections Tso that the business can adapt to changes effectively and innovate continually. Here are three aspects of running a “boundaryless” digital organization.

Horizontal connectivity: Organizations rely more and more on information and technology nowadays. Organizations, like individuals, need to be in flow to communicate fluently and operate smoothly. Traditional hierarchical lines will phase out and a collective of business functions will emerge working collaboratively to set digital strategy and achieve organizational goals collaboratively. The horizontal connectivity within the organization enables information flow and enforces cross-functional communication. The most effective digital workplace is one where collaboration and sharing are the norms; those multi-disciplinary and cross-functional teams are able to handle all value-adding steps in the whole flow of work and build a unique set of business capabilities. Forward-looking organizations experiment with different types of organizational structures to enforce business alignment, enablement, communication, collaboration, and harmony. The digital organizations are so technology-driven and information-intensive, it’s important to break down silos and overly rigid functional boundaries, design the dynamic business processes to keep information flow, idea flow, and that’s why business flow.

Vertical Permeation: In the industrial age, the overly rigid hierarchy is often the cause of bureaucracy and leads to the stagnation of the business. Delayering becomes a lens through which it is possible to examine and then fix bureaucracy and many other issues. When vertical boundaries are more permeable, it usually streamlines information flow and leads to faster decision making and easier idea access from people anywhere in the organization. An organization can approach the flow zone when the positions in its hierarchy have clear and accountable tasks. Flatter structures will help to speed up organizational response to changing markets. If structure drives behavior and then the responsibilities could be to reflect on the structure and the behavior. Everyone has a valuable contribution to make at whatever level in the formal hierarchy they happen to be placed, the goal for optimized organizational design is to get the mass collaboration, innovation through less hierarchy. Limited hierarchy works best in a creative environment where the free flow of ideas and their prompt implementation is a key element of success to improve business responsiveness and changeability.

Ecosystem Expansion:
The digital organization is an integral business system with processes, policies, culture, work climates, people (employees, customers, partners, etc.) The digital ecosystem is complex and volatile, every system is a subsystem of a larger system and simultaneously, it is always build up by subsystems. Some organizations leverage systems principles to introduce different concepts of hierarchy, in which systems evolve and interlink to create larger systems, within even larger systems, and so on. These systems of systems can forge or alter a myriad of relationships/alliances and make a seamless ecosystem expansion. The “boundaryless” organizations build institutional platforms that across the digital ecosystem for evolving customers and business partners and building longer-term business relationships. The whole business ecosystem needs to communicate, negotiate and cooperate with each other to re-invent. Digital organizations can manage information cycle effectively, develop great innovation capacity and problem-solving through seamless ecosystem expansion and harmonization.

Organizations all face fierce competitions and ambiguous digital environment. The more effortlessly you can optimize organizational structure, align, integrate, and optimize the important business factors inside an organization, the closer you can accelerate performance and lead changes. Organizations need to be loose to deal with the high business velocity and riptide of changes. By breaking down silos and overly rigid business boundaries, the digital organization should be able to assess to what extent the business has the capability and capacity to changes and apply the people-centric, holistic and multidisciplinary management approach to run a high performance and high mature digital business.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Monthly Foresight: Share the Vision and Shape the Future Together Oct. 2018


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, creativity is the most wanted trait for digital leaders and professionals today, and innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Which themes shall you set to advocate digital transformation? How to lead to the digital future effortlessly?

              Share the Vision and Shape the Future Together


The Emerging Trends as Digital Shaper: Organizational Development helps organizations become more mature by providing an environment within which employees at all levels are inspired and allowed to commit their best in the organization's service. This is definitely a leadership challenge because effective leaders inspire that commitment habitually. However, in most of the organizations, the leadership of that ilk is in short supply. What's the digital vision of business leaders and how to clearly define the business goals of such organizational tuning?

Do you Actively Participate in your Vision? Vision is to zoom in the future as if it were closer. We always measure ourselves in terms of our vision - what we intend to be or to accomplish, and what we leave behind is our action upon those intentions. We contemplate, we reflect, we learn, we act, we perceive, and our vision evolves and leads us - the reason we usually see that what we have accomplished is always less than our potential. The future is based on your visions. Either as an individual or an organization, do you allow them to evolve, and actively participate in it?

Digital Journey: From Vision to Orientation? The roadmap is a commonly used tool to communicate long-term thinking effectively. Strategists, planners, and architects use road-maps to communicate their vision of strategic capabilities and competencies. From vision to orientation, it is a logical step for organizations to prepare for their digital journey.

Five Views from the Vision Vision is to zoom into the future as if it were closer. Organizations large or small are on the journey of digital transformation, therefore, the vision thing does matter, it is one of the important leadership traits for driving to the right directions. More specifically, which views do leaders see or perceive via their visions?

Business Architecture and Future of Enterprises We all understand that the rapid changes in the marketplace and technological advances provide growth opportunities for business to thrive, but also put additional pressures on organizations to survive. So which role Business Architecture needs to play in the future of enterprises, and how Business Architecture, as a discipline, can help design and manage such future organization.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #5000th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 25 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to the businesses and society. 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 Digital Quality Readiness

Developing the business scope of best/next process to focus on improving quality attributes takes work and a level of credibility within the organization.

Quality has both tangible and intangible characteristics. Quality is defined by a number of factors, such as effectiveness, efficiency, flexibility, innovation, performance, manageability, operability, reusability, reliability, availability, or maturity. Digital quality readiness is about making an objective assessment of the quality related issues. Quality readiness is a key indicator of overall business differentiation and maturity. Digital quality is everyone’s business.



Where there are ineffectiveness and inefficiency in business management, there are quality gaps existing: High quality refers to simplicity, increase transparency of the business environment through eliminating something which is not used for improving business efficiency. From the fundamental operational management perspective, quality (Efficiency + Effectiveness = Q) is doing the right thing right, the first time, with no backlog and wastage and highest customer satisfaction rate. The business management quality check includes making an objective assessment of business effectiveness, efficiency, reliability, manageability, and flexibility, etc, to ensure its performance and maturity. But for reaching the high level of business maturity, quality management evolves design thinking and innovation as well. Generally, you have to have effectiveness first, and then make the effect more efficient. The successful integration and quality management will depend on the underlying business relationships between all of the crucial points and how they influence each other. Through quality integration, the enterprise is easily combined with assets for orchestrating high-performing businesses.

Nowadays quality and creativity are interconnected: Because quality without creativity is a commodity, and creativity without quality cannot create high-end commercial value. Creativity is an essential building block for running an innovative business. In fact, creativity is high-quality thinking to generate novel ideas and innovation is how to transform creative ideas to achieve their commercial value by providing quality products or services. If you consider being creative as a way of high-quality thinking, of perceiving things, of inventing, or of inspiring, etc, as a degree of quality is in everything people do and experience. It’s about putting profound knowledge, effective processes, and efficient tools actually used in actions and deliver innovative business solutions. Innovation is the high-quality activity and indispensable because through innovation management, the full cycle of idea generation, testing the hypothesis, failing, entreating, and improving, new knowledge is developed, and the fresh insight is captured for helping to understand the problem from the different angle, and further solve the old or emergent problems in the better way.

Quality Management is basically the fundamental purpose of serving the customer and meeting/exceeding their expectations: The rest of them are the tools, which can be used as the situation warrants. All the factors raised in the discussion are to address some of the aspects, which eventually influence the customer's satisfaction. Without human interactions, quality is not possible. How quality is defined and measured is crucial. It’s about putting profound knowledge, processes, and tools actually used in actions and delivered it. As a degree of quality is in everything people do and experience, quality management is to help them in doing what they are doing better, easier and so on. What is required is clarifying the purpose and engaging all the people involved in working together as a team to excel in the delivery of product/service/solutions to delight customers consistently.

From a talent management perspective, quality is the perfect mix of multiple characteristics: In reality, people are always the weakest link of organizations in either strategy management or change management. Quality employees are the ones who can work independently, have excellent problem-solving skills, well disciplined, have a "customer focus," and bring positivity and wisdom to the workplace. Quality leaders and employees demonstrate both intellectual understanding and emotional maturity; the good attitude and great aptitude. Quality leaders have the clear vision to lead forward, a unique set of capabilities to lead effectively and soft skills to communicate and motivate the team. Confidence and humility; character and charisma, creativity and discipline; toughness and gentleness; intelligence and childishness; uniqueness and fit-in, inquisitiveness and resourcefulness, the right dose of ego, and the good taste, etc, are all seemly paradoxical but important traits of people quality. High-quality leaders or employees have a winning mixture composed of character, creative intelligence, and competence in a humble frame of self-esteem which makes aware of his/her quality without needing to show them. Quality assessment is to evaluate both individual and team performance on how effectively they can improve the quality of products/service, their skill/capability/potential, as well as their learning agility to bring business to the next level of maturity. People quality often decides the quality of the other part of the business.

Quality management is not just the task of one specific department, it is the cross-disciplinary practices: Quality management is not the job of one department, but an overarching management approach to build a coherent, effective and holistic organization which needs to be well planned and thoughtfully renewal. "Quality management," like "change management," needs to be embedded into the corporate culture; it requires engaging all the people involved working together as a team to excel in quality products/services delivery. Quality management" is like "change management" in that both appear to be an oxymoron, in which quality and change = process-in motion and management = stabilization and control. Build up a positive emotional climate, foster positive relationships, communicate relentlessly. Quality management needs to be a cross-functional collaborative effort, not something one team does alone in a corner, in order to improve the entire digital business effectiveness and maturity.

Developing the business scope of best/next process to focus on improving quality attributes takes work and a level of credibility within the organization. The journey of digitalization often needs to work cross boxes instead within the box; go broader to embrace the digital ecosystem and dig deeper to fine-tune the underlying functions, empower people to evolve, innovate and accelerate. It’s critical to discover the strategic and predictive pathway to change, increase confidence, improve quality, and position a brand and leverage resources to make the digital paradigm shift effortlessly.