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

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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Child-Like Mindset

It is important to keep a child-like innocence and open-mindedness throughout one's life.

We all have child hood, we may still remember our imagination when we were a child, but cannot memorize such imaginable moment when we grow up. Is child-like mindset more audacious, intuitive, open and nature?

Child-like thinking is more intuitive. Sometime, a child can instinctively figure out the solution to a problem simpler than adult! They have better gut feeling or more “aha’ moments when discovering the new world, as they have more connected relationship with nature, they are open to unknowns, their intuitive mind can connect the dots boldly to create such flash of insight or unconventional wisdom.

Child-like thinking can produce innovation, because they have the beginner’s mind; enjoy experimenting; there’s no rule to limit their imagination; but when you enter your work you place yourself in a different mindset, you start to fear that your creativity will be seen as disruptive, infantile, you live up or down to other people's expectations, you set limit to fall into conventional wisdom, and you just become lack of the curiosity.

A child-like mind is full of imagination. As children we are conditioned to imagine, explore and create with cues from our environment and ability to discover and question it. As Einstein well put knowledge is limited, but imagination encircles the world. Children are not afraid of blurting out their thoughts. But adults are normally scared. Adult knows the world and set limit to stay in their comfort zone. They think for logical solution. Most of adult don't change their life radically than children. They hamper themselves creatively not just out of the desire to conform to a set of rules or guidelines but out of fear that they will be seen as unusual, strange, that they will not fit in.

Education effect upon child-like mindset: On one hand, education is the key to gain knowledge, and the mind equipped with knowledge can broaden one’s worldviews and sharpen one’s cognitive understanding, increase the mind’s capability and capacity to think critically and systematically; years of learning are required in order that one's contribution to change in the world be significant, and not simply incremental. However, the cons of education are perhaps that the intuitive mind is suppressed by the rational thinking process taught in school and society. The subconscious mind is suppressed to unleash the potential of breakthrough thinking, to bridge the visible and invisible, conscious and subconscious and physical and spiritual. The brains ability to pattern and its reticular activating system (RAS) that works between conscious and unconscious conspire with the way kids need to be encouraged and seek to simplify complexity.

Still, there are creative adults in almost every profession, especially like designers, artists, poets, etc. There are probably several component that are important for being innovative, such as creative, proactive, knowable (multi T-shaped), experienced, strong social capital and being at the right place at the right time. It is important to release of our childlike qualities, which we all still have, takes off the shackles of making corporate presentations and actually makes your presentation, be open, be curious, be childlike, and be free to think creatively.

Is effective leadership magical or methodical?

People have been asking if there is something "magical" or "special" about being a leader since time began. Just take a look at the endless debate around leadership substance and styles. Is effective leadership magical or methodical?

It is not magical, but good leaders make it look that way. It is much like top flight athletes - years of bloody hard work and constant practice so that the influence and execution is made to look effortless. Leadership is complex (not complicated) because one is dealing with people (not human resources) and ecosystem (not just business.) Leadership is simply the hard work of learning how to positively influence others toward collaborative effective action. It means taking time to think before acting. Once you've acted, it means reflecting long enough to know what just happened, why it happened, how it happened, and how to replicate the narrow path to success while avoiding the broad pathway to failure.

Leadership is methodical, but there is some magic in there. Effective leadership is methodical, it takes hard work and endurance, but appears magical to the observing eye. Learning and practicing leadership is a methodical process that is improved by constant learning and practice. A good leader never stops learning. And a good leader makes it look magical.  

Leaders are more often, like the magnet, they may also have a magical behavior. First, all employees in an organization feel "attracted" by leader and have a wellness and harmony relationship to reach the objectives. Great leaders find the time to do the simple things right. Taking a step back before acting, and reflecting on the act, are the simple things one needs to focus on. But the magic happens when you can naturally do things like the instinct without thinking, and you create a culture within your team where people feel open to giving you feedback on how you lead, and vice versa.

A great leadership starts with magic thinking, be open, be creative and be empathetic, then work with methodical process, practice, practice and practice; to achieve effectiveness and high maturity.

Knowledge Management best Quotes & Practices

Knowledge is the power, and digital is all about flow, the information flows, knowledge flows and mind flow…What are the insightful quote about knowledge management, what are some of the best practices that work to create a knowledge sharing rhythm and what are some of the latest tips on KM tools and governance?

The insightful knowledge and KM quotes:
·         Smart people are not those that remember every detail but those that know where to look for knowledge.  
·         A good Information Management program won't tell you where everything is, but it will help you find everywhere something is.
·         One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.  - Oliver Wendell Holmes
·         Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes." -- Peter Drucker.
·         A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. - Marcus Garvey

The best practices in KM evolve around three core elements - people, process and technology. All three need to be present to create a best practice. A few of the best practices are simple such as
·         Having a good plan to align knowledge strategy with the present business 
·         Use present technology and resources to integrate content from different silos
·         Present accurate information is the most important aspect 
·         Presenting information to the right people 
·         Proper semantics make the present knowledge valuable

KM is a lot about diplomacy - engaging and persuading people to take part so it can be delicate and it takes a long term negotiation, but when people buy in, they stay. The "rhythm" of KM needs to be synchronized with the rhythm of work, so that "KM thoughts and actions" are triggered as part of the working cycle, for example the standard "learn before, during and after" rhythm for project work.

Change management is the key. Another "best practice" or maybe just being part of what you do is to have a decent Communications Strategy supporting your KM efforts. It should be one of the foundation pillars. Whether they are success stories or helping evolve the culture or challenging people, good communications can support your efforts really well. Having communication efforts that are varied, clever, and showing how your "KM rhythm" is moving through should help your efforts. KM program has to fit or piggyback the company culture. Sometimes working out that culture and its people takes a bit of time but it's worth it. If the KM strategy is going against the grain of the organization, you have a real uphill battle. And if the culture of the organization is changing and KM will push that along a little, see where it's going and alter your strategy a little. Hence, the key success factor for any KM is Change Management. Setting stakeholders' benefit, minimize the cognitive gap to use needed technology, avoid impact in roles and responsibilities of people, these factors should be always considered when doing knowledge management.

Is Managing Complexity First Priority

Change is overwhelming, and complexity is inevitable. It takes complexity mind and strategic discipline to manage complexity.
Complexity is the key characteristic of digital age.Complex systems are, as their name implies "complex"-with nonlinear pattern or emergent behavior. unknown unknown; it is caused by the nature of randomness or even chaos. With accelerating speed of changes, business and its ecosystem becomes more complex than ever, complexity management is now significant part of change management, and managing complexity even becomes the first priority in the management agenda for many traditional legacy organizations.

Managing complexity is a misnomer. Life has always been complex, but two things serve to make modern complexity a different situation: the speed at which things happen and the connectedness in networks in the business environment. These two factors make managing in complexity, or managing in complex situations, a difficult skill to master. Systems thinking is necessary to succeed in complex situations, as only systems thinking allows you to act with the network in mind. Although each random event is not predictable, the general pattern or distribution of events is. It’s the very reason why population dynamics, quantitative risk analysis actually work. So the challenge is to evaluate the complex real-world in order to decide on, and take simple actions and to then monitor the potentially complex impacts of those actions so you can decide how to modify the actions, where necessary, to achieve the desired outcomes.

The complex nature of digital business will influence how strategy should make It is precisely the element of chaos or that feeling of things being out of our control that support the need for strategic planning - so that a set of values and goals can be applied to every situation and assessed. Organizations, companies or individual leaders can then determine how best to respond in accordance with the strategized direction instead of reacting.  A well formed adaptable strategy that understands this and is based on a systems approach helps to dictate the form/ pattern /distribution of the events or behavior of a system. The better we understand the interrelationships and interactions of the different parts of the whole the better we can craft the strategy. The element of surprise or simply change is the very reason that digital strategic planning is an on-going process, and not a static plan. Good strategy will, influence the probabilities but certainly not guarantee an outcome. Of course living in the ever changing world we do need to constantly question if the vision and strategic direction we have chosen is right. Not as simple as it sounds especially in large organizations and given our human nature. Randomness is not our enemy, it is rather the generator of opportunity and progress, any good strategy will take this into account.

Emergence which is a characteristic of all complex systems is, not always predictable but is both an inspiring and intimidating phenomenon. The fact is that change is happening at a much faster pace than ever before, requiring a much more rapid response in order not only to succeed but to survive. The days when businesses spent months doing all sort of analysis and preparing detailed plans are gone. Today is about being prepared and having the organizational capability to deal with the unexpected, without losing sight of the business objectives and priorities. 

Long term strategic planning provides a beacon, guidance, a framework for managing complexity and sustainability. The world is a mix of simple (known known), complicated (known unknown ), complex (unknown unknowns) and chaotic (unknowables). It is not just the complexity of organizations that poses problems for planning; it is the complexity of the economic systems in which the organizations exist that causes ever greater degrees of uncertainty. Strategic thinking, though, is hard work. Look at many possibilities and then focus on the most likely, and those with the greatest impact on the organization. Therefore, the risks to the enterprise become part of management thinking process – look at both the opportunities and threats within the possible risks. Did you really mean that organizations as complex systems are dynamic, self evolving and self perpetuating. Just like societies, they aren't always completely predictable. However, ALL actions are necessarily simple (known-knowns) because you can only implement something that you know. The consequences of your actions may be unknown but your actions must necessarily always be known-knowns and hence simple. 

Managing complexity is in essence a change management effort. So there’s fundamental question of managing change than managing complexity. One has to have a compelling reason for change. There always is at starting point for change, and that is: Why is change necessary? The reason should be the starting point. You have to paint a situation picture where your conclusion is that change is necessary, and get everybody on board. Get input from the others in the group so that the situation picture is as accurate as possible. 
Then you got at motivated group with a common operation picture trying to figure out what to do. Working according to your action list will do the job of finding a solution. Good change management is all about sound communication. Most people inherently resist change if they don't understand the nature of the change, why it's necessary, and what the consequences will be, especially the consequences for themselves. There's no doubt we need the support of people to make changes or to resolve complexity issues, so they need to understand!

Before change comes assessment. If the reason for the change can be well documented and clearly expressed to all of the stakeholders, change management will be a smoother process. All changes need to be aligned to and contextualized in terms of the overarching strategy of the organization. They need to be communicated at all levels and everybody needs to be aware not only of the impacts the changes will have on them, but of what the new expectations placed on them will be in terms of performance. Then, and back to the middle management piece,  the culture of a good closed loop management practice needs to be in place- PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act.) Did we do what we said we would do? Did we achieve the outcomes we planned? If not, why not? Then close the loop by locking in solutions to under-performance. And hold people to account! Human systems are open systems, which make them a challenge to manage. An actors/stakeholders analysis may help sort out the actors and avoid getting a blow back from any of them during a change process. 

 Change is overwhelming, and complexity is inevitable, but they are both fact that is happening all the time and a faster pace than never before. It is not changing for the sake of changing, or managing complexity to make it even more complicated. Strategic Change Management is about "have to think about the impacts and implications", otherwise is not more than firefighting or a complete waste of energy. And complexity management is part of change management effort, with focusing on apply systems thinking in evaluating circumstances, making decisions, taking actions to adapt to the changes and the world of uncertainties.

Digital Talent Manager's Thinking: Hire Mindset, Train for Skills

One’s thinking capability and styles may well decide which position they may fit in.

Many of us like the talent management mantra, “hire character, train for skills,” it indicates how important to get the “raw talent” or the right attitude; the complementary say could be “hire mindset, train for knowledge, “, if character comes through one’s heart and gut to be who you are, then mind shapes your professional persona, are you forward thinking or backward looking? Are you open minded or conservative in the heart; Are you intellectually curious or fundamentally pragmatic? Do you enjoy the change or prefer stability? And so on.

The right mindset is more critical than ever due to the accelerating changes. The right mind drives good attitude. Time and time again attitude trumps static knowledge, and raw intelligence trumps skills. We can train for skills when you have the right mind and positive attitude and raw intellect to absorb the technical material. When a person relies on their technical skills alone they most likely will get the job done, but no passion to grow and no attitude to take extra miles.

One’s thinking capability and styles may well decide which position they may fit in. The formal education can teach you certain level of knowledge, but it cannot teach you how to think. The experience can make you be fluent in mostly linear skills, but without thinking capacity, you can not further sharpen the synthetic capability to jump start to the new horizons.  

Hiring mindset means to discover the very talent who can "figure it out." The right mind is the foundation to build competitive capabilities and drive the right attitude. That flies in the face of "hiring just for skills." Consider the position and environment you are hiring for. For example, if the role requires judgment, temperament, skills to persuade a larger group, understanding global social capital, managing diverse interests etc, filling it with a more systems thinking, complexity thinking and empathetic thinking type is the right approach. 
Talent, emotional intelligence, empathy, and passion are things that cannot be taught, they are part of the mindset; and you have to sharpen on your own based on the authenticity. The talent managers themselves are better practicing the reflective thinking and critical thinking, continue to ask: Does the value added skills that you see in the individual meet what you are looking for? Is there a cultural match? Or at senior leadership level, are you hiring a change agent or a transactional manager. We can train the technical skills that are needed for our specific needs, but we can't always train for a match in the team work skills or the enthusiasm to learn and the individual’s ability to strive to be the best at what they do

Passion, creativity, motivation and capability etc are all based on mindset, it can be sharpened, but cannot be taught, you just have to figure it out. And it is crucial to build talent capability portfolio, not just the skill set, digital organizations shall more proactively hire the right mind, and grow their talent to unleash both individual and business potential in continuum.

Advanced Analytics, Which Stage are you in?

Data, is the raw material from which businesses will extract the nuggets of insight.

Companies are collecting more and more data now. Ability to meaningfully analyze and create a strategy around the analysis determines which companies are more profitable. The data is there but how do you use it to solve either strategic concerns or operational issues through analytics? Which stages are advanced analytics currently in, and what’re the emerging technology trends in driving its maturity?

Analytics is the competitive advantage for business’ growth. Advanced Analytics should be and surely are implemented in most of the large corporations around the world, from a cross-industrial perspective, many have embraced it and are taking advantage, and others will give it a try. The small to mid size companies require the same type of KPIs and actionable intelligence as the large ones, at a different scale, but they certainly have most of the same objectives and experience the same external/internal constraints, so modeling /predicting, is key to their survival and success. Advanced analytics solutions will give all kinds of businesses the capability to anticipate the future. This is where they can really differentiate themselves from their competitors. In order to achieve this, they need to build an analytical roadmap and invest in software, people, and infrastructure. They need to pay particular attention to their Data, the raw material from which they will extract these nuggets of insight.

Data quality and data management is key factor for analytics success. The ability to connect various sensor systems effectively at the bottom of the stack, and then to quickly and easily identify relationships, for forensic and predictive needs, at the top of the stack, is key. An incredible amount of analytics nowadays is combining data from multiple sources and seeing the connections via a graph-oriented database. The ranges in applications go from leveraging social information and demographics for customer service, marketing, human capital management, preventing insider or poorly priced trading in financial services, relating genomic data to clinical and post-clinical drug evaluation. These are difficult to implement with relational SQL. We can't discuss Advanced Analytics without putting context around technology trends, such as; unstructured and very large datasets, or Cloud services, or the IOT, or stats packages & functions, etc. 

There are four stages of Analytics that are currently underway, different organizations perhaps are in the different stage of analytics journey, from leveraging hindsight to forecast the future; from diagnosing the problems to suggesting actions. "Execution Support" is important, either under the "prescriptive" umbrella, or as a new step. Once data are aggregated, interpreted and strategies defined based on the insights, the right tools can make the right data available at the right level of the organization to implementing these strategies.with emergent digital technologies, analytics tools  today is lightweight, but smarter:
1) Stage 1 - Descriptive - Typically the domain of Data Warehouse as the repository and the traditional BI tools. The data is never current so users are trying to make current decisions based on historical data. 
2) Stage 2 - Diagnostic - The nimble analytics service provides more "Agile" capabilities to ingest large datasets, and visualize the results. For most organizations there's still a long way to go. 
3) Stage 3 - Predictive - this is where large, unstructured datasets (Big Data) and stats functions such as 'R' converge. Organizations can process internal & external datasets to make intelligent predictions of future outcomes. 
4) Stage 4 - Prescriptive - this is where Predictive Analytics & Machine Learning converge. The datasets drive the Analytics, which in turn refine the dataset, so the Prescriptive Analytics become refined and more accurate over time.

Analytics is more pervasive in modern businesses. However, there’re mix bag of stories of big data experiment. Some leading organizations achieve high ROI by deploying their data successfully; on the other hand, the failure rate of analytics project is still considerably high, that makes many executives hesitate to invest in. It is fair to say now it’s reaching an inflection point for organizations to unleash their business intellectual potential via advanced analytics, but it still takes time for getting technology maturity, methodology/process maturity and talent maturity.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Digital High-Performing Mind

A high-performing digital mind can think logically, but outside of the box as well; do the right things and do things right. 
At industrial age, the performance is mainly evaluated via quantitative result, can you just take the order to do things right? However, digital means change, customer centricity, options and beyond.   The workplace of the new digital era simply won't accommodate a lot of your former beliefs about how your job and organizations ought to work. The game of work has changed! It has been changed for good reason, to fertilize creativity and create multi-dimensional values. More specifically, how does a digital high-performing mind think?

To effectively manage your performance in the new world of work, consider shaping a more adaptive mindset; your perspective heavily influences your performance. Realize that some of your well developed work habits may now interfere with your effectiveness. The more you struggle to apply former problem-solving and decision making techniques to the new game, the harder it is to score.
For example, at industrial age, leaders or managers are expected to have all the answers to the questions being asked; with flood of information and new normal of uncertainty and ambiguity, leaders are more in the position to frame the right questions, and orchestrate the team to discover the solutions collectively. Knowledge workers have to spend more time on thinking, than just doing. and pondering both doing the right things and doing things right. Knowledge is only clicks away, creativity matters more.  Change your mindset, the way you frame things at work, your perspective, your approach, the way you process information and events. By making the mental shift necessary to play the new game, your work won't seem so overwhelmingly complex and confusing.

A high-performing digital mind is the purpose driven winning mind. The high performing mind in industrial age is that winning is the only thing, like sport; there're similarity, they both need to follow the rules and win gracefully, the best athletes are also high talented, hard-working professionals. However, there are parallels here between sustained success in sport and sustained success in business. While success in sport can be achieved without good virtues or values, sustained success in a business in particular, relies on good virtues like business purpose and value, vision, professionalism, teamwork, trustworthy, empathy and loyalty. You might call these shared values or a belief system or a common principle. Look at your organization in a new light. What are its new values? As value is multidimensional, there’re economical value, social value, utility value, reputational value, etc. What are its most urgent priorities? What are the new realities for the organization and for you? How can you get ahead of the curve and engage the future? Consider what contributions you can make to add unique value--to the organization and for yourself as a leader or an employee or as a human? New thinking is required and, quite possibly, a lot more nerve. This is Performance Management in action!

A highly performing digital mind is a growth mind; you need to employ a life-long-learning attitude as an individual in order to keep up with the trend. With the shortened knowledge life cycle, you definitely need to adopt, change, learn new skills, and genuinely are eager to contribute in the new environment to the new realities facing your enterprise/organization. However, the real challenge is the leadership at the very top which should be totally committed in preparing & enabling the enterprise for the Change. Because work is different from what it was in the past, it is easy to believe that it is more complex. However, today's situation calls for new relationships - between you & your work & your employer will sustain & evolve towards maturity, only with this genuine desire of the top, by enabling participation and contributions from every committed person over a long time frame, who is eager to adapt to the change.

Most hindrances to a successful project or opportunity are the old habits -- the comfortable and static spaces were success was once found, or climbing the ladder by who you know, not who you are or what you know. However, future success in an ever changing environment can only be found by stepping into the unchartered waters, feeling uncomfortable and relying on one's ability to figure it out, a path finder and value creator. A high-performing digital mind can think logically, but outside of the box as well, insightful, build contributing partnerships, solve the problems through alternative solutions, compete via uniqueness and win with purpose.

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