Friday, January 2, 2015

What’s CIO’s New Year Resolution

Leadership flows from a combination of character, learning agility, life experiences, capability & knowledge, success & failure and a desire to lead.

 CIOs play one of the most significant roles in leading organization’s digital transformation because they are in the unique position to oversight business processes and capabilities, information is the lifeblood, and technology is the innovation catalyst. We are living in a world that has perhaps moved faster than many people around us, what’s CIOs’ New Year Reflection & Resolution, the top priority, the leadership substance & style, and the trend of IT leadership & digital transformation?

CIO leadership reflection: Leadership is considered the top attribute for CIOs (by far). What are the most important attributes of leadership, and how can they best be attained? Leadership flows from a combination of character, learning agility, life experiences, capability & knowledge, success & failure and a desire to lead. It is an expression of one's personality through a group/team/organization of people. Just picking up finance, HR, project management, management training, leadership training, etc...gives you the skills, but does nothing to determine how they are applied. Putting it all together so people are passionate about the success of your project, organization, or company is a good start. Your staff, people need to feel that your vision and mission is now also theirs. This is a good measurement of CIO leadership. More specifically, CIO's resolution includes:

a. Build thought leadership reputation about leadership, strategy, technology vision, talent management.
b.Do you want the company and departments looking to you for leadership around the competitive appliction of technology in a rapidly changing market?
c. Do you personally want to adapt to changes to meet the shifting needs of your company and staff?
d. Do you want to lead change efforts at your company? Do you want to be in a constant learning mode?
e. Are you passionate about what technology, communication and positive change can do for the success of your company and beyond?


IT maturity reality check: IT enables the business and supports the applications its customers use to not just transact, but transform business. If the CIO isn't tied in closely to different business functions, and run in silo, IT is still in lower maturity. CIOs has to continue to lead IT transformation by questioning.
a. Is IT provocative: Does IT stretch, challenge, or interrupt the status quo?
b. Is IT grounded? Provide real world examples on how IT could work.
c. Is IT desired? Does the organization need this? Do the clients want this? Does IT help the business?
d. Does IT have a positive and bold message and brand?
e. Does IT provide guidance for the organization’s future?
f. Does IT expand the zone of possible change and development?
g. Is IT in a high-involvement process?
h. Does IT drive team building and organizational learning?


The trend to customer facing CIOs is continuing to gain momentum. In many industries IT has been seen--rightly or wrongly--as a 'support' organization and so its customer interaction is more limited. Now as we move further into the world of 'SMAC-IT' (Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Things), every industry will discover IT is deeply involved in the core business processes and key business capabilities. The days when IT could exist as a silo are gone. connection has always been critical - and is becoming more so. The CIO has to build a productive, cordial relationship with C-level peers - and ensure that IT is seen as a solution provider. The SMAC-IT evolution also explains the need for CIO and other CXOs’ collaboration: so much of what marketing does depends on IT today, and so much of what the products are becoming depends on IT tomorrow, that the functions will be inextricably intertwined. And if a CIO can't listen carefully to business concerns, playback for stakeholders with a certain amount of empathy to take care of them, and maintain a solid grasp of the strategic direction and focus of their business in order to set appropriate priorities to otherwise endless requests, then maybe they are in the wrong position. Digital IT shall not only satisfy the internal customers, perhaps more critically, how to work closely with customer service/sales & marketing department to make direct impact on the every touch point of end customer experience, because IT is the key differentiator to optimize business processes, build differentiated capability and improve corporate agility.


Due to the accelerated speed of business changes, IT is transforming from “build to last” to “design to change.” IT is playing the pivot role in digital transformation, and CIOs have to master both leadership philosophy and IT management disciplines, be the business strategist and tactical IT manager skillfully for thriving in the new year & beyond.

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