Monday, October 24, 2016

The Digital CIO’s Five Priorities in Daily Grinding

A digital-ready CIO is a visionary and transformational leader, not just a transactional manager, for the long term.

Being a contemporary CIO is a tough job facing unprecedented complexity and numerous dilemmas, due to change nature of technology and exponential growth of information, CIOs seem to be always in the hot seat, with the pressure to reinvent IT to adapt to changes with rapidly increasing speed. Since so many CIOs have been perceived as tactical IT managers, rather than visionary business leaders,  and business still thinks IT as a service desk, rather than a strategic partner. The forward-looking CIOs have to build their credibility as trusted business adviser via setting the right priority in the key areas which need daily focus and manage the time and resource effectively. Here are five priorities in CIOs' daily grinding.

Strategic focus -CIOs need to spend a significant amount of time on strategic matters in their daily grinding: CIOs have to get the transformation agenda right to refine IT reputation and have access to resources (external and internal) to achieve the desired ROI. CIOs should always come to strategy meeting well-prepared because IT strategy is key INPUT of business strategy. IT strategy is not a "to-do list," but an integral component of business strategy. Ideally, IT strategy should provide the unique set of 'capability' to the business and offer alternative solutions and flexibility to address the business challenges or opportunities, and then IT will be asked to deliver the necessary capabilities to support the agreed dynamic business strategy. IT faces unprecedented opportunity to refine its reputation, also needs to take more responsibility as a true business partner. It is an opportunity to demonstrate execution of responsibility. IT is always asking to be recognized as a strategic business enabler and now that it actually has an opportunity to be the one.

Business Engagement – Spend time with key business teams and understanding which direction organization is progressing. In most of the organizations, IT is setting back and waiting for the request. IT needs to be proactive, not reactive. IT has to be a consultant and an advisor to the business to maximize the revenue. IT leaders should understand the business view on IT, and keep refining the IT strategy to meet business needs. Be authentic in your leadership and care about the business. By caring, it doesn't mean you lose the ability to make tough decisions but through your reputation, your actions will be interpreted positively, even though for individuals and/or business functions it may not always be. IT has to be configured in a way to understand the business and set the architecture to deliver the business and market need.
Projects//Portfolio/Operations Review – Check the executive scorecard or automated dashboards to review key people, finance, operational and project deliverable periodically. Operation review to “keep the lights on,” is still fundamental, and project portfolio management to balance “run-grow-transform” business scenario is also one of the most important tasks for IT to make the long-lasting difference. The organizations who are so successful in delivering its IT projects is to ensure that there is READINESS among other important aspects of schedule, scope and cost. Plan, implementation and measuring them well are the key steps in delivering expected result. Hence, CIOs should leverage scoreboard and other management tools for ensuring quality, value, and on-time IT delivery.

Personal development –The CIO is the leadership role, not just a management job. Leadership is not a setting- hour job, but a continuous self-mastery journey. Your leadership vision is based on the breadth of knowledge and the depth of insight. CIOs need to spend time on learning, mastery, set the strong leadership tone to build the culture of learning in their IT organizations. The CIO attributes have moved in such a way that the cutting edge IT type is not enough, digital mindsets, nonlinear skillset, and integrative capabilities are required. Keep industry connections warm, leverage tools to capture the technology or market trends, and envision the future of IT. The world moves too fast and marketing, finance, technology, leadership are all intertwined. You have to be well-rounded to succeed as an executive. The person who moves up the IT ranks and thus landing in the CIO spot will also need to have an inherent knowledge of the business, because every IT project is business initiative, and every modern business function has IT embedded in it.

Develop your people - Dedicate open door time for people to come and discuss any challenges, or share any innovative ideas and creative problem-solving. People are the center of the business, often the weakest link as well. Assuming the CIO has the proper empowerment, and it is targeted toward making good people decisions, he/she should need critical thinking or the structured thinking upon talent strategy, and well align the employee’s career goal with the business strategy. Many organizations have forgotten one of their main social responsibilities, people development. This is also a long-term view and one of the main causes of business failure. CIOs’ talent management approach includes the capacity to appraise the potentialities of co-workers, build a creative, productive, and fair working environment, encourage people to express “who they are” with authenticity, become “who they want to be,” and bring wisdom to the workplace.

Every CIO is unique, how CIOs provide the appropriate leadership and how they convey to leverage IT for business value depends on CIOs' vision and leadership strength and style. Generally speaking, digital CIOs need to be both intelligent and diligent, strategic and innovative, influential and open-minded. Every CIO is different and whatever the management team needs or wants at the time out of the CIO will also be different, and by type of business needs will be different. It’s whether you can be what is needed at the time and execute to those expectations. But for the long run, a digital-ready CIO is a visionary and transformational leader, not just a transactional manager.




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