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.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

“Digital Master” Book Monthly Tuning: Going Digital Systematically June 2017

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. At the heart of digital, it is people and how to build a customer-centric organization. But how to assess the digital fitness of your organization for such a paradigm shift.

       Going Digital Systematically

  • The Interdisciplinary Approach to Digital Transformation? Compared to changes, the transformation is more radical, digital transformation is not just about experimenting the latest digital technologies or playing the fancy digital gadgets. You have to optimize the underlying functions, processes as well as fine-tune soft business elements and expand changes to all directions; you have to take an interdisciplinary approach and collective leadership to manage a digital transformation successfully.

  • The Triple Focus of Digital Transformation: With rapid change and continuous digital disruptions today, to stay competitive, forward-looking organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation. At the high maturity level, companies need to embed digital into the very fabric of the business, explore digital in a structural way and laser focus on the most important things to get business digital ready.
  • Taking a Step-Wise Approach for Leading Digital Transformation At the high maturity level, organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving innovations and the full-fledged digital transformation. Either being a disrupter or being disrupted, digital makes significant impacts on every aspect of the business from people, processes, to technology and capability both horizontally and vertically. And organizations have to take a step-wise approach, continue assessing, fine-tuning and adapting, ride above the learning curve and take the journey of digital transformation steadfastly.
  • Going Digital Systematically: Going digital is a no brainer. If so, then why are so many companies still hesitated to go radical digital? Why are there so many companies not taking advantage of customer-facing opportunities to digitize interactions with digital technologies? Even during the journey, shall you continuous check: Are you doing the right things? Are you doing them the right way? Are you doing them well? Are you achieving the desired outcomes? Are you transforming to be ready for the future? Are you shaping the good digital strategy about the future and positioning appropriately for your place within it? Do you have enough resource to implement the digital strategy? Are the assumptions and risks understood and manageable?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.9+million page views with about #3800+ 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 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.

The New Book “Performance Master” Chapter III Introduction: Digital Performance Dots Connection

Enterprise performance management is an integration of multiple management disciplines and the development of a set of performance management practices. The business management is, in essence, the strategy management and performance management continuum. Either the business or the entire world is transforming from siloed functions to the sum of pieces into a connected whole, Hence, digital performance management should also take a holistic approach, to connect all important dots, with multifaceted perspectives.

Performance Management vs. Decision Management: Enterprise performance management is about how the organization manages performance such as strategic and operational plans, metrics, and day-to-day decisions structurally. Business decision management is about how the organization leverage tools, systems, and people to weigh in varying factors for improving decision effectiveness across the organization. All company’s performance is directly related to the decisions people make every day, from executives to the frontline, across functional areas and regions. Enterprise Performance Management is more as decision management. After making strategic decisions and starting to implement processes, it is important to follow-up to ensure proper and effective implementation. Once you make a decision, then you must take actions. And the proper set of performance metrics will help to present the tangible results via actions taken, also make it possible to improve the future decision-making. The issue of performance management measurement isn’t about accuracy, but of validity and reliability. It’s important to measure performance success in meeting the business vision and strategic goals which are set by strategic goals which are set by the strategic decision makers of the organization. Your measures should cover all areas that contribute to value creation including service quality, employee engagement, customer satisfaction and financial outcomes.

Performance Management vs. Digital Organization Design: Measuring and Managing performance means setting performance metrics, making objective assessments, understanding results, adjusting plans and structure, and making decisions to ensure the great business results. The reality in most organizations though is the performance which is forcibly jammed within an existing organizational structure with silo functions and overly rigid hierarchy. Organizational structure design is part of the digital strategy management because the characteristics of the digital world are complex, uncertain, and unknowns are commonplace, you just have to prepare for the different scenario. New generations of digital technologies such as social platforms or other collaboration tools are enabling not only the structured processes of the past but also the unstructured processes of the digital normality, for enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration, harnessing innovation, and ensure the performance of the entire organization is superior to the sum of its pieces.   

IT performance vs. Corporate Performance: Information Technology plays a critical role in digital transformation. Nowadays IT can either make or fail the business even overnight. IT performance has to be clearly linked with the business performance. Contextually, the measurement method is to persuade management the progress of strategy execution. IT metrics have to evolve from being a cost center to becoming a revenue generator. The only way to do this is to show a clear link to top executives between IT performance and top-line revenues. This is an important step to building IT reputation as a strategic business partner and growth engine. It is also important to measure IT performance for improving customer satisfaction. You should look at how many of your KPIs measure the end result from a customer perspective of outcome-driven rather than output driven. IT internal users or end customers whatever works for your business, consider using the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to measure customers or partner advocacy of IT organization. Every new technology adopted must facilitate business but also bring down the incremental cost of growth and the time to market. Hence, running IT as a business, IT performance has to be clearly linked with the business performance.

Hyper-connectivity is one of the most critical digital characteristics. Hence, it is important to understand that digital business development and transformation is the paradigm shift which takes a multidisciplinary approach. In fact, digital performance management is not an isolated management discipline, but a dynamic practice to connect the management dots and tell the full data-based story persuasively.

The “Push & Pull” Forces of Digital Transformation

Digital is fluid, digital is also complex. It becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of "non-linear" interaction, interdependent relationships, and hyperconnected association. You can't separate things properly, and often you cannot predict the actual effect of interaction straightforwardly. Therefore, running a high-performance digital business is no longer a single dimensional effort to applying the cool technologies or focus on short-term profitability only, but a multidimensional pursuit to embed digital into core business processes and build differentiated business capability. It is about how to leverage the “push & pull” business forces to adapt to changes and orchestrate a full-fledged digital transformation.

Organizations have to push themselves out of the comfort zone, but also pull all critical business elements to build the unique business competency: Compared to the considerably static industrial age, digital means the increasing speed of changes and exponential growth of information. Organizations today can no longer just react to the dynamic business environment without building change as an ongoing organizational capability. Organizations today need to constantly “push themselves” out of the comfort zone to improve the business and seeing change as an opportunity while keeping a holistic overview of the business are the core messages of the text. The digital paradigm shift is inevitable. To achieve such a state of effortless digital flow and dynamic balance, they also have to pull both hard and soft business elements together to build the differentiated business competency. So the organization of the future starts with a changing nature. The digital business dynamic allows the organization to morph as life conditions and organizational capacities change to allow a better fit for the purpose. And organizations can make a leap from “doing digital,” to “going digital,” and “being digital.”
Push/encourage talented people to "think in bigger boxes," also pull the great ideas over to the innovation pipelines and build a strong innovation ecosystem: It’s crucial to build a creative working environment in which people are encouraged to learn and share. The real power of digital business 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 great ideas can flow freely via breaking down silos and robust business processes and flexible organizational structure. Wit the fast pace of changes, none can sit back and merely respond passively. For every thorny or emergent problem, push for multiple solutions, take the time to look at every situation from multiple points of view (customer POV, supplier POV, management POV, etc), pull all necessary business resources to develop innovative business solutions.

You are motivated to keep moving forward via a necessary “push,” and inspiration is the “pull” factor for the continuum of motivation: Push” or “Pull,” which one is more effective for motivation? Digital leaders and professionals today should be inspired to take advantage of today’s digital convenience to explore their potential and get motivated to achieve their professional goals and collective business goals. Motivation is the personal needs for each one and it is different according to personality and culture. Motivation usually has two elements of “push and pull” factor. You are pushed to get out of the comfort zone, and inspiration is the pull factor in the continuum of motivation.  \You are motivated to move away from something because it is painful and also move towards something which is inspiring. Inspiration is something that elicits an awe or admiration that can also motivate you to action. From talent management perspective, motivation can be either the carrot or the stick. Motivation is the additional urge to get something done. The only one who can motivate you is you. You have to have the desire and be willing to challenge yourself to be all you can be.

Digital organizations are organic, alive, holistic, vibrant, energetic, responsive, fluid, and innovative, in relationship with its environment dynamically, and above all enhances and supports the dignity of the creative human spirit. Through all necessary “push & pull,” “bend over,” and “stretch out,” the organization can strike the right balance and achieve the premium state of the business such as high performance, responsiveness, fludity, innovativeness, intelligence, and people centricity.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Digital Board’s Digital Leadership Inquires

Digital boards are like the steering wheel of their company, leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories for reaching the ultimate digital destination.

The corporate board as high-level governance body plays a crucial role in business advising and monitoring, as well as setting key tones in organizational culture style and leadership quintessential. Corporate boards also need to advocate changes and become the mastermind behind the digital transformation.

Do your leaders have the ability to cope with complexity? People are complex, business is complex, and the world is complex, as the matter of fact, they are becoming more complex due to the explosive information and the accelerated speed of changes. Complexity is diverse, ambiguous, and dynamic with unpredictable outcomes. On one side, modern organizations spend significant time and resources to deal with complexity, and thus, it needs to be optimized to make it simpler. On the other side, organizations "become complex," as an evolutionary trend, not for their own amusement, they do it to respond to environments more proactively. And much of that environment is experienced through trying to get things done. The hyper-connectivity nature of digital organizations can bring the new level of business complexity. Complexity is a systematic thinking concept, and it’s not the opposite of "simplicity.” In systematic thinking, systems such as organizations, biological systems, enterprise as a system, etc., can be characterized as being complex if they have non-linear feedback loops; such systems can exhibit emergent behavior. Simple systems can have complexity in that they have non-linear feedback loops which can result in emergent properties and 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 supports 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 strategic direction instead of reacting.

Are the people in key leadership roles prepared and able to develop the business strategy and make the necessary operational changes? Organizations and their people learn through their interactions with the environment. It is the responsibility of the leaders to initiate his or her team to break the silos to realize the common goals or strategy which are far more important than the personal and departmental goals. Emergence which is a characteristic of all complex systems is, not always predictable but is both an inspiring and intimidating phenomenon. In the world where change is significantly speeding up, that business leaders couldn’t predict the future with a certain degree of accuracy, and the strategy can no longer stay static, the business goals can no longer be well framed in advance. Business leaders should realize the breakthrough success in digital business requires not only forward-thinking strategies but also a transformation of the company's underlying functions and organization. The strategy is no longer a static document sitting on executive’s desk for years, but a cascading strategy-execution continuum.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 survive but to succeed. 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. In such a new normal, efficiency and productivity no longer guarantee the business’s survival, agility-the ability to change with speed, flexibility-the alternative options to do the things; and antifragility-the new trait to thrive at volatility are the new capabilities for business to success.
What leadership development and training do we need? Leadership development is a strategic imperative. Leadership development, especially for large corporations is not only a continuous process but also one which has a high focus on the top management. There is a surging demand for training future leaders, the current need is related to the realization that the gap is widening between boomers and the next group of workers. Whether this is related to just the generation gap or the gap between the industrial age and the digital age, they are now recognizing the need to prepare employees for the not so distant future. Until there is enough sponsorship from the topmost echelon the organizations cannot get the desired results. Succession planning, reviewing the current talent and talent pipeline, building very clear time-bound action plans for the current and pipeline is extremely important. Leadership development has to be integrated with all other policies and procedures. Organizations not only need good managers to take care of today’s business; but also have to grow the future leaders to leapfrog their companies for long-term prosperity. The key to organizational success is to integrate next generation of leaders, tap into their way of looking at the world, solving problems in very collaborative working style. It starts at the hiring process, needs to be linked to company culture, mission, vision, and values, and of course, there is a direct link to performance management.
Digital boards are like the steering wheel of their company, leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories for reaching the ultimate digital destination. Although you can not predict every event happening on the journey. The important issue is how the board accommodates diverse opinions and how they assess them and converge the diverse thought into wise decisions all BoDs support.

The New Book “Performance Master” Chapter 2 Introduction: Digital Performance Indicators

The real purpose of performance indicators: The goal of Performance Indicator is to identify if the adopted strategy, operation, and process, etc., is working toward the objective.

Selecting the right measure and measuring it right are both art and science. Choosing the right KPIs is crucial. The challenge is that people have their own take on performance indicators (PI). Generally speaking, performance indicators must be aligned with the corporate goals and objectives, they should also be directly relevant to the activities that businesses are attempting to manage.

The real purpose of performance indicators: The goal of Performance Indicator is to identify if the adopted strategy, operation, and process, etc., is working toward the objective. Performance Indicators should be periodically reviewed and revised depending on what the firm’s strategy is and what they are targeting. Key Performance Indicators should be under constant review to determine if they actually provide the necessary insight into what is happening in order to make informed decisions. A true and meaningful KPI should last as long as the business strategy is set. KPIs that are concerned with long-term activities clearly should have a longer lifetime than short-term oriented KPIs. Otherwise, inaccurate KPIs are the result. Outcome related KPIs are as relevant as, even more relevant than process-related KPIs. Using process KPIs is necessary, however, it is not sufficient. KPIs should reflect both well-performing activities as well as those that need to improve. The real purpose of Performance Indicators is to provide business insight and monitor the business progress and performance. Being able to show the business benefits in hard facts such as measurement helps greatly.

Performance Indicators vs. Key Performance Indicators: Performance Indicators (PI) measure the business progress across a broad range of intended outcomes and are used at all levels of the organization. Key Performance Indicators can be a subset of PIs, or they can roll several PIs into one. They are high-level indicators that everyone in the organization can relate to. When implementing KPIs usage, it is important to ensure that they are aligned to the overall strategy and operations of the business, you select the critical few and the KPIs are a combination of leading, lagging, financial and non-financial indicators. Good Performance Indicators help you make better decisions to improve the business performance. As the saying is going, you can only manage what you measure, performance measurement is one of the most significant steps in the overall performance management.

 Strategic KPIs vs. Operational KPIs: Business should be able o define and align operational KPIs to strategic KPIs for successful tracking of the effectiveness of strategic KPIs. It is imperative that you link lower level metrics with higher level strategic objectives. That’s what most of the strategy management methodologies are all about. The effective way to track the achievement of strategic goals is to cascade those down throughout the organization with the use of operational KPIs. This is particularly critical if you are to get employee understanding of what the strategic goals are and how their work fits into that bigger picture. It does mean that at the operation level, there should be some metrics that can be tied directly be achieving strategic goals so that every employee knows how their role fits in and can be freed up to do what they can to try to achieve the desired strategic outcomes.

Selecting the right measure and measuring it right are both art and science. KPIs influence management behavior as well as business culture, and poorly designed or implemented KPIs can be very damaging the quality of business execution and the culture of the team. Selecting PIs and KPIs need to follow SMART principle - be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely.

Accelerating Digital IT via Avoiding these Pitfalls

Enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration is one of the crucial steps to avoid IT management pitfalls.

Many organizations are on the journey of digital transformation, but it is the path not being fully discovered and explored yet. Or put another way, as every organization is at the different stage of the business growth cycle, each of them has to match their own pace, fit their own circumstances, and develop their own set of next practices for accelerating digital transformation. There are many roadblocks and hidden barriers on the way. Old IT thinking cannot move fast enough in the era of the digitalization. Digital CIOs today need to have both business acumen and technological understanding to become the trustful business advisor and empathetic IT manager in order to lead effectively and digitize IT effortlessly.

IT failure is caused by the management of IT rather than just IT management: The traditional IT organization was run as the isolated support function to provide some commoditized services without sufficient understanding of the top line business expectation as well as how IT can drive changes and accelerate digital transformation proactively. Thus, there is a big gap between IT and business, there is a disconnect between what business wants and what IT thinks business wants. And often IT failure is caused by the management of IT rather than just IT management. Nowadays, information is permeating into every corner of the business, and technology is the disruptive force behind the digital transformation. IT management is not just the business of IT department, it’s the responsibility of the entire company. To unleash the full potential of information, IT is not a function that can be handled only inside the IT department or by IT managers. The responsibility for evaluating and monitoring the performance of IT investment lies with the C-Level/board leadership team. IT failure is caused by solving the wrong problems (fixing the symptom only) due to the miscommunication between IT and business. The wrong cause of the problem will perhaps grow new or larger problems and create the disconnect between IT and the business. Also, when they do this, they allow problems to grow under the surface, out of sight, out of mind, make it worse, or until it’s too late and fail the business fatally. Often, IT is not empowered by the top leadership team to work across the functional border and solve the issues via a holistic approach. They do not have all the information needed, they do not have all mechanism & authority to collect that information and they do not have all the skills necessary to evaluate the information. Therefore, the effective management of IT is not just within IT, and IT failure is caused by the management of IT rather than just IT management.

IT gets stuck at the lower level of maturity when it focuses on operations in a low-risk territory and makes incremental improvement only: Solely focus on quantifiable benefits or short-term result stifles innovation. The reason most of IT organizations get stuck in the lower level of maturity is that they are too busy on fixing the symptoms, or taking care of immediate problems, not spending sufficient resources on strategic business initiatives and innovation management. Digitizing IT is a transformative management discipline with a long-term perspective, it is an evolutionary approach to fine-tune the underlying business functions as well as all important business elements (both hard and soft), to manage a balanced business innovation portfolio and leapfrog the entire organization to the next level of maturity. Many disruptive opportunities are brought to life with new thinking on how to monetize them. A disruptive product or innovations is a breakthrough in the existing solutions, something that has a potential to disruptively challenge all existing solution. It is critical to look at innovation from the perspective of developing business-wide innovation capabilities, with all necessary components including innovation leadership, innovation culture, innovation practices, tools, recognition system measurements, risk approach - not just controlling the risk, but managing risks with high mature management discipline.

IT is perceived as a support function only when it only measure things from IT operational lens, not via business or customer perspective: When IT only measures things from the inside-out operational lens, the business doesn’t have a data-based oversight on what IT can contribute to the business’s growth and build the business competency. Make sure IT and business are always on the same page.  IT metrics need to evolve to something that matters to the business audience; at the same time that "business sentiment" needs to get put into something more tangible. IT management needs to keep collecting feedback from the business upon how to improve IT services and satisfy customers, manage a healthy “run, grow, and transform” IT portfolio in calibrating IT growth with the steadfast pace. The set of questions or measurement includes such as: Does IT create a revenue opportunity? Does IT create competitive advantage? Does IT solve a business need or meet customers’ expectation? Is IT priority and business priority consistent? Does IT help to attract new customers or retain current customers? Furthermore, the performance measure setting should focus on achieving the ultimate goals of the organization as a whole, not just the individual or the team’s performance.

Enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration is one of the crucial steps to avoid IT management pitfalls. Frequent and early feedback will mitigate directional problems and ensure the solution delivered is exactly what the customers want. It is also important to get guidance from the board and build the peer to peer relationship within the top leadership team. Without effective guidance/support from the board, the managers in the IT department are perhaps working in the dark -mushroom management. IT needs to move up the maturity level, in pursuit of effectiveness and performance by having governance in place, with a long-term focus to get digital ready.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 6/23/2017

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating and sharing.
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.9 million page views with 3800+ 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. Here is the weekly insight about digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.

  The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 6/23/2017
  • Take an Evolutionary Approach to Manage Innovation? At the static industrial age, most organizations are focusing on improving margins by reducing the bottom-line cost rather than the top-line growth. For those organizations, innovations are still serendipitous. However, with increasing speed of changes and continuous digital disruptions, businesses today face fiery competitions and rapid digital shift either technologically or economically, innovation is no longer “nice to have,” but must have differentiated business capability. So, serendipity can be planned into innovation management. Forward-looking organizations take an evolutionary approach to manage innovation in a structural way.

  • Digital CIOs as Business Strategists and Artistic Technologists At the industrial age, CIOs are often perceived as the technology geek or the back office technician to keep the lights on, and most IT organizations are struggling to align with the business, get stuck at the lower level of maturity for keeping things functioning. Nowadays, the lightweight digital technologies become more mature, IT is striving to integrate with the business, and IT has to move up its maturity from functioning to firm to delight. Thus, digital CIOs need to be the business strategist and artistic technologist for running high-innovative, high-performance, and high-mature digital organization.

  • The Corporate Board as the Mastermind of the Digital Transformation Digital boards are like the steering wheel of their company, leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories for reaching the ultimate digital destination. Digital boards as the strategic advising role are also the “mastermind” behind digital transformation to oversee strategies, drive innovation, catalyze changes, and monitor performance.

  • The New Book "Performance Master - Take a Holistic Approach to Unlock Digital Performance" Preview Corporate Performance Management is about managing and monitoring the corporate performance via the well-defined set of performance indicators. Corporate performance management is not just about managing numbers with metrics, but the number with context. The various activities are needed to manage performance— strategic and operational plans, metrics, day-to-day decisions. So, Enterprise Performance Management is critical, because new competitive challenges and active market changes underscore the strategic imperative of managing performance more than ever. But what’s exactly corporate performance management regarding for, and what’s it related to other key components of corporate management such as strategic management, risk management, information management, decision management, or talent management?

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.

The New Book “Performance Master” Chapter 1 Introduction: Digital Performance Assessment

Making an objective performance assessment via selecting the right measures and measuring them right are both art and science.

There is no doubt that well-defined measures and KPIs are important factors to manage performance and keep track of strategy execution effectively. However, everything has two sides: Do some performance measurement initiatives encourage quantity over quality? Are you measuring something simply because you can or because you always have done that even though the operating environment may have changed? And how to make an objective performance assessment as the first step in taking a holistic approach to unlock digital perforamnce?

The performance KPI setting should focus on achieving the ultimate goals of the business as a whole: It is dangerous to impose metrics just because the focus on what’s measurable is manageable. Every metrics should have a good reason for being measured. So often you see things measured that are never really reviewed or communicated. The absence of inquisitive conversation around these issues can lead to disconnect between actions and the measurement of success. Performance assessment, when used in an individual context, tends to focus on all that is good that has been achieved by the individual, but sometimes, managers have to ask tough questions such as, if individuals’ performance were so good, why is the company failing? From the team performance perspective, there are always two sides of measurement: The measures to motivate teams to achieve more and the measures to distract management from the ultimate business goals. The rule of thumb is that whatever metrics/KPIs you emphasize are the ones your team will focus on. Put another way, whatever is being watched is what you will get.

Change assessment and measurement: Measuring is a good starting point to changes. Change is inevitable, and Change Management is an important management discipline in running a contemporary and dynamic digital organization. A change manager needs to assess business changeability and evaluate every specific scenario to create the change program success. Change Management measures or KPIs are strong tools, which can be both rewarding, but also cause damage to an organization if measuring wrong things or measuring them in the wrong way. Perhaps the difficulty in measuring Change Management is that the very thing we are measuring is changing. There is no one size fits all change efforts, and there is no magic formula to measure changes as well. The other consideration is that the part you are measuring is only a snapshot of the entire organizational picture, each change effort is so different, some Change Management needs to be measured via leading indicators, while others are better measured via lagging indicators.

The promise and peril of metrics and performance assessment: A performance measurement system is a necessary foundation for continuous improvement. Metric is part of transparent visual management allowing pulling. Metrics can help you get some objective perspective on what you are trying to manage, but they need to be crafted and interpreted well. Without measurements, it can be hard to tell whether attempted improvements make the situation better or worse. The maxim “You can’t manage what you don’t measure” has come to be taken as a truism. However, the different metrics only make sense at different stages in an organizational maturity. Metrics are tools in the toolbox, but just because you have a hammer, not everything is a nail. Further, there are people extremely obsessed by metrics who end up creating a huge and sophisticated set of meaningless metrics and that some managers put a lot of energy on getting better indicators, just because they want beautiful numbers to report and not because they are genuinely interested in helping their teams improve. In fact, there are a lot of metrics abuse and false assumptions of the metrics. What gets measured, get managed. The goal of performance assessment and management is not only to do things right but do the right things and continuously improve doing that.

Making an objective performance assessment via selecting the right measures and measuring them right are both art and science. The goal of performance measurement is to leverage trade-off, break down silo things, encourage positive behaviors, and ensure the business as a whole to reachiing the best performing result.

CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: Re-imagine IT with Digital Themes

IT can no longer just provide the commoditized services, or run as a cost center. IT has to move up its maturity from functioning to firm to delight.

IT is in the middle of a sea change because of the exponential growth of information and emergent lightweight digital technologies. Traditional IT organization is monolithic, isolated, stereotypical, and slow to change. Embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the reality. CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: How to reimagine IT with digital themes and reinvent IT to get digital ready?

Information potential directly impacts the business's potential of organizations: From traditional lens, IT is an engineering discipline, from digital lens, IT needs to embed art into the science to explore the art of possible. The art and science of information management are to optimize its usage and achieve its value and maximize its full potential. Without imagination, that would be no radical technology disruptions or business revolution. IT is the great tools in trying to understand if what's imagined can be achieved. And IT also plays a significant role to glue all critical pieces of innovation puzzles properly. Today’s IT leaders and professionals are not just engineering nerds or computer geeks, but artistic technologists or scientific artists. They can fluently mix the art and science to innovate the products or services and delight customers via intuitive interfaces. As Picasso famously said, "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once she/he grows up." Many talented people appear to gradually lose their curiosity because of the busy routine, and they also lost the courage because they are aware of the consequence when the education or the society favors conventional wisdom and mediocrity. Still, IT is nothing about the status quo due to the disruptive nature of technology, and knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened due to the exponential growth of information. IT folks shouldn’t become complacent or arrogant because of what they have known. In fact, when you truly become knowledgeable, then you become more humble and aware of what you do not know and that should ideally fuel the imagination. IT is in the unique position to observe broadly and explore deeply about their business and the related digital ecosystem, and thus, have more opportunities to come out innovative solutions to the existing or emergent business problems, and information potential directly impacts the business’s potential of organizations.

Digital IT presents multi-dimensional versatility: Traditional IT organizations focuses on keeping the business lights on and improving efficiency. With lightweight digital technologies, IT organizations are shifting from a monolithic back office support function to the mosaic and versatile digital engine. The digital IT paints an excellent picture of the business interaction and independence of the expanded digital ecosystem. And the common element of a proactive IT is business engagement - whatever and wherever the business needs are. IT can drive the business growth via abstracting the business information to the invaluable business insight; IT can catalyze changes via “sensing” the need for Change Management. IT can feel the business “blue,” so it helps to manage business risks intelligently. IT can also instill the passion to engage internal users as well as delight end customers via intuitive products or services. An innovative IT organization has the ability to inspire and motivate, and help people and the company as a whole overcome their challenges.

Reimagine IT is also about keeping things simple, and keeping IT digital fit: “Keep it Simple” should always be one of the guiding principles and management cultures for running IT to achieve IT excellence. IT should consolidate, modernize, integrate, innovate, and optimize its processes, products, services, and capabilities all the time. Reimagine IT includes the process to look for the impact of removing some of the complication or unnecessary complexity by simplification or optimization. There are differentiated IT enabled digital capabilities with needed complexities such as design complexity that competitors cannot imitate easily; or the powerful digital platforms with the collaboration complexity that makes people proactively communicate or innovate. IT becomes nimbler and faster to adapt to changes. There are more and more IT driven business solutions using lego-like approach - integrate multiple and different specialized commercial software components into customer-tailored solutions with speed. IT is an integral part of the business, and IT is moving from struggling with business-IT alignment to thriving via IT-customer alignment, because innovation happens at the intersection of customers and technologies.  

To put simply, IT can no longer just provide the commoditized services, or run as a cost center. IT has to move up its maturity from functioning to firm to delight. IT leaders have to reimagine IT on how to unleash the full potential of running a digital organization. In today’s digital dynamic and technical environments where IT is being used more and more around the globe for revenue generating initiatives and the business is becoming IT, IT has to reinvent itself to get digital ready.