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.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Digital Board’s Digital Leadership Inquires

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, and 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. Modern organizations spend significant time and resources to deal with complexity, and thus, it needs to be optimized to make it simpler. But 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 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 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.  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

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

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, thus, they have 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 be 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 about the top line business expectation as well as how IT can drive changes and accelerate digital transformation. 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. 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 because 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),  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 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.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The New Book "Performance Master - Take a Holistic Approach to Unlock Digital Performance" Introduction

Enterprise Performance Management is a multidisciplinary management discipline to run numbers in context, leverage data to tell stories and keep digital fit for the long term.

The purpose of the book “Performance Master: Take a Holistic Approach to Unlock Digital Performance “is to provide an in-depth understanding and share unique insight about how to take a holistic approach to measuring and managing enterprise digital performance. Without measurements, it can be hard to tell whether attempted improvements achieve the expected results or not. It's fair to say that any organization didn't have a systematic approach to performance assessment and measurement at both strategic and operational level has a giant blind spot that is impairing their performance. A well-designed performance management system is a necessary foundation for continuous improvement.

  • Chapter 1 Digital Performance Assessment: Making an objective assessment is the first step in performance management. Corporate Performance Management is a management control from the strategy till shop floor. Managing performance means evaluating performance and understanding results, setting metrics, fixing plans, and making decisions to ensure it happens. This also means:
-Translating the business strategy into operational terms.
-Aligning the organization to create synergies.
-Making strategy everyone’s everyday job and a continual process.
-Mobilizing change through executive leadership anticipation, monitoring results and act.

  • Chapter 2 Digital Performance Indicator: "If you can't measure, you can't manage," the legendary management guru Peter Drucker once asserted. He was right, just not right enough. The fact of the matter is that it's a lot easier to get metrics wrong than right, and the damage caused from getting them wrong usually exceeds the potential benefit from getting them right. Choosing the right KPIs is crucial. The challenge is that people have their own take on KPIs. KPIs must be aligned with the corporate goals and objectives, but should also be directly relevant to the activities that businesses are attempting to manage. 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 "culture of the team" and the quality of business execution.

  • Chapter 3: 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. Hyper-connectivity is one of the most critical digital characteristics. It is important to connect the dots between performance management and other management disciplines, to understand that digital business development & transformation is the paradigm shift which takes a multidisciplinary approach. In modern socially responsible companies, it isn't just about WHAT (performance result) you have achieved, but also about WHY (the strategic vision) and HOW (the decision-action scenario) you have achieved it.

  • Chapter 4 Digital Performance Scoreboard and Dashboard: The balanced scorecard is the balanced scorecard model offers a way for a corporation to gain a wider perspective on its strategic decisions by considering the impact on finances, customers, internal processes and employee satisfaction. A business dashboard is "an easy to read, often single page, real-time user interface, showing a graphical presentation of the current status (snapshot) and historical trends of an organization’s key performance indicators to enable instantaneous and informed decisions to be made at a glance.

  • Chapter 5 Digital Performance Management Maturity: Digital businesses become overwhelmingly complex to run, different organizations take different approaches to pursue high-performance results. Enterprise Performance Management is more as decision management. Enterprise Performance Management is the integration of multiple methods to make better decisions and implement the strategy seamlessly. The company’s performance is directly related to the decisions people make every day—from executives to the frontline, across functional areas and regions. Performance management facilitates the flow of the right information to the right people at the right time to get answers to the right questions, to help and coordinate your strategy, tactics, and risks.

Enterprise Performance Management is a multidisciplinary management discipline to run numbers in context, leverage data to tell stories, and get results related to business goals, and keep the business digital fit for the long term.

The Digital Board’s Composition & Leadership Perspective

The high performing Board shows the ability and openness to "question itself and its decisions/ discussions."
Organizations today have to live up with the business dynamic which is uncertain, ambiguous, complex and flux. The overwhelming growth of information is permeating every corner of the business, and rapid changes are touching every activity, function, business, and industry.  The matter of fact is that the changes sweeping the business are hugely disruptive and there is nowhere to hide. The board of directors as the de facto guardians of modern organizations has an important role to play in steering the organization toward the uncharted water and blurring business territories because they oversee strategy management and set the policy for driving changes. With more and more organizations are on the journey of the digital transformation, from the board composition perspective, which challenges do you face, when and how do you tackle the issue of change in the boardroom? How should BoDs get an in-depth understanding of their role and responsibility while the business change is accelerated across the business scope and knowledge life cycle is shortened significantly? How to build high-performance boards for today and the future? And what are important perspectives to build a digital savvy board?

The boardroom composition will directly impact on how they lead and which tone will they set for the entire organization to follow: While there are many components of leadership, one of the most important ones is the ability to adapt, model and influence change. Contemporary boards play the crucial directorial role in business strategy oversight, performance monitoring, business advising and policy setting. Not only do today’s BoDs need to have sufficient knowledge to understand the digital business ecosystem, but also they should have the collective insight to present today and foresee the future. The high-performance board makes the disproportional impact on running a high-performance business. The high performing Board shows the ability and openness to "question itself and its decisions/ discussions." It’s not talking about "second guessing" but the ability to validate and double back on decisions past and present discussions. This is basically getting the "oversight" closer to the forefront (if not within) of every board process. They frequently brainstorm issues such as board composition, structure, and leadership - take the periodic risk assessment and well-tuned succession plans. They have to continue removing the barriers, filling the gaps for improving the performance effortlessly. At the digital age, status quo only cannot make one a real leader, if they don’t have a purpose of leading or lack of insight or vision upon the directions, lack of in-depth understanding and expertise to connect the mind and touch the heart to improve leadership empathy.

Leadership is all about change and directorship is about steering the business toward the right direction: Digital transformation is in every forward-thinking company’s top agenda; innovation is the light every organization is pursuing, and digitization becomes the new normal of business expansion. All of these bring the significant opportunities and responsibilities for the new breed of digital BoDs. Because the board in a high-level directorship position plays a crucial role in strategy oversight, business advising, and monitoring, as well as setting key digital tones in leadership development and talent management. High-performing boards set goals for their own performance and regularly evaluate how they are performing as the board.  An effective board enables and directs management towards good outcomes, and ensure the business is on the right track to reach well-defined business goals. If the results are lacking then the board effectiveness must be questioned.

BoDs are also the mastermind behind digital transformation: The contemporary corporate board as the directorial role plays a significant role in overseeing strategy, advising corporate executives and monitoring business performance. The BoDs should also walk the talk to digitize the boardroom with strategic imperatives because often the digital tone is set at the top and echo spirally to all levels of the organization. The differentiator between a digital leader and a laggard is not about the title and authority, more about the mindsets and attitude. Digital attitudes are about being experimental and persistent. Hence, digital BoDs today also need to show intellectual curiosity, creativity, learning agility, and risk tolerance, etc. One of the significant tasks for BoDs, leaders, and managers is to make either strategic or operational decision. Decision effectiveness is often compromised by group thinking (group polarization means that a group of people can make a more extreme decision than an individual.) which is often caused by the homogeneous team setting with cognitive gaps. From the board composition and leadership perspective, bridging cognitive gaps and sharing different perspectives becomes a strategic imperative for improving directorship effectiveness and leadership maturity.

The question is whether there are enough people with the proficient skills and expertise to do the job in the heat of today’s boardroom facing business uncertainty, rapid changes, continuous digital disruptions, and unprecedented competitions. While directors bring many competencies to the table, they should keep learning agile and master digital fluency, adapting to the increasing speed of changes and the exponential growth of information.  Digital BoDs have to understand what's required and how as a high-level basis of going digital mean to the business, so they can make a significant impact on accelerating digital transformation by making insightful inquiries and taking a step-wise approach with the steadfast speed.

The New Book “Digital Capability - Building the Lego-Like Capability into Business Competency” Quote Collection III

The organization's long-term success is based on a set of differentiated capabilities and its core competency.

The purpose of the book “Digital Capability - Building Lego-Like Capability into Business Competency “ is to provide an insightful understanding of assessing, developing, and managing organizational capabilities in a structural way. The organization’s competency is based on a set of cohesive capabilities and how fast and effective they can be built upon. The high-mature organizational capability is the digital business differentiator, to keep the business unique, competitive, and innovative, to improve business maturity significantly. The capability views enable dot connections and help the business identify “actuality, capability, and potentiality,” build Lego-like capabilities into core business competency and improve the success rate of strategy execution and overall business maturity.

46 The high-mature organizational capability is the digital business differentiator, to keep the business unique, competitive, innovative, and improve the overall business maturity significantly.

47 High mature digital organizations have high-mature digital capabilities not only to implement the digital strategy but also to drive enterprise-wide transformation.

48 Dynamic capability is the ability to reconfigure your organization in the way that has the effect of increasing its variety.

49 It is important to strengthen the weakest link, to ensure all important business elements integrated and knitted into ongoing organizational capabilities and unique business competency.

50 The business capability coherence is the decisive factor for the success of strategy implementation.

51 The digital capability is synthetic in nature, embedding agility in processes and focusing on building the long-term business competency.

52 A core competency is a combination and harmonization of multiple capabilities with a focus.

53 You must be careful in establishing KPIs, as the old saying goes, you get what you measure.

54 The emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitalization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern as the pervasiveness of an organization’s digitization journey increases.

55 Business capabilities are path-dependent.

56 Organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation based on the set of digital capabilities and its unique business competency.