Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Running a reciprocal Digital IT Organization

Building a reciprocal digital IT organization is all about enforcing communication, enhancing collaboration, building trust, and bridging gaps.

Today’s digital organization are not overly rigid hierarchical entities, but highly connected, highly responsive, and interdependent living things. To apply the Law of Newton - "To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" to IT management, the CIO should ask themselves: Do you have a listening and learning organization? Do you have a highly interactive organization? Can you build a collaborative working environment to embrace cross-functional communication and outside-in customers’ feedback and perspective?  Or put simply, how to run a reciprocal digital IT organization?


Build the reciprocal relationship between IT and business: The reciprocal relationship describes a situation in which two parties promote each other in order to gain a mutual benefit. IT is embedded into the business for enabling business growth, driving changes, and solving critical business issues. While the business thinks IT as a strategic partner and innovation engine. Building such a close relationship helps to bridge the gap between IT and business. Too often IT sees "business professionals" wanting to go back to the segmented organization and define technology as something outside of the business as a separate entity. And that is the mindset causes constant battles between IT and business. IT contribution to business value does not come from the technology itself, but from the change that IT both shapes and enables. To harmonize business and IT relationship, all CXOs need to play as true business leaders, not just as functional managers. It takes exceptionally strong and visionary leadership to see all important business forces working against the better path of the business as a whole and work together to bring about that significant change in business attitude and behavior. That means IT and business should share the glory and responsibility altogether.  if IT fails, it's also the business's failure; if the business is too stifle or slow, IT needs to take the fair share of responsibility.


The reciprocal management style: IT should also shift the management style from command and control to become more reciprocal, collaborative, and holistic. Asking questions can build consensus. So, you have to learn the hard way that true leadership may be achieved only if you have both a listening and telling organization. It is important to LISTEN to what other parties say. If you do not listen, you will never get the two sides of the story. Asking questions is crucial to learning for everyone involved. Asking questions, besides telling is an important tool to practice reciprocal management and make a positive change. You can work out what organization you have by looking at the problem-solving style. IT leaders can initiate the more meaningful dialogues to exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement. Silos happen when the "Why?" in business is not properly communicated from the senior level management down through business units. The "why" must be answered throughout the business chain, otherwise, the employee does not have the correct purpose.


Build the reciprocal relationship between IT and customers: Digital is the age of people and innovation. Customers should be the center of innovation management and they are the major focus for innovation process and accomplishment. Innovation happens at the intersection of IT and people, building the reciprocal relationship between IT and customers can take different propositions and approaches to a problem or a new interpretation and manage innovation lifecycle effectively. IT organizations need to innovate towards simplicity and discover new secure ways to allow users to do the things that have not been allowed in the past. People-centric innovation means that you have to involve customers and different stakeholders, listen to their feedback, involve them in both idea generation and process implementation, to gain insight and empathy. Customers should always be involved, it is not a question of whether the customer is right or not, it is more of whether you are truly and proactively listening to their needs and gaining a deep understanding of the motivational construct of the customer through empathy.


Building a reciprocal digital IT organization is all about enforcing communication, enhancing collaboration, building trust, and bridging gaps. The beauty is in harmony, and the people, process, and technology are all part of the business body, only through coordination or corporation, the full business potential can be unleashed.

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