Tuesday, February 20, 2018

CIOs as “Chief Interaction Officer”: Can your Words Carry Weight in making the Digital Paradigm shift

CIOs as digital leaders today have to truly become the “Chief Influence Officer,” to envision the role of IT in leading changes. 

The pace of changes in IT would force more CIOs to shift into transformation-oriented digital leadership roles because IT plays a significant role in leading innovation and driving the digitalization of the company. However, in many organizations, CIOs have been perceived as tactical managers or even geeky technicians for so long, all forward-looking CIOs should ask themselves: “Can my words carry weight in making the digital paradigm shift?” How to become the “Chief Interaction Officer,” and “Chief Interpretation Officer,” and ultimately "Chief Influence Officer," for improving IT management effectiveness, building a strong IT brand, and amplifying digital leadership influence?

Pinpoint the real issues and be fluent in strategic communication: 
CIOs can reinvent their role as the strategic business leader and skillful communicator via their unique perspective and insightful abstract. Sometimes less is more, it’s important to pinpoint the real issues and bring the fresh viewpoint. To get their intellectual voice heard, any niche CIOs should focus on leading from the standpoint of addressing key issues in their organizations being faced at that moment in time. As a C-level business leader, the CIO should also be good at strategic thinking to keep the end in mind and share their technological vision and how IT can bring opportunities to grow their business. Companies that leverage technology to create key differentiation among the competition is usually much successful than those who don’t. Because they are in the unique position to oversee the underneath business functions and structures. CIOs often can see around the corner and discover some “hidden problems” which are not always obvious. They don’t just accidentally find it, they structure the thinking process to discover the pattern. Therefore, the CIO’s insight is unique and beneficial to both executive peers and cross-functional management team. How CIOs practice their leadership influence and how they convey to leverage IT for business value also depends on CIOs' vision and leadership strength and style. Either brief or comprehensive, it’s important to hit the point and make their voice fresh and unique.

Make audience tailored communication and practice leadership influence across the entire company:
There are multi-layer relationships CIOs need to manage to run a high-performance digital IT, such as business peer/shareholder relationship, customer relationship, vendor relationship., etc. A CIO that can communicate effectively with all levels of the organization, has a solid grasp of the business goals & objectives, and can interpret both business and IT issues back and forth more accurately without “lost in translation.” IT leaders should build peer to peer executive relationships, experiments more creative common language, and make audience tailored communication in order to bridge the gap between business talks and IT talks. IT leaders should target different audiences, tailor the special customer needs in order to build up the long-term empathic business relationship. In the end, it is not about technology, but what technology can do when it is enabling and integrating with change management and business processes to deliver strategic differentiation and make an impact on the digital paradigm shift.


Make touchy-feely conversations to convey the empathic message: Great CIOs are great storytellers, envision and communicate a people-centric digital transformation. Only the authentic leaders can convey the change messages which can touch the minds and hearts to create the synergy. The word has to be based on the mindset or the beliefs they have and the communication they clarify. CIOs need to know their people very well, Gaining a deep understanding of people means truly knowing who they are, how they think, and who they want to become, not based on their physical identity, but seeing through their character, strength, thought process, learning habit, and personality. So, CIOs can make touchy-feely conversations to convey the empathic leadership messages. CIOs need to have both thinking and communication skills to be able to represent themselves, to be able to persuade and to gain trust and respect. Ultimately, they can become great “Chief Interaction Officer,” and “Chief Interpretation Officer.”

CIOs as digital leaders today have to truly become the “Chief Influence Officer,” to envision the role of IT in leading changes. They also need to be the great “storytellers” to harness communication, enforce cross-functional collaboration and their words should carry weight in making the digital paradigm shift.

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