Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Digital CIOs’ Three Practices to Amplify Leadership Influence

Due to the speed of changes, especially in the technology arena, digital CIOs need to be the dynamic leaders with open and growth mindset.


With the exponential growth of information and emerging digital technologies, CIOs will continue to be put on the front line for driving innovation and leading digitalization. They need to ensure their organizations are ready for change, space and time are made to scope, plan and execute. CIO role should be continually reinvented to fit for the new digital paradigm shift. IT leaders have to play multiple personas and leverage multidimensional management disciplines to explore the breadth and depth of the role and go deeper in order to lead forward. Here are CIOs’ three digital practices to amplify their leadership influence.




Play the crystal ball to share the technological vision: “Keeping the lights on only” is not sufficient to run a highly effective IT organization. Digital CIOs need to be both artists and technologists in boldly imagining IT vision and the business model of tomorrow while orchestrating the digital symphony to harmonize key business factors to succeed in the business models of today. CIOs have to know how to play the crystal ball because vision is particularly important for CIOs and because nowadays information and technology are often the game changer to either leap and fail the business even overnight. The role of the CIO should be able to envision not only where a company believes it is going, but how it will get there, and how it might be missing out on opportunities or face the risks because of limitations on understanding of disruptive technology and information flow. They need to master the art of creating unique and differentiating value from piles of commoditized technologies. The future-driven IT focuses on building core business capabilities to catalyze growth and improve overall business competency and become a digital engine and innovation powerhouse of the organization.

Play the oddball to enforce innovation: Forward-look IT organizations are “digital disruptor” of their company because information technology is the disruptive force behind digital innovation.Technology changes so quickly and information grows overwhelmingly, you must first be aware of new technology before you can learn to apply it to the business. Innovative CIOs play the oddball to enforce innovation which involves both opportunities and risks. They have to deal with situations that they have not dealt with before, possess confidence and experience to be entrepreneurial. To reinvent IT as the innovation engine of the business, IT leaders have to play the oddball when necessary and develop the unique digital practices, step out of the “comfort zone,” and “we always do things like that” mentality. They need to be creative thinkers who can bring up the fresh perspective of the business and discover the better way to do things, supply differentiated solutions that contribute to both top line growth and the bottom line success of the organization. Innovation happens at the intersection of people and technology. CIOs with innovative leadership styles are the key to re-imagine IT to achieve the art of possible. Innovative IT leaders also need to encourage creativity and constructive criticism to build a highly innovative working environment to unleash collective potential.



Play the curveball to improve the business adaptability and speed: The curveball implies particularly tough issues or big obstacles, named after equally tricky baseball pitch, to introduce something unexpected or require a quick reaction or correction. Perhaps that’s also a good practice for digital CIOs to improve their digital leadership effectiveness and IT management efficiency. Compared to the business world decades ago, the speed of change is increasing, digital disruptions are frequent, information is growing exponentially. The reality is that organizations that do not respond to external environmental changes timely will lag behind the change curve and decelerate performance dramatically. Sometimes the problem is the inability to perceive a change in the environment and adapt when conditions require it. In today's volatile economy, nothing impedes the progress more than protective silos which are simply a form of bureaucratic management style designed to preserve the status quo. IT plays a critical role in breaking down information silos and building a real-time digital organization because information management is about how to leverage the right information for making right decisions timely to improve business responsiveness and speed. Technology and its associated methodologies and practices are parts of that leverage mechanism for improving the business adaptability and speed.

Due to the speed of changes, especially in the technology arena, digital CIOs need to be the dynamic leaders with open and growth mindset. They should develop their own set of leadership practices, build the reputation as the business strategists, change agents and digital advocates.

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