Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Intellectual "VOICE" of Digital CIOs

The digital CIOs have the unique leadership voice to envision the business, enchant customers, empower employees and enforce communication.

The digital organization is a living business in the relationship with its environments, customers, suppliers, and above all enhances and supports the creative human spirit via connecting, discovery, and experimentation. IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. Thus, digital CIOs must raise the intellectual VOICE, not via speaking louder, but via thinking profoundly, communicating insightfully, and leading innovatively.

Vision: CIOs are not just tactical managers, they are visionary digital leaders. CIOs should be able to bridge the chasm between the operational aspects and the vision that they are creating for the business. Digital CIOs can raise their intellectual voice via articulating a clarified vision for getting a seat at the big table and drawing a vivid picture to ensure the team staying on the same page. A leader's vision is coherent with his/her organization's vision. Vision is required at any given stage of an organization’s lifespan. With a clear vision, an organization is able to evolve, adapt, and innovate, without fear of changes. Vision is not static, vision can be adjusted with the emergent business property and digital dynamic. Thus, CIOs have to envision continuously for a better future, otherwise, organizations will become static, short-sighted, and even irrelevant. Not only should CIOs voice their vision, they also have to live and be the vision. It is important for creating and sustaining the vision and applying it to focus and steer the organization in the right direction to reach the destination.

Optimization: To raise the intellectual voice of digital CIOs, They need to be fluent with digital dialect, and work closely with businesses for enhancing the dialogues about how to enable the goals of the business and advance the business up to the next level of performance and maturity. IT is the only entity in the organization supposed to understand business entirely and has the oversight of organizational processes horizontally. IT is not just the service provider to work “for the business,” but plays as a strategic partner to work both “on the business,” and “in the business.” Therefore, it is not enough for CIOs to just raise their voice within IT but to manage audience-tailored conversations across enterprise and business ecosystem to touch hearts and connect minds. To improve organizational maturity, IT also needs to relentlessly optimize business capabilities, processes, and cost, to manage business complexity and achieve strategic goals. When the CIO’s voice gets heard by the broad base of audiences, that will improve the visibility and transparency of IT, and be ready to reinvent IT from a support function to a trustful business partner.

Innovation: It is simply not enough to run IT as a commodity service provider only. IT needs to become the business enabler and innovation engine, rather than just tools or a back office service providers. There are a lot of opportunities for CIOs to raise their intellectual voice for clarifying the role of IT in innovation. The intersection of IT and people is where innovation happens. Thus, IT leaders should enforce creative conversations for bringing new perspectives to grow the business and delight customers. IT needs to be able to provide innovative solutions or supply differentiated capacities that contribute to both top line growth and the bottom line success of the organization.

Communication: Digital CIOs need to have the unique and intellectual voice to improve IT leadership maturity. Modern CIOs are not just some tech geeks or tactical manages only, they are top business leaders who are not necessarily always the most talkative people in the room, in fact, most CIOs are introverts who think more, talk less; but for great CIOs, every word they said count, they have creative communication skills to break barriers and bridge the differences; they have empathy skill to tailor the business’s audience or understand the significant technique details from IT staff as well. In order to harness communication, start by identifying the barriers you think hinder effective collaboration and work on them. CIOs as the top business leaders can achieve effective communications when they make sure their thoughts can be interpreted by multiple entities and acted in the desired way. Explain clearly and completely about what you expect. Leverage social and collaboration technology tools to amplify the intellectual voice of digital CIOs. Try horizontal and vertical open communication to reach out audience. For IT to become the trustful partner of the business, the CIO's greatest challenge is to educate the business on the cost/benefit for each of their business solution alternatives, and together they make the best-informed decisions they are capable of. The CIO must be a trustful partner with every aspect of the business via enforcing cross-functional communication and collaboration.


Effectiveness: The essence of effectiveness is about doing the right things before doing things right. Information Management effectiveness is always the top issue in the IT effectiveness checklist. CIOs can raise their intellectual voice when IT can deliver the right information to the right people for making sound judgments and effective decisions. To truly improve Information Management effectiveness, IT needs to gain the better understanding of the business and show that knowledge by talking business to the business. IT performance effectiveness is also about how to qualify the business result, coaching by their intellectual voice and taking leadership practices to guide the team understanding the purpose of performance and measurement management. Highly effective CIOs have high-influential voices and deliver incremental and differentiated values to business and is charismatic to align well with the business to capitalize on opportunities via an in-depth understanding of the business and leading the digital paradigm shift smoothly.

The digital CIOs have the unique leadership voice to envision the business, enchant customers, empower employees and enforce communication. IT organizations can either lead or follow depending on the influential voice of their IT leaders and maturity of the top leadership. The golden voice of CIOs helps enforce communication and maximize IT potential. The communication is not empty, CIOs need to have the T-shaped knowledge and information insight and foresight upon potential opportunities to retool business, re-imagine growth possibilities, amplify their digital leadership VOICE to improve business maturity.

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