Thursday, May 3, 2018

How can CIOs “Walk the Talks” to Lead Change and Digitalization

Embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the business venture. 

Information permeates into every corner of the business and technology makes an impact on how we think, work, and live. The pace of changes in IT would force more CIOs to shift into transcendent digital leadership roles because IT plays a significant role in driving change and digitalization of the company. CIOs need to work closely with the IT management team to develop a solid IT Management framework that matches the needs of the business, to “walk the talk,” and achieve the art of possible.

Walk the strategic talk: 
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 because of limitations on understanding of disruptive technological trend and information flow or knowledge update. IT leaders need to be able to convey the technological vision vividly and articulate varying opportunities and possibilities, potential curbs or bumps, upward challenges and downwards risks on the way. CIOs as good “storytellers” will help business customers or partners gain open perspectives on IT performance and potential, close perception, communication, and collaboration gaps. To walk the strategic talk effortlessly, make sure your strategy has the detail behind it and creates a roadmap that you will deliver on. Too often IT is not involved at a goal level but instead at a task level. This creates an environment where IT folks focus less on the objective and more on the rules and processes that are defined for their department. That further causes IT ineffectiveness, unable to walk the talk smoothly. Therefore, IT and the business need to work together in the planning process. If IT doesn't completely understand what the stakeholders are asking for; or if the stakeholders don’t understand what IT is delivering the results will reflect that disconnect. CIO offices also have a significant responsibility to choose and deploy IT that will help their firms realize the vision.

Walk the innovation talk: IT leaders’ innovation talks ignite passion. The CIO’s vital communication should embrace creativity, context, cascade, and tailor the varying business audience, in order to close cognitive gaps and enforce mutual understanding. IT oversees business functions and processes, thus, IT leaders should make their voice heard, grasp opportunities to participate in innovation dialog and to come up with innovative ideas. Walking the innovation talk is a well-prepared and business-focused journey. IT can no longer just be about numbers and algorithms; it has an opportunity to be a significant catalyst for passion and a tool for encouraging questing and connecting the innovation dots across-functional or even cross-industrial borders for coming up with innovative business solutions. It is important to have open door time for people to come and discuss any challenges, share innovative ideas and brainstorm creative problem-solving. The range of technologies have emerged that can help to foster a deeper sense of connection and purpose in employees, ignite latent worker passion and bring together disparate parts of the organization. It is critical to cultivate the culture of creativity, recognize your innovation champions and build creative teams with cognitive diversity. Because they set the great examples to walk the innovation talk effortlessly.

Walk the customer talk: Customers are at the center of a digital organization, being customer-centric is the ultimate goal for any forward-looking business today. IT has two sets of customers, internal business customers as well as end business customers. IT plays a crucial role in optimizing and digitizing every touch point of customer experience and improving overall customer satisfaction. CIOs must go out and talk with customers to understand business and understand their tastes and current and future needs. More importantly, to walk the customer talk, IT leaders should spend time on setting the customer-centric agenda about what technology can do when it is enabling and integrating with change management and business processes to digitizing touch point in customer intimacy, deliver strategic differentiation, and make an impact on the digital paradigm. Customer centricity is built upon rigorous business’s capabilities and processes. A real customer-centric approach permeates everything about the way the CIO leads in the business.

Embracing digital is inevitable as that is now part of the business venture. Walking the digital talks is a broader and longer journey with many leaps and jumps, bumps and curves, perils and pitfalls on the way. CIO and his/her team can play a large role in shaping a vision of the firm as a place where passionate individuals want to connect with and learn from one another. CIOs should have the final saying on technology because they are ultimately accountable for failure, and they certainly need to know the business they are in. If you can both walk the talk skillfully and talk the walk fluently; if you prove yourself as the strategic leader and IT as a trustful and capable business partner, you will keep the seat at the big table and you can drive change lead digitalization seamlessly.