Sunday, May 6, 2018

The CIO’s Three “Always” Practices to Refine Digital IT Leadership

The CIO is a leadership role, in its best form, leadership is about creating a powerful future that is compelling in the present. 

Nowadays, Information permeates everywhere in today's enterprise and technology makes continuous disruptions across industrial sectors. IT leadership holds the keys to making the company more efficient and effective and implementing processes and procedures that drive the company to the next level of business maturity. IT transformation means rationalizing current IT department and planning to partner with the business to provide tailored services and solutions in new ways. CIOs need to keep eyes on what happens today, also be focused on what is next. Here are CIOs’ three “always” practices to refine digital IT leadership.

ALWAYS CLARIFY the question to ensure business effectiveness first: IT is reinventing itself from an order taker to a strategy co-maker. What's missing in many organizations is the CIO's ability to question the business' requirements and justifications used for IT-based business initiatives. Always ask tough questions and clarify the business requirement to ensure business effectiveness first. To broaden the perspective, effective IT management means understanding every island of operation and every workflow process smoothly. IT is the linchpin of the digital organization, as the traditional boundaries of business functions are disappearing or becoming very murky, it takes organizational scope support to enable data flow and manage business information lifecycle smoothly. To run IT as a trustful business partner, the CIO needs to build a good reputation as a confident business leader who can achieve business goals in a timely fashion and deliver business solutions on cost and on value. Always Clarify. The question is not whether the CIO knows (or not) about an issue in any scenario, it’s about accountability, and build a good credibility as a trustful business partner o ensure a clarified vision with well-defined goals to reach it.

ALWAYS CHALLENGE the “old thinking,” and do more with innovation: IT provides services to business users, but that does not mean it should be labeled as a service provider. The concentration should be on what these technologies can do for the businesses, not on the technology itself. IT needs to become the growth engine and innovation hub of the digital organization. The art of innovation is that it involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. The science of innovation is to take a structural approach to innovation management. IT can become the bridge between the art and science of innovation. Therefore, the CIO needs to provide the "innovation execution" competency to your fellow business peers. The reason many businesses end up not delivering value or achieving optimal performance is that there are too few executives willing to constructively challenge things. A dynamic CIO can take courage to always CHALLENGE the “old management thinking,” and the executive team’s expectations, to do more with innovation. You must get involved to make sure the technology selected will actually work and bring the business value. it is absolutely necessary for leaders to create discomfort and get others thinking differently. The characteristics of creative leadership show the following dispositions: Visionary, adaptable, persevering, competent, ethical, courageous, and curious. CIOs should have the startup mentality, they refuse to be bound by constraints and limitations and a pursuit of the art of possibilities. They can step out of the conventional thinking box or linea patterns, advocate change, and nurture the culture of learning and innovation.

ALWAYS THRIVE to be an insightful rule-maker for pushing the organization forward: CIOs are the leadership role, leadership is all about getting other people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. Leadership is all about change and direction, setting policies to encourage good behaviors. Make new rules like open doors, no fears to propose something completely new in loud among team members can be applied to CIOs. A CIO can't just sit back and apply yesterday’s logic or techniques to today's problems, the key is engagement with the business all the time and make policies for a smooth digital transformation. When leadership team is equipped with the digital mindset, they can inspire others to learn, enforce collaboration, foster an environment where creating success together has greater rewards than individual performance. IT should also listen to both internal and end customers, and become an integral part of any business. Otherwise, the gaps between business and IT won’t be shrunk. Digital CIOs today are good at envisioning technological trends, perceiving business opportunities, discovering alternative business solutions. As the gap between IT and the business narrows, CIOs will be seen as the business executives, not technology leaders, the insightful rule-makers to run IT as the key differentiator.

The CIO is a leadership role, in its best form, leadership is about creating a powerful future that is compelling in the present, that utilizes the best talents, capabilities, and resources of their people and organization, that sets principles and develops the best & next practices to produce meaningful and valuable results. IT organizations need to maintain their value in an environment of increasing growth and catalyze innovation. Always be inquisitive, always be skeptical, with good reasons, and never stop learning. Creative leaders don’t follow the old rules, they have their own way to stimulate creativity and improve innovation success rate.