Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 2/22/2019

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating and sharing.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with 5300+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 27 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to the businesses and society. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight of digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.



Running Digital IT as Business Performance and Productivity Booster Information & technology management is not for its own sake, but to deliver quality services and solutions that drive business growth and improve organizational maturity. Improving productivity and accelerating business performance are some noble business goals behind running a digital IT organization. This includes all aspects of the company, such as information management, logistics, application throughput, employee engagement, and overall health of the organization, etc. But more specifically, how to run digital IT as business productivity and performance booster?

Shape a Strategic Boardroom by leveraging Balanced Scorecard and Developing Digital Practices The corporate board is one of the most critical leadership pillars in modern businesses. The level of the board accomplishment may vary but the essential competencies will remain the same, BoDs need to be insightful, strategic, effective, and influential. In reality, the time of board members is stretched too thin so they do not allocate enough time to understand strategic issues and many boards aren't active enough to catch the derailment of strategies. In practice, how to shape a strategic boardroom by taking a rational approach, leveraging balanced scorecard, and develop the best and next digital practices?

How to Overcome Learning Inertia? Digital means the abundance of information and a shortened knowledge cycle. As companies around the world transform themselves into the digital business that is based on ‎information, their ability to explore intangible assets such as information and knowledge has become far more decisive to build competitive business advantages. Both at the individual and organizational level, if you fail to climb the learning curve, you will get static and lag behind. Business leaders should be aware of learning curves or learning inertia, make an objective assessment of their organization’s learning competency.

How to Close Motivation Gap Motivation is not only about the feeling, but a combination of several emotions also describes the trajectory of behavior. All motivation is a form of consciousness. It gives you the energy to do everything that you must do. Motivation is the "cognitive momentum" that comes from consistently applying the habits congruent with the achievement of the goal. You are motivated to move away from something because it is painful and also move towards something which is inspiring.

Driving Change with a Full Cycle of “Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Transforming” The digital era upon us is all about the increasing pace of changes, technology-driven disruptions, and "always-on" businesses with blurred functional, business, or industry territories. Going digital is about breaking down silos, applying the holistic digital management discipline to enter the next business growth cycle and expand organizational horizons to reach a higher level of business maturity. Organizational change management is not just about a few spontaneous businesses initiatives for reacting to business dynamic. It needs to drive changes systematically with a full cycle of “forming, storming, norming, performing, and transforming.”

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Best “Reimagining Digital Business” Quotes of “Digital Master” II Feb. 2019

 “Digital organizations today have to strike the right balance of being transactional to keep spinning and being transformational to make a leap.”

Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (25+ books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, advises on how to run a digital IT organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “reimagine digital business” quotes in “Digital Master.’

10 “High mature digital organizations stretch out in every business dimension.”

― pearl zhu, Digital Master: Debunk the Myths of Enterprise Digital Maturity

11 “Organizational maturity is not just about technical excellence or process efficiency, but also about business effectiveness, agility, innovation intelligence, and people-centricity.”

― Pearl Zhu, Change Insight: Change as an Ongoing Capability to Fuel Digital Transformation

12 “Digital organizations can become hyper-connected and “super-creative” via dealing with innovation dilemmas collectively.”

― Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

13 “Organizational democracy will begin to become a fundamental management practice to update the hierarchical command-control systems.”

― Pearl Zhu, It Innovation: Reinvent It for the Digital Age

14 “The business’s potential depends on how it unleashes its information potential and talent potential.”

― Pearl Zhu, CIO Master: Unleash the Digital Potential of It

15 “Today’s digital organizations simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Gaps: Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Digital Business

16 “Organizational success comes when IT and business act from “IT vs. business” to IT is business” - a true partnership.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital It: 100 Q&as


17 “A high-mature digital organization is shifting from “pushing” stuff to the digital channel into “pulling” resources up for problem-solving.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital It: 100 Q&as

18 “Metaphorically, organizations are like vegetable gardens, where each capability is a different type of vegetable growing in the garden.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Capability: Building Lego Like Capability Into Business Competency

19 “Digital organizations today have to strike the right balance of being transactional to keep spinning and being transformational to make a leap.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Capability: Building Lego Like Capability Into Business Competency

20 “High mature digital organizations have high-mature digital capabilities not only to implement the digital strategy but also to drive enterprise-wide transformation.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Capability: Building Lego Like Capability Into Business Competency

21 “The key to organizational success is to integrate the next generation of leaders, tap into their way of looking at the world, solve problems in a very collaborative working style.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&as

Three Management Aspects of Improving IT Maturity

IT should continue to evolve the digital dynamic and reinvent itself as a strategic business partner and improve its organizational maturity.

Information is permeating into every corner of the organization; technology the backbone of modern businesses across vertical sectors. IT has to expand its impact in every dimension to improve the company’s operational excellence, business responsiveness, performance, flexibility, digital fluency, and maturity. Maturity is the state of ripeness, quality, fluency, balance, and resilience. Here are three management aspects of improving IT maturity. 



IT leadership vision and charisma: To move up IT maturity from a reactive support center to a proactive change agent takes leadership vision and a good strategy. As a leader, the CIO has to be able to inspire and encourage with his/her vision and generate conviction and enthusiasm for the strategic goal of the company and the mapping objectives of IT organization. A clarified vision articulates the destination the organization intends to get and informs the business change agenda. Unfortunately, many CIOs today lose focus of the vision and get stuck at the “keeping the lights on,” and only take care of the immediate problems mentality. To keep IT relevant for the long run and reenergize the business for reaching the next growth cycle, a clarified vision allows IT leaders to steer their organization in the right direction, ride the learning curve well ahead of the rest of the company, give people confidence on where to go and how to get there, support them and also stretch them to live to their full potential and reach their professional maturity both individually and collectively.

Business -savvy: IT maturity is proportional to overall business maturity. Thus, to run a high mature IT organization, CIOs have to become business savvy. They need to participate in forming the organization's strategy, its implementation, and assessing its performance. They have a strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and have a comprehensive business oversight. Within their understanding, they are responsible for highlighting evolving IT to the board members and their impact on the organization and its strategies. They also need to make sure that all IT investments are aligned with the organization's strategy and the approved priorities. Business savvy CIOs can take an outside-in lens, articulate the business benefit realized through IT investment, truly run IT as a strategic business partner. Those organizations in which business management is technologically evolved and keeping up with digital technology developments around them for the desired synchronization can reach the next level of business maturity.

Portfolio management: Modern business has three fundamental components: People, process, and technology. The role of contemporary CIO is to weave them all into differentiated business competency and manage a well balanced “run grow, and transform” portfolio. Identify and blend the ways that information and technology can assist and shape the business by linking all critical business ingredient together to enforce the business value creation. Organizations today have to manage a large number of business initiatives in order to beat competition and delight customers.  A healthy IT portfolio is crucial for improving organizational maturity. All IT spending must be rationalized against the business benefits. You aren't sacrificing the long-term viability of the portfolio for short-term gain. Portfolio management is essential to successful corporate governance and as such, a comprehensive fusing of a firm's strategic business competencies.


IT should continue to evolve the digital dynamic and reinvent itself as a strategic business partner and improve its organizational maturity. It takes a very concerted and systematic effort and a strong desire to make changes happen and sustain. The goal is to help the business “playing to win,” not just try not to lose, and improve overall business competency, resilience, and maturity.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Monthly “Digital Boardroom” Book Tuning: Shaping Digital Board from Mindset to Altitude Feb. 2019


The Corporate Board is one of the most crucial leadership pillars in modern businesses. 

 Modern corporate boards play significant roles in guiding businesses in the right direction and achieve expected business results. Due to the “VUCA” characteristics -Complexity, Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and Velocity of the Digital Era, the directorship in any organization must have the agility to adapt to changes and build abilities to advise, inspire and motivate a group of people toward accomplishing shared visions and goals. Here are the multiple perspectives of digitizing boardroom.



    Shaping Digital Board from Mindset to Altitude



A ‘Mindful’ Board Corporate Boards are there to oversee business strategy, to ensure reasonable governance, and hold the senior executive team accountable for execution. Modern Board as high-level governance body plays the crucial role in business advising, monitoring, and setting key tones in corporate culture as well, these are all significant responsibilities, thus, mindset, more precisely, mind shift or mind flow is so critical to director selection criteria. But what are the characteristics of those mindful BoDs and a mindful board overall?

Three “Altitudes” in the Boardroom Digital organizations are dynamic, self-evolving, and self-perpetuating. When jumping into the digital future of “VUCA” new normal –Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity, digital leaders today must be able to steer the organization in the right direction. As one of the top leadership pillars, the corporate board plays a critical leadership role in setting guidelines, envisioning the future of business, and empowering changes.

Shape a Strategic Boardroom by leveraging Balanced Scorecard and Developing Digital Practices The corporate board is one of the most critical leadership pillars in modern businesses. The level of the board accomplishment may vary but the essential competencies will remain the same, BoDs need to be insightful, strategic, effective, and influential. In reality, the time of board members is stretched too thin so they do not allocate enough time to understand strategic issues and many boards aren't active enough to catch the derailment of strategies. In practice, how to shape a strategic boardroom by taking a rational approach, leveraging balanced scorecard, and develop the best and next digital practices?

Three “P”s to Digitize Boardroom The Corporate Board is one of the most crucial leadership pillars in modern businesses. Because they have a significantly broad effect on setting business policy, overseeing strategy, tuning business mentality and personality, driving motivation, defining the appetite of innovation, sharpening leadership skills, advocating learning, pulling teams, and improving risk intelligence, etc. However, many boards today still get stuck with a view of the rear mirror mindset and focus on compliance-driven agendas. Digital board directors exemplify leadership influence. Digitalization starts from the top down, here are three “P” words to innovate boards for achieving directorship excellence.

Three Aspects in Digitizing the Boardroom Due to the increasing velocity and variety of changes in the digital era, corporate board, as one of the most significant governance bodies, also faces the unprecedented changes, including new perspectives of boardroom composition, unprecedented board dynamics, and emergent best or next digital practices. In short, digitizing the boardroom is inevitable, because as the top leadership team, the board just has to step into the digital vision, exemplify digital leadership effectiveness, and walk the talk in driving the business transformation.?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with 5300+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify your voice, deepen your digital footprints, and match your way for human progression.

The Best “Reimagining Digital Business” Quotes of “Digital Master” Feb. 2019

“One of the formulas to build a successful business is to nurture an “adaptability trait” in an organization’s culture.”

Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (25+ books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, advises on how to run a digital IT organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “reimagine digital business” quotes in “Digital Master.

1 “Today’s digital organization is more like an organic living thing thriving at the expanded business ecosystem.”

― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices

2 “Either running a successful business or living a progressive life is a problem-solving continuum.”

― Pearl Zhu, Problem Solving Master: Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problem Creatively

3 “Digital organization is essentially a dynamic, people-centered ecosystem.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Master

4 “Digital age of business and world shall move up from apathy, to sympathy, to empathy.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Master

5 “An intelligent organization is not about the “cleverness” of one analytics team but the insightful nature of the entire business.”
― pearl zhu, Digital Master: Debunk the Myths of Enterprise Digital Maturity


6 “The future of digital organizations is to be complex enough to act intelligently and nimble enough to adapt to the change promptly.”

― Pearl Zhu, CIO Master: Unleash the Digital Potential of It

7 “A hybrid nature of organization strikes the right balance between “virtual world” and the human connections.”

― pearl zhu, Digital Master: Debunk the Myths of Enterprise Digital Maturity

8 “One of the formulas to build a successful business is to nurture an “adaptability trait” in an organization’s culture.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digitizing Boardroom: The Multifaceted Aspects of Digital Ready Boards

9 “Hyper-connectivity is the nature characteristic of Digital Organization.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Master: Debunk the Myths of Enterprise Digital Maturity

Overcoming Barriers on the Path of Going Digital

Digital transformation is all about improving the business flow by dismantling bureaucracy, taking an end-to-end response, and discover the viable path of going digital.

Organizations large or small are on the way of going digital, it is not an overnight phenomenon, but a well-planning journey which will not be flat. It's the bumpy road with ups and downs, curves and blocks all the way. Digital transformation is worth its weight, not just because of its high cost, but because of its high impact on the business’s long-term prosperity. It represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact. From a change management perspective, what are barriers and pitfalls on the way and how to lead change successfully?



Fear of the unknown; fear of failure: Though change is inevitable, but many organizations cannot take bold actions and move forward fast enough because of fear - fear of unknown. Most of the time, the company executives’ nervousness or procrastination stems from the fear of failure and to some extent loss of control. It takes vision, courage, and strategy for making a smooth change and the large scale business transformation. Without a clear vision, change either turns to be chaos or for its own sake. Though business leaders today can’t predict every turn or curve on the digital journey, quality information and business insight allow them to envision emerging opportunities and predict risks. Clear vision and planning help business managers navigate through velocity, uncertainty or ambiguity in a dynamic business environment and internalize change effectively. To overcome fear and build confidence into teams, there should be a credible, rational and benevolent commitment from top down of the organization, change ("why" to change, "what" should change, and "how" to change) has been communicated throughout the organization. It is also critical to take a stepwise approach by implementing substantial changes in cultural, processes, and structure, mitigating risks for leading business transformation smoothly.

Competency at all levels: From one generation to the other generation, over time things change, people are developing and growing, competition and choice are part of that evolutionary process. However, unhealthy competition will damage the spirit of progression and innovation. Fierce competitions sometimes also result in a "wick” or evil-doing. It can create unhealthy rivalries that result in workers resenting one another or encourage unprofessional mentality or behavior. From a business management perspective, due to silo thinking and internal competitions, too often transformational change is acted on the basis of improving one part of an organization at the expense of other parts of the organization. Silo self-perpetuates when the soft elements of the organization such as leadership or culture cause change inertia, short-sightedness or unhealthy competition. Silos have individual goals, but strategic goals need to be shared and common to ensure the entire organization accomplishing the high-performance business results. Competition and collaboration are both natural in a business environment or human society, the point is to understand the special context and situations and encourage high professionalism. It is always a good start when working to build a positive working environment, understanding where each is coming from and building trust, with the goal to encourage innovation and accelerate collective human progress.

Comfort with the status quo or complacency: The world is constantly changing, and digital is all about flow. But complacency is at the heart of resistance to change. A complacency mind gets used to reacting, not being proactive. If you stick to the comfort zone too long, you might lose the “mojo” to move forward. When business leaders or managers are comfortable with the status quo, they often miss the big picture and become complacent. Some say it is not complacency that is at the heart of the resistance. It is the unknown and being afraid of new things and it will be the same for the word "complacency." Numerous changes or business transformations run, complete, and then slowly crumble away as people slowly revert to old ways of doing things, and get stuck with complacency. Once that complacency barrier is broken, people become more creative and learning agile, a positive change process can commence. They can take a proactive approach to build phenomenal long-loved transformations and make a significant difference in mindset, attitude, and aptitude.

Timing: Pace and timing are absolutely critical for innovation and change. Too slow or too fast are as much a problem as backing the wrong disruptive technology or fresh ideas. It is often said that a wrong decision taken at the right time is better than the right decision taken at the wrong time.” Timing matters. Either for driving changes or managing innovations, timing is a critical factor in the decision-making and problem-solving scenario. Many organizations which get the timing wrong are surprised when many years later, the other company gets the timing right for the same disruption the original company underachieved. Fundamentally, driving changes and running the business is a series of decisions need to be made timely for solving the right problem and push change forward. Thus, listen to your data, collect feedback and make information-based decisions to drive changes timely. With the right leaders empowered with the right information take in charge in the right place at the right time in a change management cycle or business condition, the path of digital transformation will be natural and easy.


Blind to a need or a path: With frequent disruptions and exponential growth of information, high velocity and uncertainty, business leaders today should realize that there are known unknown and unknown unknown, they have to admit that everyone including themselves have blind spots, which cannot be ignored, otherwise, they perhaps steer their organization in the wrong direction, blind to a need or a path of making smooth changes. Without self-awareness, learning the decision techniques, you will continue on the lives in blindness. The perspective of change unfolds into a wider multi-dimensionally systemic business continuum. It perhaps invokes further reflections of the focal scope and purpose of changes, as well as the generic perspective of running a high-performance digital business.

Digital transformation is all about improving the business flow by dismantling bureaucracy, delayering the organizational structure, leveraging multidisciplinary knowledge and insight, taking an end-to-end response, and discover the viable path of going digital.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Monthly Digital Principles/Practices Summary: A Set of Digital Practices to Improve Business Maturity Feb. 2019

The high mature digital organization today needs to be sophisticated enough to act intelligently and nimble enough to adapt to changes promptly. 

Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business from people, process to technology, both horizontally and vertically. Digital becomes the very fabric of high performing business, being outside-in and customer-centric is the new mantra for forward-looking and high mature digital organizations today. Here is a set of best and next practices to improve business maturity.



A Set of Digital Practices to Improve Business Maturity


Three Digital Balance Practices for Leading to the Future? With fast-paced changes, shortened knowledge cycle and fierce competitions, no one can rest on a static mindset, past accomplishments, or the wishful thought that everything is perfect the way it is. The digital workforce is a new breed - it's the super-connected generation with a multitude of varieties - multi-generations, multidimensional intelligence, multi-cultures, and multi-devices. The digital organization is the self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem. The high mature digital organization today needs to be sophisticated enough to act intelligently and nimble enough to adapt to changes promptly. The traditional management discipline based on silo thinking, linear logic, and reductionistic approach is outdated somehow. Here are five thinking forces to lead the digital transformation.

Three Practices to Enforce “Antifragility” of the Digital Organization Digitalization is not equal to digital information or technology only. At the high maturity level, organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving radical business transformation and exhibiting distinct characteristics in various shades and intensity. The more effortlessly you can align, integrate, harmonize, and optimize the important business factors inside an organization, the closer you can accelerate performance and lead changes effectively. Business is a system, antifragility is a property of systems that increase in adaptability, flexibility, resilience, or robustness as a result of stressors, shocks, volatility, disruptions, or faults. The digital organizations with ‘antifragile’ characteristic can better survive and thrive in volatility and uncertainty of the digital dynamic. Here are three practices to enforce the antifragility of the digital organization.

Three “Digital Fit” Practices to Run High Mature Organization: Digital is all about the exponential growth of information and the rapid speed of changes. From the business management perspective, one of the good reasons for change is to keep the organization fit, and a fitting business has better changeability and higher performance. Digital organizations need to keep both the business balance cycle and growth cycle, develop the best and next practices to “run, grow, and transform.”

The Digital Leaders and Best Practices: The Goldilocks Kind of Thing? Generally speaking, the best practice is a recommended way of doing things. Whatever the activity, there is one best way of performing it; the way that uses the least resources or takes the least time and still meets quality standards. That method is the best practice. However, the best practice is contextual, Best Practice can mean different things in business, and how the “best practice” is used is important for running the business. Often the industry best practices shared with different companies are average workflow. If you work for “the best practice,” you will be at the average. Are the relationship of the digital leaders and best practices, the Goldilocks kind of things?

Three Digital Practices to Read Digital Sentiment Insightfully Leadership is all about future and change; direction and progress. From an agricultural society to the industrial age, and now we slowly but steadily move into the fast-paced and information abundant digital era. A digital paradigm is an emerging digital ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set limits or boundaries. Digital leaders today have to read digital sentiment insightfully, set the guidance for problem-solving or creating something new under the digital rules, keep information flow and achieve a state of dynamic balance.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5300th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 25 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to the businesses and society. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

Shape a Strategic Boardroom by leveraging Balanced Scorecard and Developing Digital Practices

The corporate board needs to shift from reactive to an active and proactive mode for adapting to the dynamic business environment with continuous disruptions. 

The corporate board is one of the most critical leadership pillars in modern businesses. The level of the board accomplishment may vary but the essential competencies will remain the same, BoDs need to be insightful, strategic, effective, and influential. In reality, the time of board members is stretched too thin so they do not allocate enough time to understand strategic issues and many boards aren't active enough to catch the derailment of strategies. In practice, how to shape a strategic boardroom by taking a rational approach, leveraging balanced scorecard, and develop the best and next digital practices?

The board’s oversight of appropriation: A truly strategic Boards can add real value to management in the strategy arena by matching priorities and resources to ensure that management can see and agree on what has been done and what should be done next. Especially if management confuses strategies with the longer-term financial plans. In today's world with such frequency of change and competition showing up in the most bizarre ways, can a company actually do a real "Strategic Plan," and in what ways does the Annual planning retreat need to change? To oversee business strategies objectively, BoDs need to educate themselves by hearing different viewpoints about the organization, its environment, and digital ecosystem, strategic alternatives and develop a clear vision on how to move the business forward. A strategic board is able to identify pitfalls on the way, monitor strategy implementation, and advise senior executive teams to not only make a good strategy but also how to overcome barriers and improve the overall strategy management success rate. Great board directors are insightful business critics who can provide excellent feedback which gives the top management invaluable advice to improve management effectiveness and set good policies to help the business move forward and make the digital paradigm shift.

The scorecard allows you to focus on the most important things and tailor the needs of varying business stakeholders: Corporate boards nowadays have to spin many plates (accountability, strategy, policy, and monitoring) at the same time, become more performance driven, not just compliance focus. The balanced scorecard is a strategic performance management tool supported by design methods and automation tools, a semi-standard structured report, which can be used by BoDs to keep track of their activities and decisions and monitor the consequences arising from these actions. It is also important to provide a “balanced” view of tradeoff variables, be able to see what the outcome will look like throughout the transition, and then there should be a consideration for a balanced scorecard that measures the progress of the goals you want to achieve. The important governance indicators on the balanced governance scoreboard include such as:

Vision & strategy and business competency oversight

Organizational management performance monitoring

Innovation (Upcoming trends, information technology, disruptive innovation, etc. ) oversight

Business risks (operational risks, reputation risks, brand risks, etc.) oversight

Culture (diversity, inclusion, board composition, etc. ) oversight

...

Boards need to step up communication quality between themselves and management, as well as between business management and its investors., etc: The BoD as the directorship role have to make sound judgments and steer the organization in the right direction. A balanced scoreboard is very useful for facilitating discussions and ensuring decision makers understand the various trade-offs and make the overall strategic balance, business dependencies, and constraints between components, individuals, and overall risk exposure. Often, communication gaps are caused by cognitive difference, ambiguous process, or management bottleneck. Language influences perception, and perceptions impact decision effectiveness. Shaping a strategic board with quality boardroom communication ensures that information is concise and update in enabling decision-making and keeping strategic goals on track. The important issue is how the board accommodates diverse opinions and how they assess them and converge diverse thoughts into effective decisions. Further, intelligent and inquisitive board directors ask good and pertinent questions which are critical for governing changes so that the board directors would have to be able to quickly assess any numbers and facts they are given, against applicable benchmarks and detect relevant hints for further questioning or confirmation.

The corporate board needs to shift from reactive to an active and proactive mode for adapting to the dynamic business environment with continuous disruptions. A strategic board is confident and able to accurately judge the coming curves and barriers on the path, improve the boardroom effectiveness, and lead the digital transformation journey smoothly.

Running Indispensable IT: How to Scrutinize IT Effort via the Business Lens?

It has become more obvious that information is the real source of business innovation. IT will continue to be a critical department. 

IT is one of the most invaluable assets of the business besides people, IT is also perhaps one of the most expensive investments in modern organizations today. Many IT organizations are at the cross-road, either keep providing commodity IT service as a business support center - becoming irrelevant, or contribute to the top line business growth by leveraging technology as a means to an end. How can contemporary CIOs put “Chief Investment Officer,” hat on, scrutinize IT effort from the business lens and make the IT organization indispensable?

IT investment in the business can often become the decisive factor to run a high-performance organization with a long-term perspective: IT investment is usually costly. Considering many companies across sectors making a huge investment in sophisticated information & technology tools are greatly wasted because the appropriate processes to leverage those tools are not implemented or adopted smoothly. More often than not, IT can lift or break the business in a shorter time spectrum. Thus, to invest IT aggressively but with a cautious attitude, it’s important to show the clear business goals of the investment with three critical elements: Financial returns, return timeline, and risk assessment. Once IT leaders start prattling on IT-centric metrics from inside-out lens, they would lose their audience. It's important to present IT as a value generator rather than a cost center, and scrutinize IT effort via the business lens. The wise investment of advanced technologies can be truly helpful to drive business demands such as improving business efficiency, increasing employee productivity, enforcing collaboration, and harnessing innovation. Thus, make the IT indispensable.

IT and business should work closely to assess performance and potential benefit from IT investment portfolio: IT investment and management is not just the work of IT, but the responsibility of the entire company. IT and business should work closely to assess performance benefit from IT investment portfolio, and then determine what IT investment will accelerate the changes you want to see in your performance indicators. When board directors or senior leaders have sufficient knowledge and understanding of IT, they can make a sound judgment about IT investment and know how to assess IT performance objectively. When the top management doesn’t evolve critical IT issues proactively and CIOs do not get invited at the big table, IT leaders need to ask: Why is IT not part of the inner cycle, could it be that IT is still perceived as a cost center, and not a strategic investment? Before the investment is made, it’s important to identify and predict specific measurable results from their investment. After the investment is made, it’s also critical to keep track of and review upon the financial results of IT investment and manage resource, equipment, facility, or cost in an efficient way. Beside financial result, it’s also important to evaluate the overall business value from IT investment, such as quality, performance, customer satisfaction, and the varying matters that stakeholders consider important to them.

The business potential is realized via wise IT investments: IT potential is an investment, for improving revenue and catalyzing business growth. IT investment is not just about keeping the business running today, it needs to invest in the future by maximizing the full business potential. With the fast pace of changes, there is a danger of not having a proper management process to "develop and nurture" business potential. IT needs to be understood and harnessed by all stakeholders to fulfill the business potential. The challenge should be met comfortably by identifying important business areas that need investment for bringing growth opportunities, looking for new avenues of revenue, or enforcing better practices etc. IT can select the measurement for assessing the potential for any business improvement opportunities, feature enhancement or taking business initiatives to offer a competitive business advantage. When the organization invests in information technology, it entrusts the IT organization with the stewardship of that considerable investment and the responsibility of providing good governance and operation of that investment, to ensure the high return on investment.

It has become more obvious that information is the real source of business innovation. IT will continue to be a critical department. To run indispensable IT, it’s critical to invest in and leverage appropriate technologies and solutions to generate invaluable insights, scrutinize IT effort from the business lens, and help their businesses open up new channels of revenue and monetization within the enterprise, their ecosystem, and the industry.

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Monthly “Change Agent CIO” Book Tuning: IT Change Practices Feb. 2019

Forward-thinking companies across the industries reinvent IT as the change organization. 

Change is inevitable, organizational change has become a common practice within an organization, but too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crisis, and demands. This is the bureaucracy’s way of meeting the challenges. A digital transformation is achieved via dynamic Strategy-Execution-Change lifecycle management, though it is not all linear steps, but an iterative, ongoing and upgoing change continuum. How to Reboot IT to Get Digital Ready and cultivate the culture of learning and innovating?
     

 IT Change Practices


Running IT as the Change Engine of the Digital Business Digital is about change. IT is in a unique position because they can oversee the whole organizational processes and they should have the program skills to implement digital transformation successfully. Thus, in forward-looking organizations, IT has become synonymous with the change department. Change Management needs to be the mechanism embedded in the multitude of IT management disciplines, in order to run IT as a change agent.

The New Book “The Change Agent CIO” Introduction Chapter IV The Digital IT Change Practices In forward-looking organizations, IT has become synonymous with the change department. IT is not only the super glue but also a business integrator to weave all important change elements such as people, strategies, processes// procedures, and Information Technology seamlessly, and make people change, process change and technology change sustainable for the long term.

CIOs as the “Change Agent”: Three “Never” Practices to Manage Change Seamlessly
Change is a volatile subject, just like change itself. Compared to the business world decades ago, information is growing exponentially, the digital ecosystem has also become more complex and dynamic. Everything changes continuously by following the laws of evolution, and the rate of change is accelerated. to put simply, change itself changes. Therefore, senior leaders like CIOs need to gain an in-depth understanding of changes, especially at the strategic level, also help to make change principles and develop a set of best & next practices to lead changes seamlessly.

CIOs as “Change Agents” How to Walk the Talk Effortlessly? Forward-thinking companies across the industries reinvent IT as the change organization. However, the best technology can’t ensure victory. Do CIOs have the required mindset and skillset to drive change? Do they have the charisma to get buy-in either from the business or from current IT staff? Can they “walk the talk,” to lead change effortlessly?

Is IT Viewed as an Inhibitor or the Driver of Change We live in a technological world and every day more and more technology affects the way we live and work. Great opportunity, danger, and disruption are around every corner. However, many IT organizations are still perceived by business as a support function, slow to change. Forward-looking CIOs need to ask themselves: Is IT viewed as an inhibitor or the driver of change? What’re the best and next practices to reinvent IT for getting digital ready?

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5200 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.



The Best “Creative Leadership” Quotes of “Digital Master” Feb. 2019

 “It seems to be most leaders have more conventional wisdom, but creative leaders have better common sense.”

Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (25+ books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, advises on how to run a digital IT organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “Digital Transformation” quotes in “Digital Master.’


1 “Creative expansion cannot happen without vision.”

― Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity

2 “Creative leadership can be described as “adaptability meets agility,” and “innovation meets principles.”

― Pearl Zhu Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity


3 “It seems to be most leaders have more conventional wisdom, but creative leaders have better common sense.”

― Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity


4 “Digital CIOs shouldn’t classify creativity and logic as two completely different disciplines; they are interconnected and need to be mixed seamlessly.”

― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices


5 “The creativity strength is like a spinning wheel, you need to figure out how to boost it up.”

― Pearl Zhu, Leadership Master: Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity


6 “Being innovative is more important than any specific innovation. Innovativeness is a way of thinking.”

― Pearl Zhu, Unpuzzling Innovation: Mastering Innovation Management in a Structural Way


7 “When people are empowered, intrinsically motivated, and dare to be creative to take initiatives and self-confident, they can become the real change agents and problem-solvers.”

― Pearl Zhu, Problem Solving Master: Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problem Creatively


8 “The solution to encourage creativity is to maximize use of employees’ brainpower.”

― Pearl Zhu, Unpuzzling Innovation: Mastering Innovation Management in a Structural Way


9 “The creation of corporate entrepreneurship is to cultivate the culture of innovation and build business competencies.”

― Pearl Zhu, 12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO's Situational Leadership Practices

Going Digital by Taking the “CEADA” Scenario

Going digital is surely a transformation journey, it has to permeate into business vision, strategy, culture, communication, and processes, etc, and take a rational "CEADA" scenario.

The digital paradigm has many dimensions. Going digital is no brainer. However, it is the thorny journey with many curves, bumps, and pitfalls on the way. It represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem. During the journey from doing digital to going digital to being digital, there are many accumulated steps and it’s important to take a rational approach.




Clarification: Digital transformation is the large scale changes. No change is for its own sake. It’s important to clarify the very purpose for changes and how to lead business transformation successfully. In many large organizations, there are often different dialects existing in the enterprise, to avoid “lost in translation” syndrome, communication clarity makes a direct impact on change effectiveness. To break down silo mentality and communication bottleneck, it’s important to observe, listen, and collect feedback, to truly improve communication effectiveness with empathy and clarity. Business managers have to come from clarity about internal and external environments and the dynamics that affect them. It’s important to follow the “Simplicity” principle for adding clarity and purpose. When people use the word "simplicity," they are really talking about a kind of transparency or clarity. From the organizational structure perspective, an organization can approach the flow zone when communication is clarified, the positions in its hierarchy have clear and accountable tasks, and processes are streamlined to improve the organizational performance seamlessly. Thus, organizations today have to aggressively leverage digital technologies, platforms, and tools as the enabler of communication, collaboration, social interaction, and clarification.

Experimentation: Velocity, uncertainty and exponential information growth are digital new normal. Experimenting and exploring digital needs to lay out different structures, methodologies or practices, combining all that is available to them in an imaginative and adventurous way, discover better ways to solving either emerging or existing business problems. Experimenting is one of the most significant steps in doing innovation. There is a willingness to “not know” and be able to source possibilities; be curious and receptive to improvisation and the be tolerant of failures, from letting go of the current reality to allowing an unknown future state to emerge. Sometimes, there are conflicts between old and new, forward-looking organizations separate exploitation of existing processes, technologies or methodologies from the exploration of new ways by leveraging emerging trends and applying the latest digital technologies. These digital companies can experiment and learn, in order to push for multiple solutions by pulling the necessary resource, “run, grow and transform” business harmoniously.

Automation: To optimize business operations and accelerate business speed, it’s also important to automate logistic part of the business to further improve productivity, performance, and quality. Automation is needed for efficiency to balance demand and supply. The first stage in the journey to automation must be to examine every process and identify how it can be made more efficiently and how it connects to other processes. Identify any constraining tasks and look to automate these first to reduce the overall delivery cycle for a task. Effective automation scenario should start with gaining an in-depth understanding of underlying business functions and structures, examine and understand the connections and define any constraints in the system. As this process goes along, see what can be automated by using the automation available natively within many of the tools you already have.

Diversification: All ambitious businesses strive to unlock their business performance and unleash their full digital potential via diversification, association, and collaboration. Consider a digital organization as the coherent, self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem, be able to do something different and make continuous innovations. Highly innovative organizations are able to do something different. Digital strategy is a useful "qualifier" as a point of business competency and differentiation. Variety, diversification, and collaboration are the characteristics of the digital innovation ecosystem. The emergent digital technologies and practices make it possible to expand the talent pool, to build highly innovative teams with coherent diversification from cognitive difference to complimentary skillsets. Diversification and differentiation make the business stand out by allowing the business to close innovation bottlenecks and develop the unique business competencies.


Amplification: To scale up either digital practices or amplify change effect, organizations must begin thinking about ways with digital planning to broaden their ecosystem perspective and become highly responsive and flexible. It's about creating a structure and weaving varying elements into differentiative business competencies that continually deliver what the business needs and takes further steps to maximize business potential. To make change happening and sustainable, it’s important to fine-tune many business factors, including “hard” factors such as policy, process, performance, and “soft” factors such as culture, leadership, communication, etc. The digital organization as a hyperconnected and interdependent system is not scalable so easily, but it’s the worthy effort to amplify business capabilities and sustain change. The real challenge is to understand where and how you can and should improve to get the biggest effect and scale up across the digital ecosystem effortlessly.

Going digital is surely a transformation journey, it has to permeate into business vision, strategy, culture, communication, and processes, etc, and take a rational "CEADA" scenario. It represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Monthly “Digital Gaps” Book Tuning: Bridge Potential Gaps Feb 2019

Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business” is a guidebook to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with the multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still., bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge, it is important to identify and strengthen the weakest link and take a stepwise approach to make a leap of digital transformation.


Bridge Potential Gaps



Bridging the Potential Gap Organizations today need both performance and potential. Performance keeps your business running, churning numbers etc, whereas potential looks at an employee that can bring your company to the next level, and the collective human potential in the organization is the greatest thing the organization should ever invest in, because it is the driving force to catalyze the business growth and build the unique organizational advantage the competitors cannot beat. So, how to understand both potential and performance at the deeper level, bridge the gap to unleash the collective potential and accelerate business performance to the next level?

Unleash Business Potential and Accelerate Digital Maturity Re-imaging the future of business is exciting, reinventing the business to get digital ready takes both bold leadership and strategic planning, navigating the different path for unleashing business potential needs to take a systematic approach and develop it into a more solid form, in order to evolve change and accelerate digital maturity.

Three “P” Factors for Assessing Digital Fitness? Digital fit starts with people fit. People are always the weakest link in organizations. So, part of the digital transformation journey is to prepare people for the new paradigm shift and to recognize this is a crucial step. The point is that how you know for sure that people being called “talent,” are really fit, how do you know you are putting the right people in the right position to solve the right problems? Here are three “P” factors for evaluating digital fitness.

CIOs as “Chief Information Officer”: How to Unleash the Full Potential of Information Forward-thinking IT organizations are shifting from “T"-Technology-driven to “I” information oriented. The most powerful and differentiating tool in all of today's businesses is INFORMATION and that is provided by IT systems. The aim of modern Information Management has often been described as getting the right information to the right person, in the right format and medium, at the right time, in order to make the right decisions. The value of information is qualitative, measurable, and defined uniquely by an organization. If done well, information can unleash the business’s full potential and maximize its multi-dimensional values. On the flip side, information is also something that can hinder the achievement of strategic objectives, having it unavailable or compromised. Therefore, Information Management is one of the most important management disciples and best practices in the digital organization. So going back to fundamental, CIOs as “Chief Information Officer”: How to unleash information potential, and the full potential of the business?

Digital Fusion: How to Unleash the Full Business Potential Uncertainty, ambiguity, unpredictability, velocity etc., are the digital new normal. With the increasing pace of changes, the emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern as the pervasiveness of an organization's digitization journey increases. Business leaders need to be both bold and cautious, apply multidimensional thinking and take multifaceted management disciplines to drill down the critical success factors that underpin each of the higher level performance dimensions to accelerate business performance and unleash the full business potential.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.8 million page views with about #5300th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Best “Learning” Quotes of “Digital Master” Feb. 2019

“The future belongs to those fast learners who can test and run, walk the talk, and ultimately become a digital master.

Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (25+ books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, advises on how to run a digital IT organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “Digital Transformation” quotes in “Digital Master.’

1 “We live in an information and knowledge economy, learning is not the things you are “done” only in your youth; it has to become the digital lifestyle and develop it as a healthy daily habit.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Hybridity

2 “The future belongs to those fast learners who can test and run, walk the talk, and ultimately become a digital master.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Fit: Manifest Future of Business with Multidimensional Fit

3 “Learn to visualize for inspiring creativity, and make imagination rolling into reality.”

― Pearl Zhu, 100 Creativity Ingredients: Everyone's Playbook to Unlock Creativity

4 “You can only fail better only if you learn from failures. And then failing is something that prompts you to move ahead.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Agility: The Rocky Road from Doing Agile to Being Agile

5 “It is important to challenge, debate, and learn the nature of each other through the aspect of dynamic and respectful dialogue, to close blind spots and bridge cognitive gaps.”

― Pearl Zhu, Problem Solving Master: Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problem Creatively

6 “Raw talent is precious, and well-crafted talent is a good combination of willpower + brain power + knowledge power.”

― Pearl Zhu, Digital Hybridity

7 “There are critical thinking deficiency and insight scarcity in today’s society, which significantly cause more problems, and make existing problems worse.”

― Pearl Zhu, Problem Solving Master: Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problem Creatively

8 “Back to the root of the word “profundity,” it means insightful and understanding.”

― Pearl Zhu, 100 Creativity Ingredients: Everyone's Playbook to Unlock Creativity

9 “Keep sharpening problem-solving skills, always dig under the surface, and build a good reputation as an insightful problem-framer or a mindful problem-solver.”

― Pearl Zhu, Problem Solving Master: Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problem Creatively