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.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

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

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.



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 The traditional management discipline based on silo thinking, linear logic, and reductionistic approach is outdated somehow.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 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. 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 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 to 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 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 strategic goal tracking. 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 as 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 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 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 and make the IT indispensable. How can contemporary CIOs put “Chief Investment Officer,” hat on, scrutinize IT effort from the business lens?

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. The point is about how 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, and 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 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 the 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 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 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 via 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

The CIO Positioned as a Mentor to the Business

A well established mentoring process is invaluable for an organization to develop its next-generational leaders and for the current leadership to stay attuned to the realities of their ecosystem. 

At today’s information-driven business dynamic, IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. Many think IT is shifting from being a static function which is often controlling or even lagging behind the changes to being the changing organization of the entire company. The role of the CIO also keeps evolving rapidly in the midst of accelerating changes in technology, the exponential growth of information and the tough journey of digital transformation. To improve leadership maturity, digital CIOs should transform their leadership style from “command & control” to coaching and mentoring, and position IT as a trustful business partner.

Great leadership includes mentoring capability, and excellent mentorship is both art and science: Mentorship is about guiding, advising, interpreting, and influencing. To be the most effective leader, digital CIOs need to be welcomed and invited to the big table, present a clear vision, proficient knowledge and communication skills. To become a great mentor and a strategic business leader, IT leaders need to be both explorers and experts, they should develop a broad skill set beyond technology.  see beyond the confines of their own function by understanding all the moving parts of the business and contribute to the overall improvement of the greater company. They should have a higher level of influence on how businesses change, and what IT can drive them in a structural way. They should be able to listen and translate business needs (what's said, and what's not) into actionable states and clear value delivered, and provide the advice to the business on how to solve their particular issues, not necessarily take their orders only, but provide them with premium solutions. Remember that knowledge is power and as a digital CIO, you have to anticipate the next horizon for the company, sell, mentor and influence all the time, to make the vision rolling into the reality.

The mentor style CIOs care about the career goal of employees, encourage people to work with them, not just for them: The mentor style leaders have both interpersonal (understand others with empathy) and intrapersonal (deeply understand oneself) communication skills to enforce their leadership influence and close IT skills gap. Every organization must address their common and unique IT skills requirements and map that out through the skills or competency matrix within their organization. Because without a stellar staff, few CIO’s/senior IT leaders will be able to achieve much. The mentor style CIOs can show the team how to explore their own natural skill sets, talents, and strong sides, take into account their own objectives in line with working needs and business goals. By mentoring, you are showing that you value others, invest people, not just treat people as the cost only. You need to hold people in high regards, not only for who they are but for the potential that lies inside of them and advocate talent development to unleash the collective potential for the business's long term prosperity.

The difficult part to be a mentor type IT leader is the balance point: The digital CIO needs to be both the mentor and continuous learner at the same time, and run a “learning organization.”A learning organization is more comfortable with velocity, complexity, ambiguity, paradoxes, and responds to changes with speed. One of the most important traits for any senior leaders including CIO is self-awareness which is about understanding your impact on others, the surrounding, and how to leverage your strength and build a high-performance team with complementary skills and experience. They can reach the balance point by having the right dose of ego - be confident, not arrogant; be determined but not inflexible; be modest, but not be perceived as incompetent. They are creative, but not lacking the discipline; be holistic, but not lose the focus. Digital CIOs have self-awareness of cognitive, relational, and assertive actions they take on a day to day basis. To mentor well, they keep improving their own professional quality, show learning plasticity, continuously seek new challenges, solicit direct feedback and constructive criticism, self-driven and get works done resourcefully.

The digital CIO has many personas that are internally and externally focused along with business savviness. Leadership is about the future and direction. Digital CIOs are born to change, regardless of which role they should play in which circumstances, they have to develop their ability to think, adapt, proactively plan and execute, as well as mentor and coach. A well established mentoring process is invaluable for an organization to develop its next-generational leaders and for the current leadership to stay attuned to the realities of their ecosystem. When CIOs are positioned as a mentor to the business, they are at the right track of becoming “Chief Influence Officer.”

Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Monthly Digital Trait Summary: Plasticity Feb. 2019

The neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to rewire, connect, and adapt; the business plasticity is the organization’s capability to change, adapt and innovate. 

From one generation to the next, the substance of leadership does not change, it’s about future, change, and influence. However, digital leadership trends will continue to emerge. Here is a set of featured blogs to dig into the “keywords” of the 21st century to brainstorming the future of digital leadership.


      


Plasticity


Organizational Plasticity as the Digital Trait The neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to rewire, connect, and adapt; the business plasticity is the organization’s capability to change, adapt and innovate with speed. Many organizations are on the journey of digital transformation which represents the increasing speed of changes, the overwhelming growth of information, the shortened life cycle of knowledge, the new chapter of digital innovation, and the next stage of business maturity. It has to improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its digital ecosystem, with people at the center of its focus. Thus, organizational plasticity is the digital trait of the organization.

Running IT to Improve Business Plasticity? The neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to rewire, connect, and adapt; the business plasticity is the organization’s capability to change, adapt and innovate. This is particularly important in the digital age due to the “VUCA” business new normal. Digital transformation is inevitable, opportunities and risks co-exist - roadblocks, pitfalls, and disruptions are around every corner. Nowadays, IT is like the “digital brain” of the organization, it has to be able to connect, change, and adapt to the dynamic business environment. It is the CIO's job to discern the difference and make a business case and run a digital IT organization to improve business plasticity and accelerate digital innovation.

Brain Plasticity vs. Computer “Plasticity” Brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity or cortical remapping, is a term that refers to the brain's ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. (about.com). We can "build" new neural pathways, increase the overall density of the "neural map" and synapses, etc.

Three Characteristics of Digital Organization Digital organizations are like the living systems that can self-renew in thriving as high-performance businesses. Digitalization means that companies need to infuse digital into every aspect of the business, expand to every dimension of the organization. It is the movement from static to flow, silo to holistic, mechanical to organic, and command & control to self-management for shaping the digital-empowered workforce with the following characteristics.

The New Book “Digital Fit - Manifest Future of Business with Multidimensional Fit” Chapter 1 Introduction: The Characteristics of Digital Fit: Digital organizations are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades and intensity. They are hyperconnected and over-complex, with well-mixed physical workplace and virtual team setting. Like people, every organization has its own personality and digital fit characteristics, how do you define organizational fit, in order to build innovative and high-performing teams and transform the whole organization into the digital master?

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 #5300 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.

How to Close Motivation Gap

Motivation is the "cognitive momentum" that comes from consistently applying the habits congruent with the achievement of the goal. 

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.


If there are no inspiring ideas – people’s motivation is reduced: Motivation should be heart desire, true passion, and authentic expression. The purpose is the greatest motivator; a deep desire to make the world a better place and fueled by a sense of gratitude and responsibility that compels you to stay committed. The greater the excess of resources and diversity; the greater the need for team structures and the greater the need for creativity to keep them motivated. From a business management perspective, it’s important to develop the process of a corporate pulse that identifies where the pulse/passion/motivation/ commitment of the organization lies, and who embodies it. Let people explore where their energy is and then, align the energy to work at hand, and motivate them to think and do things innovatively. Thus, successful management will inspire changes and well align the individual’s professional goals with the strategic goal of the business, to motivate people achieving more, accelerate business performance and unlock collective potential.

When people are motivated by fear, motivation is short-lived: Motivation is at the ground level and immediate. It can be either the carrot or the stick. Motivated has two elements of push and pull factor. Fear is an effective motivator but only for a short run. As soon as you remove the threat the motivation is removed as well. True leaders don't lead by fear but rather by respect. The receiver of the information should also be processing information through communication feedback and by asking questions. You can't build trust or motivate effectively if you don't engage with people. Organizations with a command type of organizational culture indifferent to external innovations. The leader can articulate the goal and why the goal is important. People can then become motivated by the conversation through listening and asking questions through the engagement process. A motivational leader is a means toward reconciling all the different factors toward a unifying and driving motivation but it isn't the only answer. Leading by example is one of the most effective methods of motivation, whether it is a personal drive to succeed, to make a difference, or help others to be successful. It takes different mindsets, attributes, and personal goals.

Let people explore where their energy is and then, align the energy to work at hand: It is correct that people give their best when getting motivated. An unmotivated individual or team cause low morality, or lack of energy. Motivation is to drive action; it takes incentive; motivation is to push ahead, to compete to win; Motivation is not a feeling but describes the trajectory of a behavior. As such, motivation can be understood and influenced using behavioral principles. When motivating people via great words, they will be delightful to do the work because they have been listened to and understand why they are doing it, they are more engaged in the work and bring up the high-performance result. In a crisis, the power is concentrated in hands of leader and teams are not possible. Teams are built on a high level of a person’s motivation (self-motivation), which cannot be bought. People should be the center of innovation management and they are the major focus for the innovation process and accomplishment.

Most of these organizations with real teamwork are headed by strong leaders with original ideas. The team's creativity is inspired and motivated by the leaders, who see, understand, and appreciate the merits of different people. It offers a foundation to build ideas upon. Motivation is the additional urge to get something done. The only one who can motivate you is you. You have to have the desire and be willing to challenge yourself to be all you can be.

Driving Change with a Full Cycle of “Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Transforming”

Communication, exemplification, and amplification of best practices are all crucial steps for a company to move from one level to another level of change maturity.

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.”

Forming: The successful businesses are the ones that have learned why to change; when change is called for, how to decide what to change, and who will get involved. It’s import to form a change framework and take a systematic effort. Because you can’t just command changes from the top. You have to build change platforms for facilitating all invaluable change initiatives and effort, working with people across functions at all levels of the organization and having them motivated and inspired for changes. The change mechanism has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization, to navigate through the Change Management framework. Forming a well-structured Change Management framework with clear-defined stages, decision-making parameters, flexible organizational structure, metrics selections, and performance thresholds can significantly improve Change Management success rate.

Storming: The emergent digital dynamic is about hyperconnectivity, hyper-diversity, and hyper-dynamism. With the overwhelming growth of information and fast-paced changes, businesses have to face the frequent “digital storms” all the time. The exponential data makes information storms; the fierce competitions drive innovation storms, and the rapid change or continuous disruptions lead to the business transformation storm, etc. Moreover, these “digital storms” do not happen in isolation from each other in predictable ways. They might hit you concurrently and surprisingly. Thus, future mining perhaps helps the organization forecast and whether the storms skillfully. Successful organizations see digital storms coming and weave a solid umbrella for pre-planning, preventing risks, and taking the solid steps to move forward by adapting to changes effectively.

Norming: Change is the new normal. In the age of digitalization, any business can be at risk for survival at any minute due to continuous digital disruptions. Digital leaders and professionals must be comfortable with “VUCA” digital new normal. Though “norming” is not a passive activity, but a well-planned scenario. One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to the digital new normal is the digital maturity of its people. People must adapt to change by minding cognitive or knowledge gaps and closing crucial blindspots. They must learn to use the new lens, acquire new thinking to gain fresh insight, norm the new circumstances and cultivate the new habit, to prepare for the new normal proactively.

Performing: Change is never for its own sake, performing and evaluating change involve first, accurately identifying where you are now. Then, clearly identifying where you want to be once the change is complete. To manage end-to-end change performance requires the necessity to be brutally honest and to establish clear, understandable and easily calculable metrics. The measurement needs to follow the “SMART” principle so that people can see what the outcome will look like throughout their journey of transition, including both a series of in-process measures and a set of final, desired outcome. If at some intermediate performing stage, change management measures something that is not congruent with the final outcome, and then dysfunctional behavior arises, change might not get sustained, and potentially diminishing the end-to-end change performance.

Transforming: From incremental change to business transforming is a leapfrog. Transformation is a radical change. It’s about "the company reinvented itself." It is a change to the fundamental business model itself. One reason that change initiatives fail so often is that companies attempt a level of change well beyond their predominant mindset and approach. Sometimes the transformation is necessary in order to cope with radical changes. To manage a large scale transformative change, communication, exemplification, and amplification of best practices are all crucial steps for a company to move from one level to another level of change maturity. Change is functional, but the transformation is structural. Change is the 'Now.' Transformation is a journey and needs a larger strategic investment. It requires step-function changes in tools, culture, leadership, and process, selects potentials, reforms them, then goes by such multiplicators to scale up change management practices and amplifies change influence.

Closer to reality is that change is continuously happening in such a dynamic environment of a company. The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. But it is a long journey. Make a seamless alignment with business architectures, structural design, and performance management. Drive change with a full cycle of “forming, storming, norming, performing, and transforming,” accelerates the change pendulum and leads to where you need to be for really making a significant impact.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Monthly Quality Master Book Tuning: Fine Tune Quality Attributes

Digital organizations arise when the scale of the interrelations, interactions, or inter-relational interactions surpasses the silo-based organizational capacity. Quality management ensures that in an organization, products or services are consistent to meet customers’ satisfaction. Digital Quality management needs to take an overarching approach with multidisciplinary practices. Quality is everyone’s business.



The book “Quality Master: The World Class Insight about Quality” is not about discussing specific quality standards or techniques well adopted in different industries, but for sharing some insight on how to understand the multitude of quality attributes from different perspectives, recognize quality champions to inspire quality culture, set digital principles and develop the best and next digital quality management practices.

The New Book “Quality Master” Chapter 1 Introduction: Digital Quality Management Attributes Quality management ensures that in an organization, products or services are consistent to meet customers’ satisfaction. Quality Management, like change management, needs to be embedded in the corporate culture. It requires engaging all the people involved in working together as a team to excel in quality product and service deliveries. Quality is defined by a number of factors, and quality management is a multidisciplinary approach. Slideshare Presentation

Proficiency We are at the dawn of digital age with the exponential growth of information, continuous disruptions, tremendous changes, hyperconnectivity, and interdependence. When led effectively, organizations can take the path to the next level of business effectiveness, innovation, and maturity; when led without a clear vision or thoughtful planning, it means information overloading, further confusion, and business ineffectiveness. It does raise the bar for digital leadership as well. As transformative digital leaders, can you participate proactively, look optimistically and engage constructively toward needs to be able to recognize areas of deficiencies and inefficiencies, then ask the open questions such as “What if?” and 'How about...?' And lead your organization to reach the level of proficiency and profundity?

Flexibility With rapid changes and fierce competitions, forward-thinking organizations today aim to move into a more advanced stage of digital deployment by tailoring their own unique strength and business maturity. Running a digital organization means high-responsiveness, high-performance, and high-innovativeness. Because the ways of doing business and meeting customer expectations both tend to be more adaptable than the siloed industrial age. The reality is that organizations that do not respond to external environmental changes will quickly outcompete as nimbler and more adaptable companies catch up and take their customers.

Simplicity Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice, to make the business progress either for designing products, solving problems, or managing a high mature digital organization. Simplicity is a behavioral attitude to see things as and what and where they are and be content and cool as it is. Take a close look at simplicity from different management lenses, simplicity is one of the very important characteristics of digital quality. It means or is related to too many things such as manageability, availability, scalability, flexibility, reliability, robustness, sensitivity, comprehensiveness, speed, and responsiveness, etc.

Precision: Digital management is responsible for designing, enabling, and enforcing a collaborative, innovative, intelligent, and inclusive working environment for engaging employees, delighting customers, unlocking business performance, and improve overall organizational quality and maturity. Quality management ensures that an organization, product or service is consistent, and business competency is cohesive. Digital precision is one of the most important characteristics of digital quality.

Quality is about doing the right things right the first time. High-quality enterprise is comprised of high-quality people, products, or services; business capabilities and processes, etc. To effectively lead the organization reaching the next level of business maturity, it’s important to shape quality as the mindset and quality as the management discipline.

How to Overcome Learning Inertia

To learn constantly so we continually improve.
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.


Having learning curve awareness: It is no surprise that there is learning or change inertia, a lot of people resist as it takes them outside their comfort zone which generally gives a negative feeling. With the overwhelming growth of information and knowledge, to improve their learning capacity, digital organizations and their people must learn through their interactions with the business environment, how to ride the learning curve to get into actions in creative, positive, and productive ways that educate, support and celebrate every critical step of the change curve and the business transformation journey. then, they apply their learning, act, observe the consequences of their action, make continuous improvement. Learning inertia or learning disability, often caused by static or close mindset with “we always do things like that” mentality, perhaps causes the business stagnated. The business becomes more successful when the corresponding learning curve has reduced uncertainty to the point where both the strategic synergy and organizational interdependence can be structured.

Riding learning curve: Digital learning is multidimensional, dynamic, interactive, informal and integrated. Learning occurs through the experience of failing, and don’t waste the valuable lessons from it. Riding learning curve means that there is a high level of trust within the upper rankings of the management team. Thus, riding the learning curve to sustain change or improve problem-solving effectiveness is another important perspective for sharpening business competencies. Learning becomes a knowledge builder and we can define learning through the information it absorbs and the capability it builds. A focus on learning and development reduces attrition and has a great quantitative ROI. It is about how to ride the learning curve to get into actions in creative, positive, and productive ways that educate, support and celebrate every critical step of the change curve and the business transformation journey.

Cultivate a culture of continuous improvement:
It is important to cultivate the learning culture that has awareness and understanding the importance of learning in order to build a high-innovative and high-mature digital organization. Learning, innovation, and improvement will come from all of the workforces, and not just the chosen few who believe they have all the answers. And at the core of all of this learning needs to be a deep understanding of systemic thinking and the psychology of how people learn. The organization’s learning culture is the basis of the company diversity of staffing, outlining the types of responsibilities assigned to perform work tasks. The culture of learning fosters openness, information sharing, critical and independent thinking. In a positive working environment, people focus on the learning opportunities offered by assignment, rather than on the status quo that goes with them.

"To learn constantly so we continually improve." Digital learning is also multidimensional, dynamic, interactive, informal and integrated. It is important to cultivate the learning culture that has awareness and understanding the importance of learning in order to build a high-innovative and high-mature digital organization.