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.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Boardroom:100 Q&As” Book Tuning: “Talk the Walk” in Boardrooms Sep. 2018

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 is the monthly “Digital Boardroom” summary of the digital board’s leadership inquiries.

              “Talk the Walk” in Boardrooms


The “Talk the Walk” in the Boardroom: How to Communicate Well and Make Good Policies The purpose of the board of directors is to direct the organization in the right direction and monitor its performance. The modern digital board has many responsibilities, such as leadership advising, strategy oversight, governance practices, performance monitor, and resource provision. The board directors as senior directorial roles have both privilege and responsibility to “talk the walk,” communicate thoroughly via multiple channels, abstract the insight from the variety of experiences, multidisciplinary knowledge and all sorts of feedback, set digital principles and make good policies to guide digital transformation smoothly. ?

Walk, Talk, and Make a Leap of Digitalization Digital makes a profound impact from the specific function to the business as a whole. The purpose of such radical digitalization is to make a significant difference in the overall levels of business performance and organizational maturity. However, organizations are different, they have different strength, they have different cultures, they have different structures, they compete in different markets, and they have different scales and speed. How can organizations walk the talk, talk the walk, and make a big leap of digitalization?.

Breaking Three Bottlenecks to Digitize Boardrooms The corporate board plays a significant role in overseeing business strategy, setting principles and policies, monitoring performance to get digital ready. They are the advocate for changes and the mastermind behind digitalization. To lead effectively, they are able to break the bottleneck of digitalization and bridge the gap of opportunity between where they are and want to become, cascading the changes from the boardroom to the front line of the company in order to accelerate performance and get digital ready.

How to Close Communication Gaps? Communication is key to improve leadership effectiveness and modern management efficiency. However, communication is not just the soft discipline, it’s both art and science. For example, there are communication gaps between management and employees, there’s “lost in translation” syndrome in cross-functional conversations, there are all sorts of miscommunication at the different level of the organization, how to close communication gaps and overcome such challenges?

Three “C” Practices in Digital Boardroom Digital transformation represents a break with the past, having a high level of impact and complexity. It takes visionary leadership to drive changes and steer the corporate ship navigating through uncharted water and blurred territories in the right direction. The importance of the corporate board’s responsibility for overseeing strategy, monitoring performance and setting business tone has become much clear at today’s business dynamic with velocity and uncertainty. The BoDs need to become the mastermind behind digital transformation and change agent to advocate digitalization. Here are three “C” practices in the digital boardroom.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #5000th 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 take time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore. It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints and match your way to human progression.

The "Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As" Slideshare Presentation








The "Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As" Chapter V Introduction: The Digital Board's Leadership Inquiries

Five “C”haracteristics of Digital IT Organization

The abundance of information and the unprecedented digital convenience brought by powerful technologies changes the way we think, live, and work. Information Technology is now permeating into every corner of the business, impacting every business unit. It’s becoming the driver of changes and digitalization. Thus, digital IT leaders have to reinvent IT organization from the support function to the trustful business partner with the following five Characteristics.

Conversations:
The digital CIOs’ leadership penetration is about the depth of leadership quintessence and the breadth of enterprise knowledge upon understanding the business as a whole. They are the business leader first, and then IT manager. In many organizations, the gap between IT and business is the reality, lack of communication clarity is often the root cause. IT leaders need to initiate business conversations and tailor different audience by speaking business dialects; master communication content to convey the core messages, as well as communication context and communication styles to improve conversation effectively. Great IT leaders know how to advocate IT values to the business partners by pointing out the key issues IT can help to solve or sharing the insight the business is looking for. CIOs as good ‘storytellers” will help business customers or partners gain open perspectives on IT performance and potential. Good communicators are aware of what they want to communicate, how they should communicate and above all ensure that they have communicated in the right way, and strike the right balance between “over communication and “less is more.” With proficient knowledge and great communication skills, CIOs can have strategic conversations at the roundtable; tough negotiations with vendors; empathetic talk with employees or touchy-feely chats with customers. Good conversations can stimulate creativity and encourage constructive criticism, close the perception and collaboration gaps between IT and business.

Convergence: We are stepping into the digital age with the convergence of enterprise IT and IT consumerization. The very characteristics of digital organizations are fluid, flexible, informative, autonomous, hyperconnected, interdependent. Today’s customers and employees expect applications to be as intuitive and task-oriented to improve their productivity and engagement. More companies across sectors have to deal with continuous disruptions often driven by IT and claim they are running the information business. In fact, the digital convergence of hardware devices and software services are creating new business models and generating new revenue sources. Digital convergence accelerates information flow, streamlines user-friendly business processes (with the convergence of structural and nonstructural processes) and improve business maturity. This is actually a golden opportunity for CIOs to take the converging journey of digitalization, modernization, and innovation by enabling, governing, and optimizing the consumer-driven information technology management.

Consistency: Consistency facilitates efficiencies in business operations and the organizational ability to deliver a shared brand promise across services, sectors, and business boundaries. With fast-paced changes and fierce business competitions, IT organizational maturity is not based on how many years IT organization have been around to support the business, but about how proactively IT can respond to the business requests; how effectively IT can provide tailored solutions to meet the business needs; how flexible IT can adapt to changes and how innovatively IT can deliver intuitive products or service to delight customers consistently. In reality, IT often suffers from overload, lack of business resource management disciplines including supporting process development. Thus, in those IT organizations, inconsistency, silo, and short-term focus decrease productivity, stifle changes and decelerate business speed. From IT investment perspective, building consistent IT delivery ability as the core business asset is about how IT can reframe planning processes in order along with re-framing of in-place processes that filter and fund investment. IT is essential to earning and holding the trust of the business. Consistency remains a favorite mantra for IT management.

Creativity: Digital IT management is both art and science. Businesses are looking for IT to add new innovative methods for management of complexity and investigating innovative business solutions. Unleashing the creative potential of IT enables IT to become the game changer of the business. Being able to become innovative or close is being able to think, and create new things. Business creativity is to apply the creative thinking for problem-solving and achieving business goals. Creativity is the core of what makes IT strategic in any company, it is critical that creativity is focused not on the technology, but on how it can be used to advance the business objectives. Running creative IT doesn’t mean IT should get ride of all framework or processes, go wild or rogue; on the opposite, a good framework and flexible processes improve innovation effectiveness and help IT stay focus and take a structural approach to manage innovation.

Customers
: People centricity is the characteristic of the digital organization. IT needs to shift its focus from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer-centric. The customer-centric company can be defined as one that adopts specific business practices that result in high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Information Technology is being leveraged every day to digitize the touch point and enhance the customer experience with or without the user cases from an IT department. IT has both internal and external customers. Listen to your customers, stakeholders, vendors, partners, and staff, focusing on customer needs should be an easier path to grow the innovation fruit. Engaging and empowering end users is vital for improving IT maturity. In the digital era, the biggest challenge to business success is IT and the biggest challenge of IT is about understanding the businesses and customers’ expectations. Always take the customer view as the basis of measurement for continuous IT deliveries, reduce the delivery cycle time and improve customer experiences.

The CIO is not just about leveraging IT to keep the lights on, but about strengthening all these important digital characteristics and managing IT as the business Change Agent. The role of modern CIO is to identify and blend the processes and practices that information and technology can assist and shape the business by linking all digital aspects together to enforce the value creation and drive digital transformation.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The Monthly CIO Debates Collection & “Digital IT” Tuning: The CIO’s “Big WHAT” Debates for IT Digitalization Sep. 2018

Debating is not for stimulating conflicts, but for brainstorming better ways to do things.

Due to the changing nature of technology, IT leadership role also continues to involve & shift the focus, to move up the maturity level. More and more CIOs are requested to take more responsibility and many CIOs present the breadth of leadership competency. The proactive IT debates help IT leaders to brainstorm better ways to do things and improve management capabilities. Here are the monthly CIO debates collections.

      The CIO’s “Big WHAT” Debates for IT Digitalization

What are the CIO’s Top Priority to Overcome Challenges in Digital Transformation? Digital provides significant opportunities for business growth, also brings unprecedented risks to cause business fall. Never before has IT and business been so closely tied together. Never before has technology moved more quickly and missteps have larger trajectory impacts on every aspect of the business. Forward-looking companies across the industrial sectors empower their IT organization to drive changes, what are the CIO’s top priority to overcome challenges in digital transformation?

What are Tactics and Methodologies in Developing IT and Business Relationship? Statistically, only less than 5% of IT can communicate with business partners seamlessly and build IT reputation as a game changer; while more than half of IT organizations still get stuck on the bottom level of maturity, functioning as an isolated support center or service provider due to ineffective communication. Both senior leadership team and CIOs are clear in what needs to achieve in terms of top line, bottom line and working in tandem with other departments to achieve the IT goal. So what are the tactics and methodologies in developing IT and business partner relationship via effective communication?

What are CIOs’ Top Challenges? Due to the changing nature of technologies, CIOs seem to be always in the “hot seat” in the face of increasing business demand, talent shortage, budget limitation or numerous critics from businesses. Now, information is permeating into every corner of business, what technology is expected to do has changed significantly over recent years, although every company has its own circumstances, overall speaking, what are the common challenges facing today’s IT organizations, how can CIOs leverage resources to stay focus, and continually improve IT agility and maturity, to become an integral part of business?

What is the Business Fitness for Digital Paradigm Shift
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. At the heart of digital, it is people and how to build a customer-centric organization. But how to assess the digital fitness of your organization for such a paradigm shift?

What are the CIO’s Top Priorities for Improving Business Maturity? Nowadays, information is the lifeblood of business, and technology is the big brain of the organization, there are so many things on the CIO’s agenda, IT is always in overload mode, and CIOs seem to be always at the hot seat. Therefore, in order to run IT more effectively and efficiently, how shall CIOs prioritize the projects, and what shall be put on the top of the CIO’s agenda?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with 5000+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. 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.

Reliability as an Important Characteristic of Digital Quality

Quality is to ensure that the organization’s systems are reliable and run when needed and when the users expect them to run, meet the needs of the business.

Reliability is the ability of the business to consistently deliver the high-quality products,  services, and expected business results. Quality is to ensure that the organization’s systems are reliable and run when needed and when the users expect them to run, meet the needs of the business, don't waste time or have critical defects. Reliability is one of the significant quality aspects of the business.




“Keep the lights on” is always fundamental to run a reliable and high-performance digital organization: The business management plays a crucial role to ensure that the organization’s systems are reliable and run when needed and when the users expect them to run. Quick-fixing the handy issues is also necessary to build a good business reputation. Make sure the business systems running following the preplanned schedule and performance standards. If there is a day-to-day operation break/fix type of issue in relation to business-critical problems, highly effective business leaders should first stop the pain, take care of chronic operational issues and deliver much-requested upgrades and tactical solutions. Many legacy organizations spend significant time, cost and resource to maintain the heavy legacy applications. Digital leaders need to truly work hard on consolidating, modernizing and optimizing. Achieving operational management excellence is more of a journey than a destination. Because information, technology, and other business assets and resources need to be centralized, reallocated, updated or replaced if needed to improve business efficiency, optimize processes, and build the business capacity and competency to ultimately improve business quality.

Enforce cross-functional communication & collaboration: Reliability is not about being static or silo, as the matter of fact, it’s about connecting, communicating, and collaborating to enforce trust and transparency. Digital knowledge flow helps to unlock latent expertise, collaborate with communities via geographically-distributed teams, build trust, gain commitment and engagement, rather than just be compliant with work tasks, and arise the opportunity to run a reliable and high-performance organization. Running a reliable business with the steadfast speed takes planning, structure or process tunning, and measurement setting. If you try to impose solutions or structures that are too far ahead of the curves, the result is alienation and rebellion rather than transformation. Digital leaders have to not only provide clear process guidelines but also see that the teams are engaged, collaborative, and accountable to continually deliver the higher than expected business results to ensure reliability and endurance.

Applying a holistic management discipline to improve business reliability: Digital organizations arise when the scale of the interrelations, interactions, or inter-relational interactions surpasses the silo-based organizational capacity. Digital management needs to apply multidisciplinary practices and take the integrated approach for dynamic business planning and actions. Without a holistic management discipline, businesses intend to fix some issues but cause more problems later on; or people try to fix a symptom which results from the actual cause of the problem. They allow problems to grow under the surface, out of sight, out of mind, until it’s too late,  make the business fragile and even cause fatal damages to the business. Until the underlying problem is addressed, the symptom will continue to return. To improve the business reliability, there needs to be a better appreciation to examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles in order to fix real issues and improve overall business quality.

Reliability is one of the significant quality aspects of the business. Products or service reliability is one of the critical non-functional 'abilities' such as availability, reliability, scalability, reconfigurability, interoperability, elasticity, security, etc. With a faster pace of change and continuous disruptions, there are both day-to-day operational issues and strategic concerns for improving the business’s long-term competency, business management has to first stop the pain, but also improving the strategic responsiveness and overall quality of the business in the long run.

Three Complementary Elements of Innovation

Although there’s no magic formula for innovation success, there are also many complementary quality elements in innovation management to strike the right balance.

Innovation - the practical application of creativity is essentially about problem-solving at various levels; and to solve a problem implies a wish to make something, or everything, better. In a fundamental view, innovation is a process and every process needs to be managed. Some highly innovative organizations fail to capitalize on great ideas because there was no structure in place to manage the ideas and produce quality products/services. Here are three complementary elements of quality to improve innovation success rate from the management perspective.

Efficiency
: On the surface, it seems that efficiency and innovation are the opposite. Because in many organizations, there is an emphasis on efficiency rather than innovation or creativity, in pursuit of operational stability. They focus on improving margins by trimming the bottom-line cost rather than increasing the top-line growth. However, to think the long-term, actually, efficiency and innovation are complementary business characteristics to run the high-performance business. The greater the efficiency of an organization, the greater the need is for creativity to maintain high performance in the long run. Many process innovations will be concerned with increasing and optimizing efficiency and maintaining existing skills and linkages. Efficiency and innovation have to learn to live and function together seamlessly. If an organization is inefficient, it will be inefficient with new ideas as well. Efficiency will extract the maximum benefit from a new idea. However, be cautious, an over-obsession with the rigidity of efficiency stunts innovation processes, innovation is supposed to be fluid and should not be straight-jacketed, otherwise, efficiency perhaps easily destroys the seed of innovation which is not quite ready to be analyzed for its profit margin. When the business management can strike the right balance of efficiency and creativity, they are on the right path to both improve the bottom line benefit and the top line business growth. "Efficiency and creativity complement, not oppose, one another." - Edward de Bono

Simplicity: Though innovation seems to be the light every organization is pursuing, for many of them, innovation is still serendipitous, nothing but simple. Because companies of all sizes, especially large corporations, are designed to suck at innovation. They become too dependent on satisfying corporate regulation or protocols, and things, either processes or systems, in fact, turn out to be so complex. But back to basic, innovation is about simplifying things, not the other way around. The ability to simplify means to eliminate unnecessary layers of complication so that the better or more innovative solutions coming out. From innovation management perspective, innovation processes fall into one of two camps: Either they are too abstracted from the real world issues at hand, so they can’t provide practical guidance or lack of formal processes to streamline ideas and push them through, or they are so detailed and specific, such that they are not flexible to adapt to the emerging changes or the compliance with the processes is impractical. Innovation processes need to be flexible and adaptable. Unlike many other types of operational business processes which are strictly based on hierarchical management discipline, innovative ideas should be reviewed, selected and developed by leveraging simple empowered processes, cross-functional communication and collaboration are crucial to bridge idea creation and implementation, things should be as simple as possible.

Change: Innovation is the change, though not all changes are innovations. Some additional variables that might merit consideration are the nature of changes. The broader the scope, scale, and impact of the change, the more one leans towards calling such change an innovation. More often than not, innovation management and change management are complementary business processes going neck to neck to improve innovation success rate. Either change or innovation is hard for many organizations because people are part of the status quo, and it isn’t until they are forced by circumstances when the old paradigm becomes incompatible with the new reality and there’s no other choice but changes. With change management as an embedded mechanism in innovation management, successful organizations can manage a portfolio of innovation initiatives, prioritized with adequate support across the whole business spectrum, to either make the current business improved or look for new business model and everything in between (refreshing the portfolio, finding totally new fields or ensuring on-going profitability and extension of the current portfolio). Change and innovation are complementary and core business activities which enable the digital business flow, drive new product development and make continuous business improvements.

Although there’s no magic formula for innovation success, people, structure, technology, and process are all important factors. There are also many complementary quality elements in innovation management to strike the right balance. There are times fostering a culture where creativity thrives really helps to drive innovation that can fit into an existing business or process. Innovation is both art and science.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Monthly “100 Digital Rules” Book Tuning: Digital Quality Principle Sep. 2018

A well-defined set of digital rules are not for limiting innovation, but for setting the frame of relevance and guide through changes and digital transformation.
T
he purpose of “100 Digital Rules: Setting Guidelines to Explore Digital New Normal “ is to establish digital principles and update business policies that can be applied holistically and guide the digital transformation systematically. Digital rules are based on a set of fundamental beliefs behind the methodologies and they help to shape mindsets behind behaviors. Digital rules encourage mindfulness, authenticity, creativity, inclusiveness, and discourage static thinking, silo, and bureaucracy, help to accelerate collective human progress.

                   


Digital Quality Principle


The “Continuous Improvement” as the Digital Principle to Achieve High Quality? Change is inevitable, it will come by itself. The digital era means the increasing pace of change, the leapfrogging progress, and the collective societal advancement. Not every change is an improvement, but every improvement is definitely a change. For change to be embraced by stakeholders, they ultimately need to understand why it is an improvement and what it will improve for them. “Continuous Improvement” is the digital mantra and principle to achieve high quality.

Improving Innovation Quality and Strengthening Innovation Discipline Innovation is about reinventing the business direction and purpose at any time. Innovation is a managed process to transform novel ideas to achieve business value. Innovation is the core activity of human evolution to changing the environment for reaching high performance and improving business profit, for the saving of resources, for the satisfaction of customers, etc. Innovation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. However, innovation overall has a very low success rate, how to improve innovation quality and strength innovation discipline?

Digital Management Principle: "Less is More" Modern businesses become over-complex every day, they also add to such eco-system complexity! If we accept it is complex, somewhat unpredictable or not completely predictable, we have to accept uncertainty. Uncertainty comes with complexity. Simplicity vs complexity is an age-old dilemma even in English Grammar! Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice either for running the business or solving a problem. "Less is more." So, what are the principles to follow in pursuit of just right simplicity?

Quality is Everyone’s Business? The speed of change requires the business to adapt to the dynamic business new normal, and the fiery business competitions push organizations to deliver qualified products or services to woo customers and gain the market share. Nowadays, quality is everyone’s business. High-quality enterprise is comprised of high-quality people, high-quality products/services, and high-quality business capabilities/processes, etc. From the organizational management perspectives, how to gain an in-depth understanding of business competency + quality, what do you put in place or how would you then structure your business to ensure that the ability of your business to adapt rapidly and deliver products and services with high quality?

The Multiple Perspectives of Digital 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 the 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. Here are three perspectives of digital simplicity.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #5000th 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.

Why Does Innovation & Digitalization Stall

With overwhelming growth of information and continuous business disruptions, today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still. 

Change is inevitable with the faster pace, organizations today simply cannot stand still. Digitalization represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem, with the people at the center of its focus. Digitalization is “pushed” by both visible forces and invisible forces, hard forces and soft forces from multiple directions. However, sometimes the managers feel that digitalization gets stalled, goes nowhere, what’re the root causes? And how to rejuvenate the business culture, catalyze changes and accelerate digital transformation?

Blurred vision: In the digital era with “VUCA” characteristics -velocity, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, organizations will get stuck if they don’t have a clear vision and lost the direction at the daily mundane “busyness.” Top leaders are supposed to be the guiding force in the organization and even with a broader scope. Visionary leaders are in demand to help organizations navigate through uncharted water and blurred digital borders and guide businesses toward the right directions. Vision is a foresight with a proactive understanding of cause and effect, not reactive sight. Unfortunately, many business managers today lose focus of the vision and get stuck in “keeping the lights on,” taking care of immediate business problems. Without continuous envisioning of a better future, organizations will become short-sighted, static, and become irrelevant sooner or later. Blurred vision causes the business stalling. Periodically, business leaders should take a pause for reflection, and re-envisioning.  As vision is not static, it needs to be adjusted with emerging business property and digital dynamic. With a clarified vision and a good strategy, organizations can take the path of digitalization smoothly.

Missing synergy: Digitalization is neither just about adopting some technologies nor fixing a few business issues. It is a systematic approach to expand in every direction for accelerating business performance and unlocking digital potential. Silo thinking, bureaucracy, inflexibility, inefficiency, rigidity, dysfunctional systems/processes, etc, are the causes of missing synergy and business stagnation. In many cases, business managers don’t understand their ever-evolving dynamic business environment because they never look outside the problems boundaries. When productivity is low and synergy is missing; when people are not working via the system to solve the real problems but play the system to stifle innovation or build “comfort zones” and create frictions to changes, you know that there is the serious problem, and there are many possible causes of it. The in-depth analysis is needed for understanding the root cause whether it is due to the dysfunctional “hard” system, inefficient practices/process, or the “soft” element such as miscommunication or culture complacency. The key issue is whether the business management recognizes a sense of urgency for fixing the root causes and will sponsor and support changes. Digital organizations are the living things, they need to be in flow to operate smoothly by breaking through the speed bottlenecks and keeping the business synchronized to ensure that every part of the organization operates in harmony to take a digital leap. It’s critical to use common business language for enhancing understanding, leverage digital platforms and tools to enforce cross-functional communication & collaboration, taking incentives to inspire creativity, knowledge sharing, and setting the right priority to create synergy for either problem-solving and strategy implementation.

Outdated practices: When organizations wait for following the magic formula of digitalization or taking the outdated industry practices, the business stalls. Because every organization has different strength and unique competency, they are also at the different stage of the business growth life cycle. Thus, they have to develop their own set of the best and next practices to explore the new possibilities and harness innovation. When organizations only seek examples to follow, rather than develop their own tailored solutions to emerging problems, they might stall. The path of exploring the next best practices is to contemplate the business goals, break down conventional thinking box, have iterative communication, and take multiple choices to understand and solve problems effectively. Further, taking a best practice from one environment into another could sometimes turn out to be the worst practice or so-called best is not out of its benchmarking context. When every business or function does exactly the same thing, and then innovation soon becomes the commodity. The practices that are "best" today are almost always not "best" in the future since practices, as well as technologies and markets, are constantly morphing under pressure and fast-paced change is now the part of the business reality. The path to digitalization is to think more closely about the long-term business goals, set digital principles and build your own unique set of practices for changes, innovation, and digitalization.

The digitalization shouldn’t stall. With overwhelming growth of information and continuous business disruptions, today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still. The shift to digital cuts across sectors, geographies, and leadership roles, it represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem. Transformation is a non-stop journey rather than a destination, it’s an upward spiral for running a highly effective, highly innovative and highly intelligent business.

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Monthly Summary: “Simplicity” as the Key Word of the Digital Era Sep. 2018

Getting to simple is not easy for most people because they don't bother to remove the dust around them or want to question the unknown.

Logically, simplifying the complicated thing is an optimal and smart choice, to make progress either for designing products, solving problems, or managing an organization. With simplicity, what we are adding is clarity and purpose. Keep in mind, in today’s complex world, in the core of simplicity lies complexity, the more simple one perceives in any system, problem or living being is inherently more complex. Here is a set of featured blogs to dig into “SIMPLICITY” -the “keywords” of the 21st century to brainstorming the future of digital leadership.


“Simplicity” as the Key Word of the Digital Age


The Multiple Perspectives of Digital Simplicity As the saying is going, simplicity is the optimal level of complexity. 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,

Three Ways to Pursue Simplicity “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” ― Leonardo da Vinci Either from architectural design, engineering discipline or management perspectives, simplicity means or is related to too many things such as manageability, availability, scalability, flexibility, reliability, robustness, sensitivity, comprehensiveness, speed, responsiveness, etc. And like many things, there is good simplicity and bad simplicity; good complexity and bad complexity;...

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s “Simplicity” Skill Innovation is progress, and progress is in simplicity. People are complex by nature, but to dwell on complexity is to complicate an implicate order that is naturally simple. Getting to simple is not easy for most people because they rather follow the traditions and set rules and regulations in the society. They don't bother to remove the dust around them or want to question the unknown, or challenge the status quo, out of fear. However, progress...

How to Apply Simplicity Principle in Change Management Change is simply a shift from the “Old Way - Chaos - New Way.” Simplicity is a behavioral attitude to see things as and what and where they are and be content and cool as it is. Philosophically, simplicity is the source of complication, and complications are the source of simplicity. Often human cannot live the life with simplicity and keep making it complicated. So does Change Management. Can we make change simpler? A successful change requires...

Simplicity as a Principle: Simplicity is a behavioral attitude to see things as and what and where they are and be content and cool as it is. People are complex by nature, but to dwell on complexity is to complicate an implicate order that is naturally simple. Getting to simple is not easy for most people because they rather follow the traditions and set rules and regulations in the society. They don't bother to remove the dust around them or want to question the unknown

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #5000th 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.

“See Through” Digital From Different Angles

Digital leaders and professionals need to perceive without bias, see through things from different angles. 

Due to the “VUCA” nature of the business dynamic, information is growing exponentially, the business complexity is unavoidable, technology disruptions are inevitable, and digital transformation is unstoppable. Insightful leaders and professionals with strong “digital awareness” can smell the differences, sense emergent opportunities, predict potential risks, see-through digital from different angles, and ride above the learning curve to make a smooth digital paradigm shift. On the opposite, the organizational management's short-sightedness, silo, and running the business in a transactional mode cause digital ineffectiveness in the long run.

See the apples/pumpkins, imagine the apple/pumpkin pies: Either individually or collectively at the business level, because none of us are stagnant, we need to continually discover “who we are,” and “who” we want our companies to be. Perception is when your eyes see something, your mind tries to explain it. With ever-changing business dynamic, digital leaders need to observe, perceive, and pay more attention to the myriad of internal, external, national or global forces that define and influence the way we do businesses these days in order to unleash the business potential and shape a clear vision of the business. Vision is the ability to zoom into the future as if it were closer. Vision is critical for today’s digital leaders because organizations nowadays have to step into the uncharted water and blurred business territories due to continuous disruptions and ever-changing business dynamic. Visionary leaders with a positive mentality can imagine the future enthusiastically, define a clear vision which articulates the destination the organization intends to get and inform the change agenda with a strong logic. They can envision the future and lead the business from the “current state” to the “future state,” based on the business’s strength and differentiated competency. To create something that you really want also means that this very thing has to be adapted to your own variety. With a clear vision, an organization is able to evolve, adapt and innovate, without fear of changes. Though implementing the strategy to reach the vision is a teamwork. if management tries to strictly impose their vision onto their people, the chances are that they'll fail. People want to contribute in their way, have their secret recipe to make the pies (pumpkin or apple) they enjoy. So it’s important to build a win win win situation - win for people, win for company stakeholder, and win for customers.

See the forest and the trees: Enterprise is the complex system, every change initiative, either at a functional level or corporate scope, has to make sure the business as a whole is more optimal than the sum of pieces; or fix the real issues without too many side effects. Digital leaders need to leverage systems thinking to check up their problem-solving scenarios by asking: What is the bigger picture here? How is your current problem/goal related to your team/ departmental/ organizational/industry context? Practice lateral, nonlinear or multi-dimensional thinking, understand people or things from different angles and be inclusive to appreciate cognitive difference and different point of view. Try to see the ‘big picture’ and take a more holistic view of the business as a system to make sure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A holistic perspective can fix the misperception by exploring multiple thought processes; willing to listen to the diverse viewpoint, zooming out to capture the bigger picture, and seeing both the forest and the trees. It is also important to take a holistic approach to solve real problems, there needs to be a better appreciation to examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles and zoom out to see the larger system and their part in the mess, in order to come out the optimal solutions.

See things underneath and around corners: The more complex the situation is, the more important to leverage critical thinking and the more different approaches and role gaming is needed to reach for in-depth understanding. Critical Thinking needs to combine different thinking processes, to gather a mass of information, break it apart and reconstructed with a level of accuracy, projecting futuristic events, and numbers, etc. Critical Thinking is a crucial thought process to see underneath the symptoms and dig into root causes and see around corners without ignoring some pieces of important information. With hyperconnected and overcomplex digital new normal, to overcome the common challenges and advance the human race, we have to really dig beneath the superficial layer, see around the corner and transcend the interdisciplinary knowledge, to get to the heart of the matter. To improve management effectiveness, the business manager has to dig through the root cause of old or emergent business issues and fix them in the right way. Individually, to break through your thinking ceilings, you need to build the solid thinking blocks, have sufficient knowledge and unique insight to observe deeper, see things underneath and see around the corner. In the organizations, digital transformation cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished, it has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization.

Organizations rise and fall, not on the quantum of plans and resources, but on the capabilities to manage, lead, yet most important to execute. Digital leaders and professionals need to perceive without bias, see through things from different angles. Companies that are skilled at managing complexity can gain advantages by pushing the boundaries of a more complicated business mix and pulling all-important resource to make a large digital leap.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 9/21/2018

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

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with 5000+ 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. Here is the weekly insight of digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.

The Interoperability, Changeability, and Visibility of Digital IT IT is always striving to improve its value to the business when it is part of the organizational strategy and business toolkit; not when it simply supports the things the business would do otherwise. Their constant exposure to information and the fact that they are usually the most "connected" part of all management group makes IT a lightning rod for new ideas and innovation. Digital CIOs are uniquely qualified to envision the digital trend and oversee business innovation. The challenge for them is how to discover an outlet within their organization to channel that lightning once it strikes and continue improving IT interoperability, changeability, and overall visibility to get digital ready.

The Monthly Foresight: Trend-Setting And Digitalization Sep. 2018? The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, creativity is the most wanted trait for digital leaders and professionals today, and innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Which themes shall you set to advocate digital transformation? How to lead to the digital future effortlessly?

The Board Directors Think Like "Digital Architect" With the organization/industry/ society moving forward and stepping into the "VUCA" digital new normal, the corporate boards as the top leadership pillar play a critical role in leading changes; they are like the steering wheel, to ensure their corporate ships are moving in the right direction towards the uncharted water. Compared to other junior level management position, the boards as senior leadership role needs to spend significant time on making both strategic decisions and sound judgments. They are like digital architects to envision the future of the organization and orchestrate the digital transformation smoothly.

Digital IT as The Engineering Discipline with Both Artistic and Scientific Touch
Running the digital IT organization is the engineering discipline as the practical application of digital principles and practices constrained by the laws of the science domain. Running an IT organization as a business solutionary is about how to apply scientific logic and engineering discipline to break big business problems down into deliverable chunks for presenting value to the business at regular intervals. In fact, engineering is both art and science. If there is a magic formula, could it be: Engineering = System + Operation + Methodology + Design + Creativity + Science + Process?

Riding Above Innovation Curves to Reach the New Horizon of Digitalization? The definition of innovation is just so simple, to gain benefit by doing something different. The flashes of inspiration we now see in retrospect as groundbreaking inventions or innovations were driven by people not only far-sighted but determined to make their ideas succeed. At the organizational level, having innovation curve awareness means that innovation leaders need to understand that working in an innovation garden not only takes passion but also needs the process and hard work to rise above the learning curve by figuring out many “Hows,” in order to improve innovation success rate and reach the new horizon of digitalization.

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 Interdisciplinary CIOs

Interdisciplinary CIOs are in demand to understand things contextually and manage IT holistically.

The role of the CIO continues to evolve rapidly in the midst of the information growth and the accelerating changes in technology. The top CIOs today must have the unique business insight and high level of influence on business changes and digital transformation. They should practice expert power and interdisciplinary management disciplines all the time in order to become the trusted business partner.




The multidimensional viewpoint: Consider the digital organization as the self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem, IT is the linchpin of running a high-performance business. CIOs are in the better position to oversee the underlying business processes and gain the contextual understanding of key business issues and diagnose the real root cause underneath the symptoms. Thus, they need to be able to listen to a wide range of opinions and multidimensional viewpoints in order to make sound judgments or decisions based on unbiased fact, deep observations, and dispassionate examination. Embracing the multidimensional viewpoints also means that digital CIOs are skeptical about conventional understanding of issues so that they examine everything before accepting it for the real truth or advising it to others. Digital CIOs today have both business acumen and technical expertise, their interdisciplinary knowledge, and diverse experience allow them to see things from different angles and convey the balanced viewpoints about logic vs. creativity, opportunity vs. risks, change vs. stability; centralized organizational structure vs. decentralized structure, transactional IT and transformational IT. From people management perspective, they can also recognize those IT professionals who can bring unique PoVs; who can discover better ways to solve problems; who can take the calculated risks to do innovation; and who can lead changes and digitalization proactively. To put it briefly, the interdisciplinary CIOs can practice empathetic leadership to put the right people with the right capabilities in the right position to solve the right problems timely.

The multidisciplinary management approach: The hyperconnectivity nature of digital breaks down the functional, geographical, or even organizational border, businesses today become much more nonlinear, interconnected and interdependent than ever. It means to have the better opportunities to connect the dots across the geographical, functional, organizational, industrial, or generational boundaries. The border of knowledge domains is blurred and the scope of knowledge is expanded in the continual base. It requires fundamentally different mindsets and paradigms such as accepting that leadership influence is attainable, but control is not. An effective CIO’s job is to leverage systems view and take a structural approach to achieve operational excellence by reducing the wastes, eliminating redundancy, and removing burdens on the company. In fact, an interdisciplinary CIOs with proficient leadership expertise and systems thinking skills to understand a system is a necessary precondition for an effective intervention; to deal with the mountain of information by leveraging efficient technological tools and human know-how. The purpose of managing business via interdisciplinary discipline is to ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces, enforce cross-divisional communication and collaboration to build dynamic business competency.

The “multi-faceted leadership personas”: More and more forward-looking organizations across the industry sectors claim they are in the information management business and empower their CIOs to lead changes. Digital CIOs need to have “multi-faceted personas,” to practice the situational leadership accordingly by communicating with varying shareholders, taking multiple management responsibilities, and developing a balanced “running, growing, and transforming” portfolio with adjusted speed. They need to be the digital visionary, business strategist, process overseers, change agent, customer advocate, talent master, or governance champion. Those interdisciplinary CIOs understand the whole business models, customers, and the markets the business operates in, understand the competitive landscape, have a medium/long term investment and performance horizon in mind. They contribute to the business’s long-term planning proactively; they are also tactical when necessary because envisioning the future and seeing around the corner are both important. Most importantly, they are innovative leaders to drive the digital transformation of the business. In many organizations, especially those well-established large companies, IT intrapreneurship becomes a new fixture for management in their efforts to substantiate their competitive position, affect the marketing landscape, and drive new revenue growth.

Organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades, colors, extensiveness, and intensity. The CIO is no longer just a tactical management role to “keep the lights on” only now, there are many critical leadership traits in digital CIO and there are many roles they must play well for leading changes and catalyzing innovation. Interdisciplinary CIOs are in demand to understand things contextually, manage IT holistically, overcome barriers to solve complex business problems seamlessly and lead the thorny digital transformation journey effortlessly.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Monthly “12 CIO Personas” Book Tuning: CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer” Sep. 2018

Compare to the other executive positions, the CIO role continues to be shaken up, refined, reinvented and reenergized. The magic “I” of the CIO title sparks many imaginations and modern CIOs need to wear different hats and play multiple roles. Here are a set of blogs to brainstorm digital CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officers.”

              


Chief Innovation Officer


The CIO as “Chief Innovation Officer”: How to Build a Highly Innovative Team Nowadays, forward-thinking organizations empower their CIOs to facilitate digital dialogues and lead digitalization. Language influences perception, the CIO must be able to translate between the board/business speak and technology in both directions. CIOs need to tailor the different audience and speak multiple business dialects in order to enforce leadership empathy and improve communication effectiveness. Without a clear strategy and a way to communicate it in the language of the business, CIOs will always have trouble getting even "aligned," no mention of reaching the higher IT maturity level of proactively enabling and engaging with business, as well as leading the organization to reach the high level of maturity.

Is Digital CIO Well Grounded to Lead Change and Innovation With increasing pace of changes and fast growing information, organizations across industrial sectors declare they are in the information management business; information nowadays is the invaluable resource and asset of organizations, technology is the force behind digital disruptions. Clearly, the role of IT and that of the CIO is going through significant changes, IT leaders must understand the business from different angles and well grounded to lead change and innovation masterfully.

The CIO as the Digital Master: From Managing Change Incrementalism to Leading Innovation Breakthrough Digital businesses become more information based, people-centric and hyperconnected, riding change curves is particularly important for improving business responsiveness, increasing organizational speed and reaching the high level of business maturity. Nowadays, Information technology is the growth engine of business. Today’s CIOs have multiple roles to play and take broader leadership responsibilities from managing change incrementalism to mastering innovation breakthrough to transforming their organizations into the high-performance digital powerhouse.

Three Concentrations of Digital CIOs Digital IT is a paradigm shift in role, responsibility, and attitude. IT plays a crucial role in leading the digital transformation of the business. Your goals and objectives will be your drivers. IT needs to play different roles in the situation at hand, but also should stay focus on the most important things to ensure IT is value-added and become the strategic partner of the business.

The Digital CIO’s Three Distinctive Roles? The digital organizations are so technology-driven and information-intensive, as the matter of fact, the success of the business relies more and more on information and technology nowadays. IT organization is like the spinal cord of the digital business which can integrate various functional abilities to bring out technology-driven business solutions. A big component of IT success has to do with the definitions or scopes of the role that the CIO is playing. Because different organizations are at the different stages of business maturity life cycle, the CIO responsibilities are quite varied even with the same title or position. Generally speaking, IT leaders can no longer act just like the tactical manager to “keep the lights on” only. Here are digital CIO’s three distinctive roles for running IT as the trustful business partner and the growth engine of the organization.

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 2.5 million page views with about #5000th 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.


The New Book "12 CIO Personas" Introduction: The Digital CIO’s Profiles, Personas, and Personalities
The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 1 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Information Officer”
The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 2 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Innovation Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 3 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Insight Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter IV Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Improvement Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter V: The CIO as “Chief Instrument Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter VI Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Interpretation Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Introduction: Chapter VII The CIO as “Chief Inspection Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 8 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Interaction Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 9 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Intrapreneur Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter X The CIO as “Chief Investment Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 11 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Integration Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 12 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Influence Officer”

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Quote Collection I

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Quote Collection II

The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Quote Collection III