Sunday, November 4, 2012

New CIO’s First 100 Days: A Seven “P”s Adventure

The first 100 days seems to be a honeymoon period of a new CIO, with passion & excitement to start an adventure, however, it is also very critical time frame to use with due diligence to communicate openly, demonstrate strategic business & IT leadership, and make a plan accordingly. General speaking, it is a 7”P”s: People, Perception,  Processes, Plan, Priority, Practice and avoids Pitfalls.

1. People

 The first 90 days are always critical. Focus on communicating with key stakeholders and identifying business goals, strategic objectives and pain points.. Initiate a satisfaction survey to develop a baseline for the future

  • Developing the key Relationships
First 30 days - Emphasizes high-level conversations (queries & listening) with all stakeholders and getting to know the new organization or role. Try to get an understanding of the goals and business strategies of the enterprise and organizational units.

  • Discover the Corporate Culture
Sort through issues, gather facts, determine the potential for innovation, and seek resources… Find out what is working and what is not. Depending on the size and structure of the organization, the new leaders may be able to meet with more than just the strategic stakeholders and so get a better feel for the culture and mood of the organization-- how to do things here, what are folks thinking process.

  • Communicate with IT Team:
Also, talk to IT to discover what their areas of concern are initially – communicate with the team and key individuals in the business (not just the top managers) to learn about "the good, the bad, and the ugly". By end of 90 days, CIO shall have developed a plan, and communicated a goal/direction for the future state, and if possible have achieved a quick win.

2. Perception

Next 30 days - Digging into details (challenges, constraints, opportunities....etc), begin your SWOT analysis ASAP. As you continue this by meeting with staff and key business leaders, to ensure current departmental goals are still in line with corporate strategy.

  • 360 Degree View:
Engage with customers, IT team, vendors, partners in listening to what they want, what works, what is broke and their recommendations for next steps. identify areas of weakness or processes needing improvement.

  • Two-Way Perception
Staff will be assessing you while you are assessing them. Use team building activities to develop trust. It takes both passions from heart and analytics & synthesis from mind to dedicate energy, diagnose the problems, and build up practical strategy

  • Conducting a Customer Survey
A brief survey (anonymously with short concise list of questions) can allow you to compare conversations with staff against anonymous responses, collect some survey data or available information on how's IT performance and maturity

3.    Process & Focus check 

What about the structured process to gather the current state of the IT organization and its alignment with the business?

  • Review current IT Roadmap
    Review current and planned Innovation, Development, Operations, quality initiatives and timelines to see how they align to 360-degree feedback. Start to analyze focus areas – Organization structure, the process of communication & correlation to improve IT integration by increasing customer focus, customer knowledge, speed and quality of execution. 

  • Industry and competitor analysis

    Review how well you are doing vs. your competitors (same size) and best in industry. Baseline where you started. 

  • IT Maturity Assessment
Use IT framework with process maturity model to determine the level of maturity of your process. This will help identify how much improvement may be needed.

Also start collecting IT stats such as Metrics, SLAs and KPIs for future comparisons. Use executive dashboard to assess KPIs mattering for business, industry, how should the latest technology help improve them;

  • Know How-Learn more about Process
A. Meet business people and learn business flow.
B: Meet vendors
C: Business strategies and how they are aligning with IT strategies
D. KPI's
E:  How IT is supporting business and External Customers

  • Review the broad set of written Documentation:
 Walkthrough written documentation of enterprise architecture, policies, and organizational administrative structure can be helpful. IT customer satisfaction survey analysis, both from the strategic level and operational level to help understand business strategy, capability check, value chain, process optimization point, or governance checkpoint, though the new leader needs to remember that you cannot get 10 years of internal organizational knowledge in 100 days.

4.    Plan

A well-designed plan can keep you organized and on target to accomplish the goals you set during this period

  • It is important to have an entry plan. You do not have the benefit of just meeting with people. There must be a purpose, a schedule and the plan should communicate to what you plan to provide them 30, 60, 90 days into the process. Each plan must be laid out according to key discussions with top management,  that plan must be communicated with similar level and lower level staff so that they know you are purposefully seeking their input and are interested in helping them achieve their goals.

  • Develop an action plan: Look for low hanging fruit that can demonstrate your insight and ability to produce results, listen carefully, and move forward accordingly. Also be prepared to cut loose any dead weight. It takes a village. Cut unnecessary costs, streamline workflows, and watch the bottom line.

  • Build plan to meet expectation or set expectations due to limitation in budget, competency, capacity and maturity of IT organization

5. Priority

 Last 30 Days - Establishes what needs to be done, begin the communication and building relationships.Short term planning with potential actions to take, prioritize for tasks which have a significant impact on financial aspect and customer satisfaction.

  • To Do – Dashboard: Sit with customers and build the dashboard to focus on things they want most from IT. No more than 7. It may take stages to get to that dashboard. It helps put all on the same page and justify cost and transformation. 
  • Take a look at top 10 things in IT today (Mobile, Cloud, Big Data, BPM, Virtualization,..) and see when it was done or the plans to do it. Gives a good idea if IT is forward looking with skill and capacity, or if business and/or budget is holding it back.
  • Rank the Process: From the matched processes and maturity scoring (subjectively), rank the processes to determine which ones require immediate attention and which ones can wait. A plan will need to be developed on how to improve maturity, finding at least one action that can be implemented within 90 days to establish credibility with the business and commitment from team members

  • Develop & Communicate Priority List: The following is the possible strategy after 90 days which would be helpful for building a trusted relationship with all major stakeholders (Business leaders)
    1. Prepare & Clear Prioritization lists
    2. Develop One Year Action Plan
    3. Validate and make Alignment Priorities with Business People
    4. Communicate Priorities to IT team
    5. Build Consensus cross IT team with clear understanding of deliverables
    6. Communicate to Business with time frame & deliverables
    7. Start focusing on Longer-term Strategic Planning with possible measurable business values & results.

6. Practice

  • Communication Practice:
A. Listen more than you speak,
B. Create an atmosphere of optimism, excitement and anticipation and
D: Be open about your leadership style, thought leadership via social channels.

  • Innovation Practice: Connect the Dots
A: Observing, listening, digesting information
B: Questioning and communicating broadly in order to get the whole picture of new organization more objectively,
C: Connecting: reviewing business culture/strategy via his/her fresh eye, connect innovation dots to see what kind of key business issues need be solved, how should IT make a contribution on it?
D: Networking: Developing relationship with key stakeholders, customers, vendors, and team.,

  • Analytics Practice: Tactical and Strategic areas 
A: Budget - Where do you spend most, operations vs. development, CapEx vs. OpEx;
B: Team Critical Mass, Permanent vs. Consultants vs. service providers.
C: EA - Systems that are redundant in function, legacy in use, retirement plans
D: Technology - Partners, contracts, refresh cycles and asset management

7. Pitfalls need be avoided

 The first impression is the last impression:

  • Don’t over communicate, also do not communicate too little:
  • Don’t over analyze, also pay more attention to getting over-analyzed by others
  • Fight the urge to solve every problem before you fully understand the current state of the company.
  • Be open to breakdown the “invisible” boxes such as:
A: If only listen, not speak, would you be perceived as "non-competitive"?
B. if only observes, not express, would you be defined as "inefficient communicator"?
C: if only understand problem, not act, would you be labeled as "non-doer" 

  • Don’t over promise, and manage expectation accordingly;
  • Don’t focus on quick win only, both long term plan and short term win count;
  • Don’t pretend to be somebody else, be authentic;
  • Don’t be afraid of learning curves: as it can also be a good opportunity to make difference, ask right questions, connect innovation dots, recognize potential to make improvement and, besides passion, bring up some fresh insight.

Therefore, either new CIO or old CIO mainly needs to focus on Customer & Business Peer Relationship Management, Project Portfolio Management, Talent Management, Business Process/capability management and Vendor Relationship Management. And follow the new CIO's "SMART" start scenario:

S: Strategic communication, listening, learning, communicating and get full picture

M: Mindfulness: Understand culture with empathy, Make a plan for both long term or short term;

A: Assessment: the key issues, priority, the teams, and process, IT Maturity., etc.

R: Review:  Related document, EA, Customer Survey., etc.

T: Tactical Approach: Take some tactical steps, be cautiously optimistic, with logic and analytics.

In conclusion, for new IT leaders, by mastering such 7Ps with Smart Start principles, the journey can be less bumpy, better prepared, and the adventure can be more excited and purposeful.


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