Saturday, July 6, 2013

CIO as Chief Inclusiveness Officer: How to Build Talent Value Chain

CIOs need to play a leadership role in  building Culture of Innovation, Culture of Learning, and Culture of Fairness.

People are still the weakest link either in IT or business overall. While there’re so many brainstorms upon how CIOs need to lead the business transformation and move up IT maturity, one of the most difficult goals facing CIOs is perhaps still about people, can CIO play a critical role as ‘Chief Inclusiveness Officer’ to shape an open and innovative enterprise culture and enforce talent value chain seamlessly?

1.   The CIO’s Talent Strategy 

Many organizations have forgotten one of their main social responsibilities, people development. This is also a long-term view and one of the main causes of business failure. Assuming the CIO has the proper empowerment, and it is targeted toward making good people decisions vs. protecting its position within the organization, he/she should need critical thinking or the structured thinking upon talent strategy. Just like any kind of strategy, the CIO’s talent strategy should diagnose the current problems about IT workforce, set up the guideline and make a set of choices, also measure the result accordingly.

  • Define a set of questions to assess talent strategy: There is, in fact, a defined process on how to tackle the root cause vs. the interim ones,  and doing some assessment upon your talent strategy via series of questions: Is talent gap fact or fiction? What are the current talent/performance management limitations? To what extent is your IT function let down by your talent supply chain? And if so, why / where? 
  • A few key issues CIO needs to keep in mind when CIO assess Talent:
(1) Succession Planning: “this individual may be a possible candidate to eventually succeed me - is he/she up to it?"
(2) Does this individual have the business-savvy track record or the potential to engage confidently & competently at the highest level with executive peers?
(3) What new capability, insight or mindset will this individual bring that we don't have and that we need?

2.    Talent Magic Quadrant

CIOs are all familiar with Magic Quadrant to evaluate IT vendors, indeed, the same logic and similar criteria can be used to assess talent. As businesses become so dynamic, the knowledge life cycle is shortened significantly due to the rapid change in IT industry, more and more businesses are looking for growth mindset, than fixed brain; hunting for modular problem-solving capabilities rather than a certificate or keyword-based experience. What’s on the CIO’s talent Magic Quadrant: There're four types of talent on it. 

  • Leaders: The forward-looking organizations always look for leaders, or the talent with leadership potential, who can make a positive influence, think long term; possess strategic POV, drive solutions or reflect discernment to make right decisions. etc. Either as IT generalist, or IT specialist, formal leaders or social influencers, the talent with leadership potential will drive the culture of learning and innovation; take initiatives to drive business transformation 
  • Visionary: Visionary is always rare, due to change nature of technology, IT talent who has passion about information with cognizance of the future trend, who can see the future and how the future of IT can bring business opportunities to develop new products/service, or improve customer service, will really make a difference. So besides specific daily tasks, IT leaders should encourage IT people thinking deeper and express out.   
  • Niche Player: IT talent has the special interest, either as 'guru' or expert in a specific arena, who are dedicated to being a specialist with deep knowledge, communicate effectively with peers and users, these niche players are needed to continuously make the contribution to IT success. 
  • Challenger: These are IT talent people who can think differently, always shape the new box of thinking, mind the gap of the traditional way to solve the problems, establish insight into approach and style in different situations. They could become the innovation champions, to rejuvenate legacy IT, legacy process, legacy enterprise,  legacy industries, even ‘legacy” social-ecosystem. 
In any these categories above, attitude + Amplitude is key, always look for those who've demonstrated that they are good to their end users, have a positive attitude and aptitude and desire to learn a new business,  with good learning skills, or they provide the spark of creativity to solve complex issues within the parameters of time, budget, and resources

3. CIOs as Culture Shaper

In a toxic environment; it’s vital that senior management finds a key that can, at least, open a door to positive energy. Perhaps it's time to brainstorm how to build up a more open agile and healthy workplace.

  • IT can play a leadership role in driving culture changes. Can CIO and her/his executive peers play as Chief Inclusiveness Officers to shape the healthy working environment with an innovative culture? Whilst others may say it is not just senior management who are ‘toxic,’ it is they who set the tone and expected behavior for the rest of the business, and they ultimately take responsibility for the culture of the business. It starts from the top. IT can play a leadership in driving such change, as it’s at a unique position to well align people, process, and technology. And IT culture as key sub-culture of the organization will directly impact overall business healthiness. 
  • The most wanted culture for IT & business: culture of innovation, culture of learning, and culture of fairness: The positive culture will cultivate the business ability to combine hard data and intuition in decision making, Judgment-in-action includes effective problem solving, the design of strategies, the setting of priorities, and intuitive as well as rational judgments. Most important, perhaps, it includes the capacity to appraise the potentialities of co-workers and opponents. Fairness means to be equitable, unprejudiced, impartial, dispassionate and objectives. People are much purposeful, creative and productive under such positive working environment. 


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