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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Spectrum of Self-Organizing and Self-Managing

So the focus of structure experiment needs always to be on exploring the various pathways towards desired (not defined) goals.

Self-organization comes from chaos theory. Living systems are self-organizing—there is no genetic manager. Human systems are living systems, therefore, human systems are self-organizing, by definition. The problem is we are taught to be managed out of this natural state of being, by well-meaning people who believe outside control to deliver more effective results at industrial age. Such a command-control management style is the root cause of many business issues such as low employee engagement, lack of innovation, 'toxic culture,' etc. However, forward-thinking organizations today are on the journey of digital transformation, what's the optimal digital management style? There's a whole spectrum between minimally self-organizing and fully self-managing. If the organization were larger, some of the management burdens would likely be shared between the teams. but how much is right? That depends on the context.

Self-organizing is about empowerment and trust: You know the team will deliver the best outcome and give them the freedom to do it on their way. The roles are cognitive, and not necessarily overtly acknowledged by the team members or the member who takes on the role. In other words, the selection of roles is done automatically and naturally. Assigning a "leader" in the form of a project manager, or "team leader," from the outside imposes upon the team an external force, not within the team itself. That project manager is rarely assimilated by the team, and the team will generally self-organize without the externally assigned project manager. Specifically, what high innovative and high-performing teams DO NOT WANT:
- Managers to micromanage how the team builds the servers.
- Managers that make decisions on architecture, tooling, processes, practices.
- Managers demand KPIs for every little thing.

A self-organizing team has full authority in decision making: Since self-organization will occur naturally and most of the time without, or in spite of, external direction, sometimes teams will form when we would not want teams, for example, small groups within a larger team will self-organize into cliques. This is one reason most of the agile approaches recommend smaller teams: to reduce the potential of smaller teams forming to the detriment of the larger team. However, since self-organization is a natural human activity, sometimes the only way to overcome the negative effects of self-organized cliques is to physically separate the members. A self-organizing team, thus have full authority on the practices, processes, tools, engineering methods they would like to use to build the product. The team have all the right skills to make the right architectural and design decisions and are left to do it.

The team is self-organizing in being disciplined enough to do the work: So it's all about bringing decisions within the team and bringing the skills to make good decisions within the team at the same time. It becomes "self-managing" when those decisions are ones "management" traditionally consider to be theirs to make. The team is self-organizing in being disciplined enough to do the work. They do not decide on what work needs to be done, but rather how the work is to be done. A team can be self-organizing in determining the best and most efficient method of delivering the commitments they had made at the beginning of the sprint. Teams naturally gravitate towards self-organization, if not interfered with. The important part of people outside the team can play (customers, stakeholders, etc) is to set clear goals and establish clear boundaries. The only thing the business wants to see at the end of each sprint is working software that meets the business requirement. The business should also expect professionalism from the team. The business has a right to have transparency into this and allowed to inspect what the team is doing, but they should not dictate to the team how to do it and how to measure their own performance. The team organizes by itself on how it will address the problem that has been presented to it. No one on the outside directs this. The focus is to manage and organize work, It requires people who can manage to organize. It is all about taking responsibility.

Businessdictionary.com defines management as the organization and coordination of the activities of a business in order to achieve defined objectives. Management is concerned with outcomes. The outcomes are too unknowable in the knowledge industry to make such focus useful—indeed, it is often detrimental. So the focus needs always to be on exploring the various pathways towards desired (not defined) goals. The goals themselves will change, just as the pathways you take will change. Self-organization allows you to adapt to current context and circumstance, to emerge the next most useful evolutionary change to get where you think you need to go next.

Is Executive Committee Still Helpful for Governance Discipline

Any add-on organizational structure should keep digital flow via the right set of principles, but not adding another hierarchical layer between the Management and the Board.

According to businessdictionary.com, an Executive Committee (EC) is the group of directors appointed to act on behalf of, and within the powers granted to them by, the board of directors. Typically it consists of a chairperson, vice-chairperson, secretary, and treasurer. From both management and governance perspectives, Is EC helpful, or just adding the other layer of bureaucracy to the already complex organizational structure?

Executive Committees (EC) can be helpful in certain circumstances. The world is rarely black and white, mostly gray. It is not necessary to have an EC, but it could be very helpful. Some Executive Committees have been given the role of performance management of the senior staff officer, and may also act as a search committee when needed. Some plan annual board retreats, and advise the chair on the board agenda (all directors and board committee chairs should be asked for input each time). They do many things that boards do, including advice to management on achieving expectations, support of the acquisition of resources such as fundraising, connecting management to resources they may need from other organizations etc, they may support management achieving expectations but cannot conflict with the board's fundamental responsibilities. So to assess its practicality, better ask the set of questions: What is the mission you intend to accomplish? What would be the most effective leadership structure for accomplishing that? What structure would ensure the organization's leaders are actively ensuring the organization is walking the talk of its values? What structures would ensure the leaders are actively connecting with others who are seeking to accomplish the same goals? What structures would ensure active leadership in developing and monitoring programs to accomplish the mission? Instead of reacting to problems, such questions can guide organizations to create what is possible - strong leadership for accomplishing their mission, aiming at what you do want vs. reacting to what you do not want.

EC should not be another hierarchical layer between the Management and the Board. Just one example, a Budget Review could be done in greater details by the EC so that after the budget presentation by Management, the EC could raise a few issues which might have been noted by the EC while doing the review and which would never have been looked at by the full Board. This does not have to be a criticism of management, but it is bringing different points of view looking at the same issue, which could have been buried in the budget and because management is working in the branches and the trees, they sometimes forget to look at the color of the forest. Budgets should be reviewed rigorously and granularly with no concern as to whether management likes this or not. But this should be a function of the full board. If the board is not capable of doing this then the wrong people are on the board.

All committees should be advisory to the board including an executive committee. Fundamentally a board has two responsibilities: Deciding what the expectations of management are and deciding whether management is achieving expectation. A board of directors duty to shareholders encompasses the need to effectively manage stakeholder issues and values so they do not become a risk to shareholder values. If stakeholder values and issues are well managed they should become enhancements to shareholder values. And shareholder values do not begin and end with financial profit. Smart corporations and shareholders know that they live in this world too and focusing only on short-term economics can lead to negative values that may outweigh finances in the long-term.

Organizational structure is situational driven. ECs could signal management influence of a board. Their original purpose is to meet when the board could not, but with the robust digital technology, this purpose has been addressed. The most boards are small enough to meet frequently and easy to get together via technology, the old role of an Executive Committee acting for the board is disappearing. The downside to an executive committee can be that it creates a two-tier board. Still, EC could be helpful in certain circumstance and certain organizations, jus keeps the end goal in mind, to improve governance effectiveness and business maturity.

Are you Still Running "Business as Usual" or Embracing the Digital "New Normal"?

Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of changes and the purpose of change.

Today's workplace is the hybrid of the physical building and the virtual connectivity, and today's digital workforce is changing significantly with the characteristics of multi-generation, multi-culture, and multi-devicing. However, the solution to better managing this shifting talent population hasn't achieved the expected result yet. How to take new management approaches that reflect the global talent pool and the expectations of today's new talent, but with improving the overall standard of management and leadership. Are you still running a business as usual? And shall you embrace such business new normal heartily and mindfully?

Hopefully, workforce and workplace changes are a top priority in strategic planning initiatives in all companies: There seems to be so much uncertainty in the digital working environment today, there are different recruitment methods, greater transparency, more engagement and retention initiatives, training, and development at every level, the integration of cross-training and knowledge sharing opportunities, having a plan for succession, and keeping up with technological advances, those that are value-added to business success, are major factors of the new business norm. The organization especially has to become nimbler of updating technology. To survive the long term may involve more planning, more compromise on budget expenditures and changing outlooks on profit margins as a result. The scales are tipping once again and we must lead in creating that balance.

The more you can clearly paint the image of why the company is in the situation it is in and provide the vision of a new world, the better: It is important to keep the communications open, as well as keeping people focused on things they can control. We are human beings interacting with other human beings. A business decision is made via people interaction. People don't fear change; they fear loss. Without information about the change, they make up their own stories. Leadership must share all they can as much as they can and as often as they can. Most people are fearful of change for their own security yet they do understand that difficult times or situations happen. What they do want though is to be treated with respect and dignity. If leaders can demonstrate that they are doing the best for all in a given situation, people will respond more positively. You have to create an environment where people can be successful. In line with being open and honest balance the major change, embed it amongst the current perception and comprehension of the overall position and direction and then relativity will kick in, people will distill their own priorities, take ownership and act. The benefits are the greater engagement for those who may have changed a role and those who have possibly to leave at least feel better treated. Because these people may be also your future customers or advocates for the company.

Major changes in an organization can have unforeseen consequences that could negatively impact the company: It is ultimately the job of talent managers, to analyze the consequences and determine solutions for any issues created. In addition, professionals should determine why problems happened, how problems escalated, which areas of the organization were affected, and when the problems started. A thorough analysis would also determine any benefits of a major change, and professionals could plan to maximize any benefits. It is all about clarity. Keeping employees informed reduces gossip which is the greatest loss of productivity and an increase in panic. it is fair to communicate the importance of keeping your eye on the ball, to spread time and attention across all stakeholders, if that is what is meant with business as usual then people should be more explicit.

Change is the new normal. The speed of change is increasing, and the digital ecosystem has become more complex and dynamic, to put simply, change itself changes, Change Management also turns to be more complex. True and consistent communication should replace the 'business as usual.' Reinstating the obvious of the continuation of tasks but in a positive light can help but you can expect a lull in productivity. Change Management can become more successful with people at the core of change, the cause of changes and the purpose of change.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Three Questions to Assess a Person’s Character

Character is an important differentiator between extraordinary and ordinary, a real leader and a follower.
People are always the most invaluable asset in the organization. The question is how would you define the right people? How do you define wrong, average, mediocre, good, great or extraordinary person? One of the key differentiators is CHARACTER which is kind of things that education can’t help a lot. The understanding character is very relevant and timely for leading organizations to overcome mediocrity, and for the leaders who are seeking new ways to maximize themselves and human capital initiatives in their organizations. And measuring ROC - Return on Character has become the trend in many forward-looking organizations for both developing leaders and identifying high professional employees with integrity to innovate culture and improve organizational maturity. However, what is the character? And how to assess a person’s character or CQ (Character Quotient) though?

Do you have persistence and determination to accomplish ultimate goals? Trial and suffering expose one’s character for who they really are: Many people say that trials and suffering build character. It does not build character as much as it exposes one's character for who they really are. That is why if a person can change their victim mentality to one of a survivor's mentality, or even thriver’s mindset, then and ONLY then can the strength be strengthened, ambition be inspired, and success achieved. People have different characters (perception + personality). Some are more resilient, they face the difficulty, and stand again, with survivor's mentality; others live with a victim mentality. They are unable to accept it mentally, though would still survive. Few might face difficulties, bounce back with resilience and transform it into a rock solid character. It takes perseverance to fulfill the purpose: Purposeful leaders and professionals have a vision, which is so clear to them, making it quite obviously purposeful.  And then it takes passion to translate such purpose, more often than not, there’s rocky road ahead, and it takes perseverance and determination to accomplish the purpose.

Can you act consistently no matter it’s good time or bad time; facing pressure or being pushed through? To be consistent means to be who you are, keep your authenticity. Character-based leaders and professionals define their values and follow the leadership principles with consistency; they don’t swing back and forth just for personal benefit; or propagate rumors without integrity; they understand trust is two-way street, win respect via their character, and such trustworthy leadership will motivate the team to perform better and keep open-minded, trust like glue, makes leaders and teams act as a whole. Life's a journey with ups and downs, there is the purpose in adversity and we all experience it, for life, is about learning, and we all are going to get tested at various times in our lives. Acceptance of the situation allows us to see it from a broader and deeper perspective and empowers us. The character needs to be built. Adversity may test what you are made of -- at that particular moment only. But we improve our character from these experiences and learn to be more resilient. Once one has formed and 'built' their character through their cognition and experiences, those experiences define who you are.

Are you an Independent Thinker or a “mindless” follower? Independent thinking differentiates an authentic and character-based leader from a follower and defines an outstanding professional from mediocre employees. Independent thinking means you do not follow others opinion blindly, but analyze and synthesize all sources of input and information to form your own opinion. It doesn’t mean you "reinvent the wheel" every time when you make a decision. But if you uncritically accept whatever values, knowledge or ideas you've been taught, many of them perhaps are out of date or having a bias, you are not a great thinker, but an average order taker. Education alone can not shape one's independent thinking capability because you can teach people the certain level of knowledge or skills, but you can’t teach them how to think, how to be themselves, they just have to discover, explore and develop themselves.

Hire Character, Train for Skills. Character-based leaders and professionals have the persistence to do what they need to do to fulfill the vision and achieve the goals; have consistency as well to be who they are regardless of circumstances, and they are the great thinkers to bring new perspectives without limited to conventional wisdom. The character is an important differentiator between an ordinary and extraordinary, and it's the true color of diversity.

How to Shape an Agile Culture

Agile Culture is the foundation of digital transformation from "Doing Agile" to "Being Agile."

Every forward-looking organization is transforming from doing Agile to being Agile while the fundamental to such shift is the culture thing. Every experienced professional will be agile enough to say that few things are vital for creating an agile organization, such as seamless communication, focus on innovation, harnessing collaboration and employee empowerment. But to digital deeper, what's the fundamental for such shift, it’s about shaping the collective mindset, attitude, and behavior to adapt to the increasing change environment and take action more proactively.

Organizations with Agile culture can identify both opportunities and risks, and response to them with speed and resilience. Agile organizations are able to adapt quickly in a sustainable manner to changes (threats, opportunities) of any dimension in the operating environment and grow. This can happen only when an organization is able to (1) recognize a change in the environment quickly, (2) assess its impact on the organization, (3) determine how to reorient itself, in terms of strategy, policy, structure, capability, processes, practices etc. to tide over the threats / benefit from the opportunities with speed and at a optimal cost, (4) campaign effectively in creating awareness about the need to adapt and willingness to embrace the changes and finally (5) embrace the changes at a fast and uniform pace across the length and breadth of the organization.

The spirit of the organization comes from the top! Agile culture is one that continuously learns and executes based on those learnings. It’s about the attitudes and behaviors needed by senior management to help their organizations respond promptly and creatively to change. In order to cultivate an Agile culture across the whole organization, creative agility as a core value is a prerequisite. Unless managers and employees at all levels recognize the reality of discontinuous change in today's world and own the critical importance of being ready and able to respond promptly, they'll lose the game. Agile or any methodology should be driven by top management seriously, otherwise, there will be no takers. Agile cultures have agile leaders who have the wisdom to know the difference between what needs to be maintained and what needs to change. Agile cultures require empowered employees. The leadership challenge is to empower with control. Shorten feedback loops and raise employee visibility/accountability can deliver dramatic results.

Shift top-down culture to bi-directional: The #1 thing in creating an Agile culture is to replace the old top-down culture with a bi-directional culture that has frequent communication of knowledge from the bottom up as well as top down. Many old-fashioned top-down restricted hierarchical companies are now more and more trying to emulate the culture of “digital native” companies, that "enabling" the lower ranks to be heard and being part of the dialogue is the biggest thing companies can do to not just do Agile on paper but truly thrive in an innovative culture as being Agile. Usually, in a big company, there are a lot of players and not everyone "gets the memo" at the same time. It does take a while and good examples have to constantly be set from the top down, none of that happens overnight.

Transparency is important in creating an agile culture. It has to be easy to communicate openly within the organization. Make interactions possible and be on the lookout for signs of fear from speaking up. Agile encourages creativity and interaction. However, it evolves changes from altering the system, acting differently, creating awareness and inspiring/challenging others.

Agile is a journey, not a destination; it’s more as a "direction" than an "end." Transforming to Agile culture means the business knows the direction they want to go on, and as the people discover new ways of working, collaborating, delivering value, they inspect and adapt in that journey. This, in the end, may have the effect of promoting culture change organically while reducing the stress, to run a high-agile and high-mature organization.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Three Elements to Harness Collective Creativity

A leadership development program implies 'doing things differently' as well as 'doing different things' at all leadership levels.

Creativity is exactly what distinguishes a deal made from the commodity. Observed in hundreds of intelligent breakthrough decisions, where leaders and organizations benefit from boldly informed moves, while other 'non-decisions' fail to deliver breakthrough results. The solution lies in channelization of employees' ideas on any particular aspect and makes them 'brainstorm' so that there are individual and collective outcomes that can lead to new technologies, solutions, or paths.

Leadership: Leadership is about art and science. The leadership exercises a key role in the careful planning of activities to build environments and cultures to foster creativity, and build the interdisciplinary nature of the team, to promote collective creativity while maintaining the high tension of the group to the new, the easy-going projects. But how do leaders, involve all people in creative thinking and actions? And how can you help improve the harvest of the creative seeds?  Leadership has a direct influence on the organizational culture, a leadership development program implies 'doing things differently' as well as 'doing different things' at all leadership levels and not just for those going through a formal leadership development program. Organizations should spend adequate time on clarifying these expectations as well as on being clear on what transformation/change chain of events sets in motion for the broader organization. It is about applied knowledge and capture wisdom. What has often proven to be successful is to customize an approach that addresses the unique development needs of each leader with real life situations rather than just "learning and development" constructs. There's a place for equipping with the fundamentals through teaching and development but to attain mastery requires continuous progression. Often businesses tend to focus on what the leader needs to do differently going forward, but not enough time in preparing the environment to receive the evolved leader, such as extending the development experience to allowing the leader to make different decisions given the new knowledge and insights they are busy gathering during the leadership journey, or does leaders find that old boundaries are still enforced that do not allow for new knowledge to be applied and hence the leaders energy is diverted towards rather maintaining the status quo because the alternative proves to be too difficult.

Authenticity: We seek to become intimate with Who We Are. Behind the eyes and within the physical being in which we dwell lies the connection to all things. Here you will find creativity and intuition. This disruptive innovation reveals what connects rather than separates. We are then mobilized to become conscious in all we do. The only requirement is a sincere dedication to do no harm and begin the discovery in earnest. Best of all, there are no gurus to follow as you will learn to lead yourself. It is only then your responsibility as to how and when you decide to take this journey. There are many ways to do this and the rewards await recognition. So the second half of the creativity equation belongs to the team member. People can be creative in the way they dress or act or even in working on projects that excite them. And that’s good. But the bottom line can’t be ignored and as a business leader, you do need to show some ROI over time. Additionally, some people are creative by nature and may thrive in a more free-flowing environment and some of their ideas may bear fruit. But that seems like scattering a bunch of seeds on the wind and seeing which ones germinate. Finally, some people value order and structure and are not creative by nature.

Failure: Creativity is utilizing both sides of the brain simultaneously -- creative + activity. Creativity and failure go hand and hand. Failure is certainly a signpost on the road to success. We need to look at them as lessons learned. In today's market creativity is important but also flexibility, innovation and acting fast are essential ingredients to success. And if we want creativity we must build in the acceptance, even the celebration of small, quick failures. Without the acceptance of failure, creativity and innovation will suffer. There is the belief that operates according to the trajectory of human progress and to be able to contribute to their professional effort. Innovations fail because folks fear innovation. Innovations succeed when failure is seen as a learning step to great success.

There is no silver bullet or standard processes for innovation management. The learning by experimenting through the actual situational exercise of leadership under real-world situations and challenges often provides the most effective learning and testing, tailor specific business needs, and ultimately build a highly creative organization.

Are HR Professionals Fearful of Analytics?

Great analytics is not just numbers or statistics, they are the story behind the data. 

Analytics in business is a way of measuring results and outcomes and, if you don't measure, how can you go about making and measuring improvements? Analytics typically are performed by IT, finance, and other technical players in a company. For HR to branch out into the analytical realm, it might be intimidating - depending on the company culture. HR needs to look after the Human Capital side of things, but you also need to manage and measure just like every other functional area of a business. You really need to be good business stewards first and HR SMEs secondly--run HR like a business and align your strategies to those of the business.

Those who are very much aware that analytics is simply a game changer – it can bare truth.  There are two reasons in doing analytics: 1). they can provide amazing clarity into what drives business performance. 2). that often comes with aha moments and transparency that make people squirm. Contrary to popular perception or understanding, the HR professionals with game-changing mindset are, truly, not fearful of analytics. Rather, they are appreciative of analytics and are much inclined to use it but in absolute privacy. It's really important to think about not just the analytics, but what the analytics mean and how you will talk about that with your various constituencies from employees to mid-level management to executives. Often the fear lies in the probability that use of analytics may reveal such truth that can cause the embarrassment, or put them in low professional esteem if the results are made public. The further development of analytics is crucial to enable HR to provide fact-based evidence of the function's quantifiable impact on the business objectives. It will help gain credibility, engagement, and align HR reporting with that of the rest of the business. Some reluctance may be due to the fact that so much of the value that can be added by the HR team is difficult to quantify, and too heavy a focus on statistics could further detract from the recognized value of such activities. Also, if the structure of many HR organizations prevents the ability to take the time required to build out meaningful predictive analytics. The volume of transactional work minimizes the opportunity to consult at the strategic level required to build out metrics, identify and build out data required for impact.

Applying analytics to HR functions does not receive as much attention till date as it received in other functions such as IT, sales, CRM, finance, procurement. Some of the fear is the traditional fear of math and statistics, or because people don't understand how to make HR quantifiable and quality-based at the same time. In general terms, many HR Professionals have gravitated toward this profession since analytics, math, programming, etc. are not their strengths, nor interest in many cases, even if they can appreciate the value. They have not been trained in this area. They are used to reporting quantity, such as how many employees attend classes and how many applications are received, but it is more threatening to think of having to increase the number of VIABLE candidates, for a position, or how many people learned and improved as a result of training. So, it is less of fear and more of initiatives to tap the benefits from analytics in HR. The technology required for HR analytics is also a barrier. The majority of people attracted to HR find technology intimidating and IT funding for HR is usually a low priority for companies. Therefore, many HR departments are left with out-of-date analytical software (or just Excel) that they don't know how to use properly and they are too afraid or lack funding to learn. Perhaps it needs an analysis to understand the reason behind HR not adopting Analytics. The basic fault is the way HR professionals have understood their profession. Their background and education have not prepared them for analyzing Data. Used as they are to relying on information gathered through contacts and kept by them in excel format, which would not have been updated. They also have not learned the skills required to do the analysis. Maybe they think it is not their cup of tea. Data Analysis requires analytical bent of mind. Few possess this.

HR can use this golden opportunity to polish themselves, correct the data and learn from mistakes. By holding back, you do not achieve what you want. HR needs to shed its inhibition to stay relevant. HR are generally regarded as people-oriented people. Since people are different than products, raw materials, and production units, you have been brainwashed to feel that analytics of any type is an attempt to commodities human intellect. Another point of fear is that analytics can be manipulated to prove any point and may dehumanize the uniqueness of each individual. While it’s essential to measure work performance on an input and output basis. Though many HR professionals are fearful that they may lose their identity, they should also look at the advantages; those adding real value will soon have analytics to validate the efforts for higher compensation and benefits.

There are a few bottlenecks for widely adopting HR analytics: You can't see where you're going, or how to get there, unless you know where you are; and the analysis of pertinent numbers are necessary to do that. However, there are a few bottlenecks for widely adopting HR analytics: 1). HR professionals have not been trained in analytics. 2). Most companies don't have one CoE analytics, where all analytic data is pulled, so it's not at all uncommon for data to be all over the place and not accurate enough to be put on a dashboard, 3). HR needs to take a deep, hard look to see how well they understand the businesses they support and what is relevant data for them to report back. Ask your clients what's important to their business and give them the data they will need to be successful in the future.

HR need a deep understanding of the organization, how it works and what analytics is relevant in an HR context. Analytics is the language that CXOs speak and HR has to learn to speak their language and also retain their softer side too. That also means being speaking the language of the customer - Finance, IT, Sales, Marketing etc. - in a way that demonstrates your understanding of their challenges. You then become true partners in building new futures for employers. Everyone complains about bad data and how tough it is to get data out of the "systems," but the reality is there is no conflict between emphasizing the "soft skills" side of things in HR and measuring yourself on a relatively few and impactful analytics, sharing that info with the business and focusing on continuous improvement. It's really not that hard to do--pick the right measures, get a baseline of data, continue measuring, take action to improve and be transparent in sharing the data. The business will respect you for it and appreciate the leadership in trying to make things better.  To use analytics properly and well, a person needs to understand 1) The structure and limitations of the dataset itself; 2) the meaning of the data (the "soft" or feeling side of things 3) what relationships are plausible and 4) the limits of valid interpretation of statistical data.

Analytics is a vital component of any business as they give you valuable insight in making better decisions. HR departments are chuck full of information and big data. They have so much at their disposal and at their fingertips, and yet many of them still do nothing with all this great information. Those HR professionals who can bridge the human side of HR and also provide the big data to the folks that make the decisions affect the communities of companies are worth their weight in gold in today's business world. More specifically, HR analytics helps either A: Confirm what you know about your business and support your choices or B: Provide you with data to make better strategic decisions. The fear of analytics can likely be traced to the fear of the 'unknown.' These numbers paint a different picture...With respect to HR, adding that 'human touch' to data may be the best way to present your findings. Great analytics is not just numbers or statistics, they are the story behind the data. Enthrall your clients, tell great stories and encourage them to ask what's next. Ask how analytics can help you understand your accomplishments, identify areas that need extra attention and go ahead, make more informed, strategic choices. Fear not, the data will set you free.  

Math skills and people skills are not mutually exclusive, indeed, the dual factor skills are on strong demand. Analytics is related to technology and math, it's a tragic mistake to assume tech or math skills and "people skills" are somehow mutually exclusive. IT pros certainly can and do understand HR metrics, and HR folks can run linear regressions 'till their hearts content. Dual factor skills, are harder to find, but not at all mutually exclusive. Analytics represents an opportunity for both departments to become more strategic through their partnership. HR become savvier at data-driven decision making by working closely with IT and other functions. Nobody's toes will be stepped on if we're walking side by side, looking in the same direction. Everyone in management or any kind of strategic role needs to be able to work with data and understand basic statistical methodologies and their implications in the real world.

People should be at the heart of management and strategy. Both HR and everyone in management, especially in strategic roles, needs to have a basic understanding of statistics- and what are 'fair and helpful' interpretations and what are not. HR leaders will be respected and listened to when you truly understand the business, what is most important for the business, and how you in HR can contribute to that. The most respected and valued HR leaders think about the business issues first and align their HR agenda to the business needs. The trick is: the answers are different for different businesses, you just have to overcome the fear and embrace it bravely and practice it continually.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

What're Fundamental Differences between Leadership and Management?

A fundamental purpose of leadership is to provide vision and empower change.

Leadership is all about the future, about change, about progress and innovation. The defining difference between a manager and a leader is why people follow them and does their reach of influence towards a common objective extend past the limits of their authority? Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler. Such leadership/ management comparison is not to oversimplify the purpose, role, and function of each, but to gain a profound understanding of how to lead and manage in a more effective way.

A fundamental purpose of leadership is to provide vision and empower change while a fundamental goal of a manager is to oversee the tasks and execution. Some great managers do lead well and leaders manage well, but many do not have both skillsets. The goal is to have more talented people that are fluent in both skillsets, they are not mutually exclusive. Leaders inspire, provide vision, and direction while managers work towards the change and evolution of the employee. A leader is anyone who influences others to effective action.  A manager optimizes the use of resources, designs, and implements processes. Great Leaders not only have a great vision but are realistic towards making it happen through a great manager to compliment the execution process. You also need a great manager that understands the vision's prime directive and capable of ensuring a smooth transition during the execution phase towards the successful completion of the vision, otherwise, it would fail in making it happen.

Good leadership is about doing the right things, and good management is about doing things right. A successful leader knows the difference between management and leadership is more than semantics. Leaders use influence to motivate and inspire others to follow and support them as they move the organization beyond its comfort zone. Challenging beliefs, ideas, and strategies along with accepted ways of doing things are all hallmarks of leadership. Leaders hold a long-range view. Good leadership is about doing the right things. Leaders are the visionaries moving forward for growth, inspiring the masses for a common goal with innovative moves toward the future. Managers are the implementer, taking the visions of the leaders and implementing the actions to actually make the visions become realities.

Leaders set principles, open for criticism, and take the risk for innovation. Managers follow the rule, control the risks, and improve efficiency. A good leader is a confident person who will welcome debate and do their utmost to understand and embrace another viewpoint. Being a leader can on occasion feel isolating, however, by following your instinct you will more often than not turn the situation around and produce a positive outcome. Leaders invite debates and challenges from employees for innovative ideas. The problem is that if the manager is stuck in the day to day activities and remain happy with compliance, then there is no room for creativity to do better than expected. If we don't take risks, try new methods and challenge the traditional method and follow agile leadership, and then the task gets boring and not effective.

Everything which is wrong with organizations is the mixing up of the two concepts-leadership and management, they are highly complementary strengths for organizational success. At the end of the day, it all comes down to how we manage and lead ourselves with the support of peers, side-by-side, not top to bottom! Top to bottom leadership and management discourages self-management and self-leadership. If we see everyone as capable of managing and leading themselves, we are less likely to jump into 'rescue' or 'command,' but use our own humanity and humility to question, learn, mentor and work together!

To Celebrate the #2200th Blog: The Moon Festival with Triple Moon Effect

Moon fluctuates the mind, just like the waves pushing forward in the sea.

Moon has been eulogized by poets and there are so many connotations about the moon. It is the quiet and cloudy moon festival today, but with a few unusual moon phenomenons. The Lunar Eclipse on September 27/ 28, 2015 occurs during the Northern Hemisphere's first (autumn) full Moon with triple effect.

Super Moon happens when the full moon correlates with the moon being closest to Earth in its orbit. When this happens, the moon looks bigger and brighter in the sky. It’s also called the Harvest Moon in many northern cultures, it is the full Moon closest to the September Equinox and is astronomically significant. (timeanddate.com)

Total Lunar Eclipse: Eclipses of the Moon happen when the Sun, Earth and Moon are aligned to form an almost or exact straight line. The technical term for this is syzygy, which comes from the Greek word for being paired together.

Blood Moon: A Total Lunar Eclipse can get a deep red glow and is sometimes called a Blood Moon. Because when the eclipse happens, it will have a coppery, red look to it.

Moon affects our mind, feelings, emotions, and desires. The moon-frequencies are slightly more subtle or intangible than the subtle frequencies of our thoughts and are less subtle than the frequencies of the past impressions in our mind. The mind consists of the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. Within the subconscious mind, we have a number of impressions that are embedded and decide our basic nature and personality. We are however not aware of the thoughts or impressions in our subconscious mind. These impressions get collected over a number of lifetimes. The moon-frequencies have the capacity to make the thought frequencies from the impressions in our subconscious mind to surface to the conscious mind.

Moon fluctuates the mind, just like the waves pushing forward in the sea. Life is just like a moon, there's full and wax. The principle is of gravitation and moon come near to the earth, tides take place. Since the human body consists of 70% water, it is also affected by gravitation and sometimes unusual activity takes place in the human brain. However, the gravitation effect is not all so manifested in our common day to day behavior. Most of us are not even aware of this tide effects and the phenomenons does take place only in few people.

Mind is like an ocean and thought is like a wave, people should develop consciousness, also leverage subconscious, to move towards deep in the ocean to collect gems and come out with great force like a tide to spread all these pure pearls along with gems. It’s the journey to gain wisdom and it is the reflection in Moon Festival.

How to Leverage Systems Thinking in Cause Effect Analysis

The purpose of Systems Thinking is to frame-solve problems and creating desirable futures.

Systems Thinking is searching for meaningful relationships both within these subsystems and between them; monitoring and observing links and feedback systems. That is complex. One thing that seems often to be left unconsidered is that in order to leverage Systems Thinking, one must have grown a brain capable of highly complex cognition to do cause-effect analysis, with the goals not to complicate a system, but to simplify and optimize via understanding the interconnectivity of system and digging through the root cause in order to solve the problem more effectively.

The purpose of Systems Thinking is to frame-solve problems and creating desirable futures. Humans feel usually uncomfortable in the presence of uncertainty so they prefer to search for a 'box' where to enter and feel safe, even if this means to accept a 'label' and then, sometimes, struggling to find the exit from that exactly 'bordered' space ~ while in order to solve the complex problems facing humankind today, Out-of-Box thinking implies to connect the dots often cross-disciplinary domains. The purpose of Systems Thinking is to solve problems and creating desirable futures. So many people do not know how to connect the dots within complex systems, nor think inclusively, or holistically, nor comprehend dynamics, induction or deduction, nor understand expensive variables, interfaces, and interactions. System Thinking cannot be completely acquired from theory, or book, or from formal schooling. System Thinking is gained via experience during professional practices.

To understand Cause-Effect is to dig through and understand systems. Cause-Effect Analysis entails (a) Effect on context, (b) Intended vs. Actual, and (c) Source of Effect. Designers are the source of the intended effect and unintended effects. The system in operation is the source of actual effects, thereby reveals actual purpose. Systems Thinking is a very large field with widely different perspectives relating to the understanding of what the system looks like and is. It enables you to make systems relatively simple to understand, explain, and use. People are biased to attribute causation and intention to changes in their environments. Rigorous experimentation can establish real cause and effect relationships in the physical sciences depending on the scale. Variables are easier to control. But in explorations in the social and psychological areas, statistics must be used. The trouble is sample/population sizes. Too small results in the emergence of artifacts. The same as if we ask the wrong questions.

The purpose is attributed to systems via design, and thus purpose is linked to cause and effect. Cause and Effect do not permit any conclusion with respect to purpose. Purpose implies intention. The intention, however, is not implicit in any cause-and-effect relationship. Relating purpose and cause and effect may be useful to gain an understanding of a system or from a hypothesis about a system's behavior. There is a purpose that comes from within, and it means within one’s unconscious and collective unconscious. These are the basic instincts they have a key role in shaping what externally we see as our ideals – enlightenment, love, truth, etc. We also have purposes that arise from our interactions with others. They too are influenced by unconscious emotions these are manifest as social, political, technical values, etc. These tend to be dynamic because our interactions are dynamic. We also have purposes that we associate with outcomes, these are influenced by our unconscious motives and are manifest as goals objectives, etc. There is a bias in our thinking, and ST is by no means exempt, to see purpose only as goals and even there to ignore their origin in unconscious motives. So the purpose itself is a multidimensional system. It has the same properties as any other system. It has emergent properties that help deal with future possibilities. It has outcome properties that help get things done by relying on past experience. It has relational properties that help resolve the tensions between future possibilities and past experience.

From a management perspective, it’s important to leverage Systems Thinking for doing in-depth cause-effect analysis, to simplify complicated things, and to manage complexity accordingly. As Systems Thinking guru Russell Ackoff, said: "Managers are not confronted with problems that are independent of each other, but with dynamic situations that consist of complex systems of changing problems that interact with each other.”