Monday, December 26, 2016

The Monthly Leadership Insight- CIOs as “Chief Inquisitive Officer: A set of Q&As about Digital CIOs’ Leadership (IV)

The digital CIOs reimagine IT as the business growth engine and lead changes via inquiries.

Modern CIOs face many challenges, it is not sufficient to only keep the lights on. Regardless of which industry or the nature of organization you are in, being a digital leader will need to master the art of creating unique, differentiating value from piles of commoditized technologies and take advantage of the emergent digital trends as well; digital CIOs also have multiple personas: “Chief Innovation Officer,” “Chief Insight Officer,” “Chief Improvement Officer,” “Chief Information Officer,” and here, we discuss CIOs as “Chief Inquisitive Officer,” with a set of Q&As to lead digital transformation.

Q16: Shall a CIO be a General Manager of IT or a SME of all IT Domains? Today’s CIOs have multiple roles to play and take broader leadership responsibilities in transforming their organizations. Should a CIO be a general manager of IT or a subject matter expert (SME) of all IT domains?

Q17: Should CIOs be a strategic advisor or the hands-on manager? Compared to other traditional executive positions, CIO is a considerably new role with more than two decades of history; due to technology's change nature, IT and CIOs seem always to be in hot seat, need to continue to be refreshed and adaptable; due to misunderstanding of IT, many organizations also unrealistically want their CIOs to be good at everything, so contemporary CIOs face another tough choice: being a strategic leader or hands-on manager?

Q18 Are you an “Atypical CIO” or a “Stereotypical CIO”?Traditional IT organizations have been perceived as technical support centers and help desks only, and traditional CIOs have been portrayed as technology geeks to keep the lights on. Nowadays, businesses are on the journey of digital transformation, and IT is also on the way to transform from a cost center to a value creator. CIOs as digital leaders today, what’s your self-reflection? Are you an “Atypical CIO” or a “Stereotypical CIO”? Are you a transformational leader or a transactional manager? What’s your leadership strength and how to lead IT as a changing organization of the business?

Q19 Where do CIOs Come From? Compare to the other executive positions, the CIO position has a shorter history, but a more dynamic role to play due to the continuous changes of information & technology. Although the “DNA of CIO” is still a bit stereotypical from the variety of industry surveys, the digital trend is that more and more CIOs have diversified experience and colorful background, working across functional and industrial boundaries, from technologist to artist; from entrepreneur to consultant, from business strategist to talent manager, where do CIOs come from and what makes a great CIO?

Q20: What are Qualities and Skill Set to Fill CIO Role? CIOs today need to play a different role and wear multiple hats, therefore, they come from different background, take diverse career path, there’s no one size fitting all skill or stereotypical image to portray a modern CIO, however, there are certain leadership qualities and desired skill set to fill the role.

The digital CIOs reimagine IT as the business growth engine and lead changes via inquiries. A confident CIO needs to keep asking open-ended questions such as, "Why? Why not? What If?" They have to focus on guiding the company through the digital transformation, and create unique business value because IT is the significant element of any differentiated business capability and the defining factor for competitive advantage.


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