Wednesday, January 11, 2017

CIOs as the Digital Visionary and Business “Mind Reader”

Digital-savvy CIOs can envision the upcoming business trends and ride the digital waves; the mind-reader CIOs have both “sense and sensitivity” to understand people and lead effortlessly.

Due to the changing nature of technology and the fast-growth of information, the CIO role also has to continue to adapt to the digital disruptions. Today's CIOs are both business strategist and technology visionary, they not only need to understand how new technologies impact businesses, but also they should be able to “read the mind” of the board and executive peers, customers, business partners, and IT staff in order to lead foreseeably and manage effectively.

The “mind reader” CIOs can tailor the needs of the audience to convey the vision and enforce communications: As a leader, the CIO has to be able to inspire and encourage with his/her vision and generate conviction and enthusiasm for the missions of the company and the IT organization, regardless of how exciting or mundane they may be. Through an in-depth understanding of the business, CIOs are able to not only articulate the vision but communicate it in various forms and forums, including executive peers, investor relations, business partners, IT personnel, etc. Not just “reading the minds” via understanding, a CIO has to be a good communicator, a good facilitator, a good listener, and a good collaborator, in order to lead skillfully. IT leaders need to learn business languages and drivers, they should be aiming to shape the thing of information within the executive team to include an information strategy as a core element of the business strategy and tactical plan. CIOs must be able to relay complex technical ideas in a no technical manner to business leaders and have skills to communicate change. So the CIO has to be flexible, adaptable, and able to adjust the lingo to suit the audience. Sometimes soften it up and drop the technical jargon when communicating with the business executive peers, and other times diving into the bits and bytes level when discussing technical details with staff.   

The digital visionary CIOs can help the Board become IT-friendly and digital savvy: Many organizations are still confused digital with general technology adoption. The board as the top leadership team sets the tone for radical digital transformation. It is not just about adopting a few technology gadgets or tools or building a fancy website presence. It has to make a significant shift from doing digital to going digital and being digital via mind shift and taking a holistic approach. Hence, Boards need more business-technology-savvy visionary CIOs amongst their ranks, to demonstrate the business impact the information and technology can make. So BoDs can understand what's required and how as a high-level basis of going digital means to the business. And digital visionary and “mind-reading” CIOs can better connect with BoDs intellectually and influence them on policymaking and principle setting.

The digital-savvy and “mind-reader” CIOs can discover more growth mindset, improve employee engagement and make a leap of the business and societal advancement: The traditional talent management focuses on managing behaviors and improving efficiency. Digital talent management needs to put emphasis on discovering talent and solving problems at the mindset level and invest human capital to maximize the collective people's potential. Technology has played a large role in the diversification of the modern workforce, but with increased diversity comes increased discord. It’s important to understand people at a cognitive level, find the right people through what they think and how they act. The right mindset is the utmost quality for being the right fit because the power of the mind is the force to change and build a prosperous business and a better world. IT skills gap is a reality, not fiction. Hence, improving employee engagement and satisfaction is another challenge facing IT leaders today. If engagement is low, the team corner of the triangle (quality, process, and holism) is off-balance, which can be reflected from the IT management. The visionary and mind-reader CIOs would consider the positive energy the employees bring to the workplace for cultivating the culture of innovation, also assess the “digital fitness” of employees, in order to put the right people in the right position for solving the right problems, to unleash their potentials and leap their performance.

CIOs are absolutely vital in the digital age because all forward-looking organizations across vertical sectors declare they are in the information management businesses. Digital-savvy CIOs can envision the upcoming business trends and ride the digital waves for accelerating the business growth; the mind-reader CIOs have both “sense and sensitivity” to understand their executive peers, customers and staff for harnessing cross-functional business communication and collaboration, and enlighten both end customer and internal customer with tailored solutions and delightful experience.


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