Tuesday, October 10, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: How to Practice Creative Leadership to Make a Digital Leap

The characteristics of creative leadership show the following 'dispositions: Visionary, adaptable, persevering, competent, ethical, courageous, and curious.

Forward-thinking IT organizations reinvent themselves from the support function to the innovation engine of their company. Thus, one of the most appropriate titles of digital CIOs is “Chief Innovation Officer.” CIOs have to practice creative leadership, inspire innovation, advocate changes, embrace “diversity of thoughts,” encourage new ways to do things and ultimately make a leap of digital transformation.  

Encourage creative learning to build trust: Nowadays, with increasing speed of changes and overwhelming growth of information, there are a lot of things going on in IT, IT has to become the change department of their company and trendsetter of the digital transformation. CIOs not only need to encourage IT staff to keep updating their skills, but also inspire business leaders and staff to learn from each other and build trust relationship to bridge the gap between business and IT. Information is the lifeblood and technology is a cornerstone of the business, large or small, cross-industry sectors, thus, creative learning can enforce trust relationship with executive teams. Learning more about IT with C-level will make the enterprise more strategic, smarter, customer-centric, information savvy, with an enablement for growth, build trust and transparency. When leadership team is equipped with the digital mindset, they can inspire others to learn, enforce collaboration, foster an environment where creating success together has greater rewards than individual performance. Leadership is all about getting other people to do what you want them to do because they want to do it. Some leaders use a counter argument in open discussions just to ensure multiple points of view are explored. A creative leader encourages brainstorming, idea sharing proactively looks for feedback, recognizes their change champion and innovators. A digital CIO is able to inspire best-ever individual and team performance in support of the organizational mission while ensuring that each member of the community has the support, resources, and guidance to succeed

Stimulate creative communication to enable “Buy-in”: To reinvent IT as a strategic partner of the company, CIOs need to be the great communicator to convey technological vision at the boardroom, practice creative communication to get “buy-in” from the business, have empathetic conversation with customers, and listen to technical issues addressed by IT staff. The very goal of effective communication is to establish credibility, demonstrate that you understand the business, not just plan the future, but act to make it the reality. Make strategic conversations to deal with complex problems with multiple stakeholders so that conflicting interests could be reconciled, and every party figures out their part “What’s in It For Me.” A CIO needs to be creative and persuasive in order to get their ideas approved and funded. When the CIO takes the time to explain every component of IT costs and justify each and then the business is forced to do the same, things change. Through communicating problems with words clearly to other minds, and reframe the question with the new level of thinking, the fresh mind with a cognitive difference and creative communication style can take the business to the next level of understanding, collaboration, harmonization, and maturity.

Make a creative leap of digital transformation: One of the digital leadership capacities is to get people out of their comfort zone to meet challenges and learn new skills. Often, creative leaders don’t follow the old rules, they have their own way to stimulate creativity, and in fact, it is absolutely necessary for leaders to create discomfort and get others thinking differently. For example, the "old notion" is that if you have different staff in the same position, that they should be expected to do the same things, and be evaluated in the same way. But the creative workplace doesn’t work like that. Each person, even in the same job, ends up doing somewhat different things because they bring their unique strengths to the job. So people are encouraged to try different ways to do things, with different strength, gain different perspectives, and they should be rewarded and recognized for their unique contribution. Creative leadership is not necessarily intimidating or pushy, there is always a right way to challenge others and it is never demeaning, always constructive. In the process of reconciliation, there is almost always a need for a creative leap - Innovation has to result in something which leads us to a better state than where we are today.

The characteristics of creative leadership show the following 'dispositions: Visionary, adaptable, persevering, competent, ethical, courageous, and curious. CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer” are open minded, collect thoughts and ideas relentlessly, seek new experience fearlessly, they enjoy solitude, also like to surround with interesting and creative people, things and environment, they continue practicing creative leadership to make a digital leap.


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