Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The Digital CIO’s Daily Mode and Leadership Practices

Leadership is not a setting- hour work, but a continuous self-awareness, and self-mastery journey.

Nowadays information and technology can make or break the business even overnight. IT leaders have to play multiple roles and practice multidimensional management disciplines, to reinvent IT as the trusted business partner and innovation engine.

The CIO’s daily contemplation of the strategy: CIOs must build a reputation as the business leader first, and technical manager the second, they have to manage both time and resource effectively via setting the right priority in the key areas which need daily focus and practices and keep improving their leadership competency and management proficiency. The CIO as leadership role should not just keep the hands full, but need to be mindful. They need to spend a significant amount of time on strategic matters in their daily grinding. Good CIOs know the business, know the corporate directions, great CIOs have in-depth knowledge of business and can envision the future of business via technological perspective and strategic lens, make significant influences on the business direction. In fact, CIOs are empowered to be closer to the top of the pyramid and co-make business strategy. The digital CIO’s role is to ensure that IT is enabling and catalyzing business growth, so their daily responsibility is to take time for contemplating strategic issues as well as have conversations and meeting with management and customers that discuss business activities and needs, pondering how IT can improve business advantage and understand the economics of IT asset and resource & capital investments, and understand the business view on IT. CIOs have to keep refining IT strategy to meet business needs, get transformation agenda right to refine IT reputation and leverage both internal and external resources to achieve the desired ROIs.

The daily mode of operation should be WILLINGNESS: In most organizations, IT is setting back and waiting for the request, no wonder those IT organizations are perceived as the order taker and support function only. To run a proactive digital IT, CIOs should be willing to engage business leaders and get buy-in on emergent technologies and engage staff to take the step-wise approach for implementing the strategy.  CIOs should have a strong influence, facilitation, negotiation and collaboration skills. IT needs to participate in framing business issues and solving them smoothly. The emergent digital enterprise platforms and collaboration tools also provide enriched communication channels and alternative ways for transforming IT and business. Due to the disruptive nature of technology and fast-growing information, IT needs to experiment and come out with innovative solutions to either existing and emergent business problems and scale innovation effort at the scope of the entire business.

The daily grinding of leadership development: The CIO is the leadership role, not just a management job. Leadership is not a setting- hour work, but a continuous self-awareness, and self-mastery journey. Therefore, CIOs should spend time on developing self and others, mastery, set the strong leadership tone to build the culture of learning and innovation in their organization. Because your leadership vision and effectiveness are based on the breadth of knowledge and the depth of insight. It is also important to have open door time for people to come and discuss any challenges, share innovative ideas and brainstorm creative problem-solving. Only a CIO who is proactively learning every day, empowered or trained via tailored approaches by their organization can make things happen and fulfill the expectations of his/her organization. Especially for those IT leaders who move up the IT ranks will also need to have an inherent knowledge of the business in order to become the well-rounded role to succeed as a top business executive.

Digital CIOs have multiple personas and have to play the different role accordingly. Every CIO is different and whatever the management team needs or wants at the time out of the CIO will also be different, and by type of business needs will be different. CIOs have a significantly broad effect on culture, mood, motivation, aggressiveness, innovation, business personality, creativity, technological vision, leadership skills, emerging technological usage, teaming, the rate of change. Digital CIO’s leadership influence will be amplified to make a significant impact on the business vision, cultural evolution, education innovating and societal progress.


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