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.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 12/1/2017

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating and sharing.
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with 4200+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight about digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.


  • CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer”: How to Apply Maslow’s Hierarchy to IT management Abraham Harold Maslow was an American psychologist, who stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take precedence over others. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a motivational theory in psychology comprising different tiers of human needs, at the bottom is the basic "surviving" needs to the middle tier for" belonging" to the top tier of "self-actualization." In fact, it is an invaluable theory not only for understanding and managing people with empathy but also for providing the insight to the multitude of management discipline. Nowadays, organizations rely more and more on technologies, IT organizations have more and more to offer, it also has a lot of obstacles to overcome for achieving the high level of business maturity. So, CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer”: How to apply Maslow’s hierarchy in IT management?


  • The Instrumental BoDs Digital means the fast pace of changes, the abundance of information, and fierce competitions. The digital business ecosystem is open, fluid, dynamic and expanding. Due to the “VUCA” digital new normal, the directorship in any organization must have the ability to inspire, guide, motivate, and adapt. In fact, the contemporary board has to play the instrumental role in exemplifying leadership, influencing changes and orchestrating digital transformation


  • Tailor Solutions to the Real Problem  People have to deal with large or small problems on the daily basis. Especially at today’s “VUCA” digital dynamic, problems have become over-complex and interdependent. Can you diagnose the real problem? Does every problem have solutions? What is the best way to handle a problem? How can you tailor the best solution to the real problem?
  • Running Digital IT with a Healthy Change Habit? Digital is about change. IT is in a unique position because they can oversee the whole organizational processes and should have the program skills to implement transformation successfully. Thus, in forward-looking organizations, IT has become synonymous with the change department. Collectively, IT should cultivate a healthy change habit, Change Management needs to be the mechanism embedded in the multitude of IT management, in order to run IT as a change agent.


  • The Monthly CIO Debates Collection: Five “WHYs” for Leading Digital Transformation? Due to the changing nature of technology, IT leadership role also continues to involve & shift the focus, to move up the maturity level. More and more CIOs are requested to take more responsibility and many CIOs present the breadth of leadership competency. The proactive IT debates help IT leaders to brainstorm innovative and better ways to do things and improve management capabilities. Here are the monthly CIO debates collections.

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

Gap Minding Leadership Practices in Digital Boardroom

Practicing gaping minding in boardrooms is one of the significant steps in creating the synergy for orchestrating the digital symphony.

Digitalization makes the business flatter and the world smaller because of its nature of hyper-connectivity and interdependence. Competition at the leading edge of business is also becoming fiercer at the age of digitalization and globalization. Thus, successful companies need to grow and innovation is no longer "nice to have," but must have business competency. The corporate board plays a critical role in setting policies for innovation and exemplifying leadership influence. Thus, foresightful BoDs should always look for the complementary mindsets, diverse experiences, and differentiated skillsets so that collectively, they can avoid groupthink, make sound judgments, provide innovative advice and mind leadership gaps to ensure the boardroom digital ready.


Bridging insight gaps: The digital era is volatile, complex, uncertain and ambiguous, many say that the multitude of gaps (thinking, knowledge, innovation, strategy execution, etc.) are enlarged because different industries, organizations, functions, and individuals evolve with varying speed. Minding gap is challenging because many organizations are still operated with the silo mentality and practice the traditional management discipline. Therefore, to get into the deep, deep digital reality, businesses today must bridge the insight gap to both frame problems and solve them effectively. Top leadership roles such as board directors are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise, envisioning and leading the business towards its future. Thus, gap minding leadership practices in the digital boardroom are truly about embracing the “diversity in thought” as the gold nugget, and close leadership blindspots to improve directorship maturity. Leadership is about the future and change, innovation, and progress, which are all based on a clear vision and profound insight. A leader changes the course of the business by seeing beyond what all others see and by understanding issues from new perspectives. Gap-minding leadership practices are important because if you are not taking steps now to shrink that leadership gaps, you will not be prepared to lead the digital business in the future.


Bridging communication gap:  On the rocky road to digital transformation, the board and senior leadership team need to have a good strategy on how they leverage evidence-based communication and use the information to make the right decision to win in the marketplace. In traditional organization setting, from top-down, being divided by so many chasms across leadership, management, and innovation, etc., organizations often lose their collaborative advantage as they are being over managed and under led, remain disconnected, hoard knowledge, decrease effectiveness, and do not have the competence to collaborate in the long term. To improve communication effectiveness, it might need to first categorize what kind of communication bottlenecks existing and which communication gaps should be closed. There are hard communication barriers such as out of date processes, procedures, practices or soft ones like culture, politics or leadership style, etc. Communication effectiveness can be improved when the hard barriers are break down and soft obstacles are overcome. Board directors need to have the capabilities, such as using the right language, influence skills, personal brand development and so on etc., that will enable them to communicate effectively.


Bridging innovation gaps: From the boardroom to the front line, innovation should be the focal point to keep the business ahead of the competition. To bridge innovation gaps, the organization needs to have open-minded leadership and build a culture of learning. if you get the culture right, then people feel they have the freedom to try and even to fail. Corporate board as one of the critical leadership pillars should set the tone for encouraging innovation and advocating changes. Being innovating is the state of mind to think and do things from a new angle. Innovation becomes simply “creating value by solving simple or complex problems.” There’re also many ‘flavors’ of innovations, such as systematic innovation, customer-centric innovation, open innovation, design-driven innovation, or management innovation., etc. Being innovative is to discover alternative solutions, study the choices and select the best possible implementable way for solving either old or emergent business problems. The board can contribute to both innovation management and management innovation. From the board composition perspective, the heterogeneous team with the cognitive difference is more innovative than the homogeneous group setting, as good ideas are multidimensional, they take root in unsuspected places and they evolve with time and by unexpected connections. Today’s digital board simply just can’t stand still. Bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge and the boards can make a significant contribution to set the stage for innovation.


Effective leadership differs by level, the type of organization, the stage of organizational evolution, the mindset of stakeholders, particular boards of directors, the complexity of the business, and many other variables. Practicing gaping minding in boardrooms is one of the significant steps in creating the synergy for orchestrating the digital symphony, enforcing deep understanding of the necessity of digital awareness, accelerating idea flow, and improving leadership maturity.




The Digital CIO’s Profiles, Personas, and Personalities

The digital CIOs have to wear the different color of hats and master multiple leadership personas and management roles effortlessly.
Compared to other CxO positions, the CIO role is considerably new with about three decades of history. But the contemporary CIO is one of the most sophisticated leadership roles in modern businesses. Due to disruptive nature of technologies and exponential growth of information, IT leadership role also has to be continually reimagined, refined, refreshed and reenergized. The CIO is no longer just a glorified geek, but a business savvy strategist and a transformational digital leader. Great CIOs have multiple personas, varying personalities, and impressive leadership profiles.


Raise the profile of digital CIOs: The digital CIOs is the highly complex executive role to manage one of the most crucial business assets - Information and Technology. It is not sufficient to only keep the light on, and the digital CIO shouldn’t be perceived as the stereotypical IT manager only. Contemporary CIOs need to make leadership influence on the organization from board level down to the business unit and within the IT organization because they are in the unique position to oversee the underlying organizational processes and build differentiated business competency. Regardless of which industry or the nature of organization you are in, the digital CIO is a strategic business leader first, and a tactical IT manager the second. It is important to raise the profile of digital CIOs because forward-looking organizations empower their IT leaders to drive changes and lead the digital transformation. IT is the linchpin to weave all necessary business elements into the differentiated business competency. Visionary CIOs must look at where the business is today and where it will be in five to ten years and ensure that information & technology can enable that vision going forward. CIOs must look at the future of business from both strategic planning and technology envisioning lens, master the art of creating unique and differentiating value from the pile of commoditized technologies. Digital CIOs today should be business generalists with T-shaped IT knowledge, speak both 'business' and 'technology' dialects fluently, translate from one to the other seamlessly without “lost in translation.” The high-profile digital CIOs are multi-dimensional thinkers and versatile business executives, having the right blend of leadership skill, business acumen, technical expertise, and digital fluency.


The multiple personas of digital CIOs: The persona can be seen as the “public relations” part of the digital CIO that allow them to interact socially in a variety of situations with relative ease. Contemporary CIOs are expected to play multiple personas and need to wear many hats to lead effectively. Back to basic, CIOs are “Chief Information Officers,” who take charge of one of the most invaluable business assets - information. Ideally, CIOs are “Chief Innovation Officers” who are expected to constantly propose new ideas and challenging the status quo. Go deeper, CIOs are “Chief Insight Officers,” who can provide information-based insightful advice for business executive peers and corporate board on how information brings the business growth opportunities and how new technologies can enhance the creation or improvement of products and services while balancing the technical and business risks. CIOs also need to become ‘Chief Interaction Officer’ who must be far more diplomatic and build the solid business relationship across the digital ecosystem. In practice, CIOs are “Chief Improvement Officers” who lead IT to continue removing the weeds, optimizing business capability and capacity and improving organizational maturity. Follow the trend, the CIOs are “Chief Intrapreneur Officer” who are able to run IT as a software startup and the business in the business. For bridging the IT-business gap, CIOs are “Chief Interpretation Officers” who are fluent in both business language and IT terminology to ensure a seamless cross-functional communication. On leadership, CIOs are “Chief Influence Officers” who need to continually practice leadership influence.


The CIO’s personality is varying: There are introvert CIOs and extrovert CIOs; there are systematic thinking CIOs, but also intuitive CIOs. In fact, many CIOs have paradoxical personality traits which allow them to lead the department with the balanced mindset, activities, and speed so that every level of the organization has great working relationships with the IT team. Good personality testing covers critical thinking, problem-solving, pressure handling, creativity, innovation, inventiveness, and communication, etc., skills. However, the personality test cannot measure tenacity and insight. It is also difficult to measure transferable skills and cross-industry innovation ability, especially when there is a natural bias to select exactly what you need today (status quo) vs. skills needed to change for the better tomorrow. Consider the personality test more of a stereotype tool to assess the psychological preferences in how CIOs would perceive the digital ecosystem and their thought processes and mental strength to make decisions. The strong CIOs can succeed in high-pressure situations and first-time evolution. The important thing is that CIOs as the top leadership role, must have a strong mindset, a unique personality, and a clear idea of what needs to be done, yet creative enough to not hold the company back from growth. Regardless which personality they have, digital CIOs need to be both transformational and situational, both innovative and tactical, both business savvy and technology insightful, both communication effective and operation efficient.


Modern organizations have their own sophistication with silo functions, the sea of information, and the pool of talents. CIO is an inherently cross-functional role, to bridge the business and IT; the data and insight, the business’s today and tomorrow. The digital CIOs have to wear different personas and master multiple leadership and management roles effortlessly. They need to lead at the strategic level for conducting a complex digital orchestra; they should be handy managers to plumbing information and keep it flow smoothly; they also have to be like the diligent gardeners, to build a unique IT landscape via tuning technology, removing waste, nurturing culture, and empower people.  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Monthly “Lesson Learned”: How to Avoid These Pitfalls in Digital Transformation Nov. 2017

Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business from people, process to technology, both horizontally and vertically. Digital becomes the very fabric of high performing business, being outside-in and customer-centric is the new mantra for forward-looking and high mature digital organizations today. However, more than two-thirds of Change Management effort fails to achieve the expectation, what are the pitfalls on the way?

                How to Avoid These Pitfalls in Digital Transformation 

  • Three Big Pitfalls in Digital Transformation? Digital makes a profound impact from specific function to business as a whole, the purpose of such radical digitalization is to make a significant difference in the overall levels of customer delight and achieve high performing business result. High mature digital organizations have high-level digital capabilities not only to build digital innovations but also to drive enterprise-wide transformation. However, there are still many roadblocks on the way, and numerous pitfalls to fail the initiatives. Here are three huge barriers to digital transformation, and stop businesses from speeding up and improving agility and maturity.

  • Accelerating Digital IT via Avoiding these Pitfalls Many organizations are on the journey of digital transformation, but it is the path not being fully discovered and explored yet. Or put another way, as every organization is at the different stage of the business growth cycle, each of them has to match their own pace, fit their own circumstances, and develop their own set of next practices for accelerating digital transformation. There are many roadblocks and hidden barriers along the way. Old IT thinking cannot move fast enough in the era of the digitalization. Digital CIOs today need to have both business acumen and technological understanding to become the trustful business advisor and empathetic IT manager in order to lead effectively and digitize IT effortlessly.
  • The New Book “Change Insight” Introduction Chapter 6 The Pitfalls in Change Management Change is inevitable, and the speed of change is increasing. How capable the business is handling change would directly impact on the business competency. In fact, there is a high failure rate of Change Management statistically, and more than two-thirds of business change efforts fail to achieve its expectations. So what are the big barriers and potential pitfalls on the way, and how to improve change success rate, as well as craft change as an ongoing digital capability?

  • How to Avoid those Pitfalls in Strategy Management The strategy is the pillar of organizational existence, its vision, mission, design, structure, functions. There is no doubt that strategy becomes more important, not less in organizations large or small today, because of the fierce competition, rapid changes, and hyper uncertainty. But there are many obstacles on the way and numerous pitfalls you have to avoid in making a good strategy and executing it smoothly. So how to apply strategic wisdom to overcome those barriers and improve strategy management effectiveness?

  • The Pitfalls to Avoid in Digital Transformation? Digital transformation is a thorny journey, there are many roadblocks on the way, and numerous pitfalls lead to the failure, so how to identify and avoid them in order to drive digital transformation effortlessly?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2+million page views with about #4200+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom, to inspire critical thinking and spur healthy debates. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

Egotism vs. Egoism

We need a well-developed ego but we have to keep it under control.

The word ego means a 'sense of self,' which means that you are aware of your physical, mental, and emotional presences. Ego is an interesting world with both positive and negative connotations. Originally, Freud used the word ego to mean a sense of self... Ego-awareness is the ability to know that one is consciously making decisions.

Egotism vs. Egoism vs. Ego-Strength: Egotism is an excessive or exaggerated sense of self-importance. Egotism is the overestimation of the importance of one's ego. "Egoism" is a preoccupation with oneself, but not necessarily feeling superior to others.When people base their self-esteem on how others see them, they are often seen as egotistical. Egotism might lead to ego-centricity which is a behavior that is motivated by a belief that one's ego is of greater importance than others' are. While ego-strength is one pursues his or her goals and serves others as well. When they focus on what they want and tune into what others want, they develop ego-strength as they pursue their goals and serve others. But to have an overinflated sense of self, to put yourself above all others without ever caring about or considering the consequences of detriment to others by your actions is what is defined as 'egotistical' behavior.


Ego and self-worth are slightly different but interconnected: The ego is in a dissociative position that gets interpreted as an effect of the reflection, rather than being the cause and effect of it. And in that scenario, feeling good about yourself is feeling good about your ego personality. In psychoanalysis, it is usually seen as the division of the psyche that is conscious, most immediately controls thought and behavior, and is most in touch with external reality. Everyone needs to have some ego for a sense of self-worth. But too much of everything is bad including the big headed ego. The healthy ego helps one organize the thoughts and make sense of them and the world around us. You've got to have a strong sense that you are able to affect big change in order to motivate others to do so.


Self-esteem is built upon the right dose of ego: The suggested categories of healthy ego are self-actualization, self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-pride.The true self-esteem is based on direct experience of your core consciousness, your higher self, which lies beyond your ego. That sense of inner well-being comes from knowing your true self, provides a real sense of esteem that has nothing to do with one’s personality or ego. Your real-self doesn't derive its sense of value from your thoughts and behavior, nor does it care what others think of you. It's all in the balance of it, the yin and yang.  More precisely, you can't have too much or too little ego, you can be more or less egocentric, and you can only have a greater or lesser awareness of ego.

Ego is tied to self-esteem and balance. Too much ego has one thinking too much of oneself--minimizing, marginalizing and dismissing the perspectives of others. Too little ego has one not believing in oneself. The pendulum can swing to either side. Reduce that pendulum swing so that it doesn't sway too far from the center--BALANCE.


Running a reciprocal Digital IT Organization

Building a reciprocal digital IT organization is all about enforcing communication, enhancing collaboration, building trust, and bridging gaps.

Today’s digital organization are not overly rigid hierarchical entities, but highly connected, highly responsive, and interdependent living things. To apply the Law of Newton - "To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction" to IT management, the CIO should ask themselves: Do you have a listening and learning organization? Do you have a highly interactive organization? Can you build a collaborative working environment to embrace cross-functional communication and outside-in customers’ feedback and perspective?  Or put simply, how to run a reciprocal digital IT organization?


Build the reciprocal relationship between IT and business: The reciprocal relationship describes a situation in which two parties promote each other in order to gain a mutual benefit. IT is embedded in the business for enabling business growth, driving changes, and solving critical business issues. While the business thinks IT as a strategic partner and innovation engine. Building such a close relationship helps to bridge the gap between IT and business. Too often IT sees "business professionals" wanting to go back to the segmented organization and define technology as something outside of the business as a separate entity. And that is the mindset causes constant battles between IT and business. IT contribution to business value does not come from the technology itself, but from the change that IT both shapes and enables. To harmonize business and IT relationship, all CXOs need to play as true business leaders, not just as functional managers. It takes exceptionally strong and visionary leadership to see all important business forces working against the better path of the business as a whole and work together to bring about that significant change in business attitude and behavior. That means IT and business should share the glory and responsibility altogether.  if IT fails, it's also the business's failure; if the business is too stifle or slow, IT needs to take the fair share of responsibility.


The reciprocal management style: IT should also shift the management style from command and control to become more reciprocal, collaborative, and holistic. Asking questions can build consensus. So, you have to learn the hard way that true leadership may be achieved only if you have both listening and telling organization. It is important to LISTEN to what other parties say. If you do not listen, you will never get the two sides of the story. Asking questions is crucial to learning for everyone involved. Asking questions, besides telling is an important tool to practice reciprocal management and make a positive change. You can work out what organization you have by looking at the problem-solving style. IT leaders can initiate the more meaningful dialogues to exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement. Silos happen when the "Why?" in business is not properly communicated from the senior level management down through business units. The "why" must be answered throughout the business chain, otherwise, the employee does not have the correct purpose.


Build the reciprocal relationship between IT and customers: Digital is the age of people and innovation. Customers should be the center of innovation management and they are the major focus for innovation process and accomplishment. Innovation happens at the intersection of IT and people, building the reciprocal relationship between IT and customers can take different propositions and approaches to a problem or a new interpretation and manage innovation lifecycle effectively. IT organizations need to innovate towards simplicity and discover new secure ways to allow users to do the things that have not been allowed in the past. People-centric innovation means that you have to involve customers and different stakeholders, listen to their feedback, involve them in both idea generation and process implementation, to gain insight and empathy. Customers should always be involved, it is not a question of whether the customer is right or not, it is more of whether you are truly and proactively listening to their needs and gaining a deep understanding of the motivational construct of the customer through empathy.


Building a reciprocal digital IT organization is all about enforcing communication, enhancing collaboration, building trust, and bridging gaps. The beauty is in harmony, and the people, process, and technology are all part of the business body, only through coordination or corporation, the full business potential can be unleashed.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Monthly “Digital Fit” Book Tuning: The Digital Organizational Fit Dec. 2017

Digital transformation represents the next stage of digital fit and business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem.

Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business from people, process to technology, both horizontally and vertically. Digital becomes the very fabric of high performing business, being outside-in and customer-centric is the new mantra for forward-looking and high mature digital organizations today. At the heart of digital, it is people and how to define digital fit and take a structural approach to digital transformation?

                    The Digital Organizational Fit

  • How Do you Define Organizational Digital Fitness? Organizations today are hyperconnected and over-complex, with well-mixed physical workplace and virtual team setting; multicultural, multigenerational and multi-devicing workforce, what're your team building principles? How do you define organizational fit, in order to build innovative and high-performing teams and transform the whole organization into the digital master?


  • The Organization’s Digital Fit The multidimensional digital transformation provides impressive advantages in terms of the speed of delivering business solutions and ability to adapt to changes. Either be a disrupter or being disrupted, digital make significant impacts on every aspect of the business from people, processes, to technology and capability both horizontally and vertically. The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. So, how can organizations keep digital fit and highly-responsive because nowadays digital businesses need to be fast, always “on,” highly connected, interdependent, and ultra-competitive?


  • Three Digital Traits of Digital Masters Digital Master refers to those high-performing, high-innovative and high-mature (less than 15%) digital organizations that have both clear digital vision and well-crafted digital strategy, and they are courageous to be in the vanguard of digital transformation with a quantum lead. But they also proactively develop more advanced and unique digital capabilities step-by-step and build a digital premium into their very foundation of business.


  • Tuning a Flexible Digital Organization “ Compared to the traditional organizations with an overly rigid hierarchy or strictly pyramidal structure, digital organizations today are flatter, hybrid (the mix of physical building and virtual team setting) and more adaptable to changes. These companies are becoming more flexible, able to navigate changes and the complexity of the present business world via creative problem-solving and innovative management practices.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2+million page views with about #4200+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom, to inspire critical thinking and spur healthy debates. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The Instrumental BoDs

Digital BoDs today are diversified, cogitative, proactive, and instrumental, bring different opinions and viewpoints and orchestrate change and digital transformation seamlessly.


Digital means the fast pace of changes, the abundance of information, and fierce competitions. The digital business ecosystem is open, fluid, dynamic and expanding. Due to the “VUCA” digital new normal, the directorship in any organization must have the ability to inspire, guide, motivate, and adapt. In fact, the contemporary board has to play an instrumental role in exemplifying leadership, influencing changes and orchestrating digital transformation.


Instrument a high-responsive, high-innovative and real-time digital organization: Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. The digital-savvy board has to gain digital awareness, shape the digital mindset, and improve digital fluency in order to play an instrumental role in leading business transformation seamlessly. Digital BoD as one of the top leadership pillars in the company has to leverage the different points of views to truly become the strategic advisor of the business, conduct changes, and steer the business in the right direction to survive the fierce competition and thrive with the long-term business advantage. The instrumental BoDs also evolve planning, adjustment of speed, and frequently aligning business priorities for improving performance and maximizing the digital potential of their organization.  


Instrumental BoDs broaden the business outlook and envision the bigger picture of digital transformation: The board provides an “outside-in” view of businesses and multi-dimensional lenses to oversee and advise business strategy. The instrumental BoDs leverage critical thinking and strategic thinking to gain a better understanding of the digital business ecosystem in order to play their instrumental role more effectively. Boards are getting better as the awareness grows of how important board composition is in order to lead in today’s digital dynamic. The more a board represents or mirrors its stakeholders, the better served will be the organization. The high performing Board shows the ability and openness to "question itself and its decisions/ discussions." They can provide excellent feedback which gives the top management constructive feedback to improve and a clarified opinion to contemplate. The instrumental BoD works as a collaborative team to accommodate diverse viewpoints, assess them, and converge the diverse thought into wise decisions.


Instrumental BoDs set policies and principles for guiding changes and digital transformation: The challenge of managing change is tough, and those firms that can accomplish this feat will have the ability to tackle other challenges, put an emphasis on speed, strategic responsiveness, and structural flexibility, to run a real-time, high performance and always-on digital business. The digital board can play an instrumental role in guiding the organization to gauging conditions and choices, oversight of appropriation, matching priorities and resources, scoring activity and net results. oversight of accountability, Timing is always important, change is inevitable. An instrumental digital board can navigate the business toward the uncharted water and drive change more confidently.


Digital BoDs today are diversified, cogitative, proactive, and instrumental, bring different opinions and viewpoints and orchestrate change and digital transformation seamlessly. Board directors are leadership roles, they should not only oversee business strategies and monitor business performance but also set the tone for changes and instrument the journey of the digital transformation confidently.

CIOs, Are you the Fiercest Critic to Yourself?

Digital CIOs need to be the fiercest critic to themselves for improving their leadership maturity.

Due to the disruptive nature of technology and exponential growth of information, the role of CIO has to be reinvented for adapting to changes and re-energized for leading digital transformation. Digital CIOs are not just tactical IT managers, they are strategic business executives and inspirational digital visionaries. To lead effectively, the CIO should have both self-awareness and digital awareness: Knowing who you are and how you react and respond to different situations can help you discover the true self, present authenticity, understand leadership substance, stimulate creativity, and build differentiated professional competency. It takes cognitive understanding, courage, and practice. CIOs: Are you the fiercest critic to yourself?


Highly qualified digital CIOs are the fiercest critic to themselves, and they are also actively looking for constructive criticism and smart skepticism like the hidden gems: The CIO is one of the most sophisticated executive roles in modern businesses because they have to wear multiple hats and practice the situation leadership all the time. Thus, digital CIOs need to do self-reflection periodically for clarifying their leadership focus and improving their leadership maturity. They should continually ask themselves: Am I a tactical IT manager or a business strategist? Am I a technology specialist being perceived as a geek or a specialized generalist being profiled as a T-shaped business executive? Is my IT organization only an order taker or a trustful business partner? Etc. Digital CIOs are the fiercest critic of themselves, they need to have the willingness and ability to learn and then apply those lessons to succeed in the new situation. Nobody is perfect, we should always self-aware, including our flaws and shortcomings. Digital CIOs have self-awareness of cognitive, relational, and assertive actions they take on a day to day basis. They show learning plasticity, continuously seek new challenges, solicit direct feedback and constructive criticism, self-driven and get works done resourcefully.


Constructive critics are like a mirror - it not only shows our lacuna but also gives an alert of forthcoming challenges we are facing:  The CIO as IT leader must practice critical thinking to make sound judgments and effective decisions at the daily basis. The CIO should also actively look for constructive critics from internal users or business partners for improving IT performance and customer satisfaction. The best thing about the constructive critic or the negative feedback with positive intention is that it calls to make a person or an organization much more self-aware and can fuel professional progress or business growth.  Increasingly, the CIO looks to play a role in supplementing the business vision with technology as the accelerator and innovator, the constructive critics help them think further, broader and deeper to keep alert of forthcoming challenges they are facing in the “VUCA” digital new normal. Change is a gradual process and digital transformation is a long journey, CIOs as change leaders and managers with self-awareness can ride learning curve smoothly, and there is a high level of trust within the upper rankings of the management team, to overcome roadblocks to changes. The growth mind with self-reflection, egoless adaptation is important for improving CIO leadership maturity.


The feedback gaps can only be closed when the working environment is diverse, dynamic, energetic, and innovative, and leaders are open and inclusive: Leadership is the state of the mind. The excellent feedback offers you the clue to see things you might ignore; gives you invaluable information to improve, triggers great questions to self-aware, and also provides you good intention to understand other parties with empathy and keen insight to help you grow and mature. When people in the organization are too “fit in,” they think the same and act the same, without challenging each other’s point of view; no wonder that the feedback gaps are enlarged, more blind spots are created to cause decision ineffectiveness, and communication bottlenecks stifle the speed of changes. In these change lagging business environments, people are used to getting stuck in the comfort zone and often make the compromise to be the “team player,” to keep” the old way to do things” mentality. In an innovative work environment, there is an integration of thinking, learning and doing, people enjoy the creative tension and constructive feedback. The constructive criticism and honest well-wishes provide you excellent advice or feedback to make continuous improvement.


Digital CIOs need to be the fiercest critic to themselves for improving their leadership maturity, they should also be the constructive feedback providers to the business and ensure the company as a whole can achieve much more than the sum of pieces. They need to be the honest well-wisher to their IT teams for encouraging innovation, unlocking talent potential, and amplifying collective human capability. So, CIOs can truly become the change agent and transformational leader.



Monday, November 27, 2017

The Monthly CIO Debates Collection: Five “WHYs” for Leading Digital Transformation

Debating is not for stimulating conflicts, but for brainstorming better ways to do things.

Due to the changing nature of technology, IT leadership role also continues to involve & shift the focus, to move up the maturity level. More and more CIOs are requested to take more responsibility and many CIOs present the breadth of leadership competency. The proactive IT debates help IT leaders to brainstorm innovative and better ways to do things and improve management capabilities. Here are the monthly CIO debates collections.


Five “WHYs” for Leading Digital Transformation

  • Why Is So Hard for Running IT “Out of the Comfort Zone” Technology is pervasive, information is growing exponentially. Business transformation or change initiatives today nearly always involves some form of information and technology. All forward-thinking organizations across the industries claim they are in the information management business. To adapt to the increasing speed of changes, organizations have to be more nimble about updating technology and managing information effectively. Hence, IT organizations today can no longer get stuck at the lower level of maturity to keep the lights on only or get struggling to make an alignment with the business. Digital IT organization must get “out of the comfort zone,” to explore better ways of running IT as a trusted business partner, proactive change agent, and hyper-connected innovation hub. "Continual improvement" is the IT mantra in the digital era.

  • Why is So Critical for Running IT as a Change Agent? At the industrial age, IT is often perceived as the department which is slow to change, acts as a controller only, and gets stuck at the lower level of maturity. However, nowadays, with increasing speed of change and exponential growth of information, IT is like the business's digital engine, CIOs are accountable for critical part of the business that is constantly changing and evolving and IT is also in a position to dig through underlying functions and processes of the businesses. Therefore, it is imperative to speed up IT and run it as a change organization of the business for accelerating digital transformation.

  • Why Has IT Been Perceived as the ‘Weakest Link’? FIT plays a more important role in the digital transformation of the organization. It is the superglue to connect both the hard elements of the business such as processes, platforms, technologies and soft elements of the organization such as information, knowledge,  culture and integrate them into a set of business capabilities, which underpin the business strategy. However, there is the perception gap between IT looks at itself and the business perceives IT. IT is often seen itself as a business enabler and change agent, but business often thinks that IT is slower to change and even be one of the “weakest links” for the business transformation. So why is IT not getting enough respect despite all good work and huge efforts were undertaken? Where does it link to improve IT brand? To deal with such a "He said, she said" dilemma: What are the different perspectives from each party, how to integrate them into a holistic IT view and reinvent the tarnished IT reputation.


  • Why is IT so Reluctant to Look at itself? With the rate of change is accelerated, it’s very important for contemporary organizations to continually do “self-reflection’ upon the business effectiveness, process efficiency, strength and risks, culture, and brand etc. IT is a critical component of the business, commonly IT self-evaluation ability is a reflection of overall business culture within the whole organization. Some say IT is so reluctant to look at itself, is it true??


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