Sunday, November 5, 2017

Contemporary CIOs with Strong Mind are In Demand to Accelerate Digital Transformation

CIOs with the strong mind can overcome challenges, handle uncertainty suitably, deal with complexity effortlessly, and drive change smoothly.

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, abundant information, and disruptive digital technology. The digital trend is that more and more CIOs have cognitive difference and diversified experiences and background, to become “Chief Innovation Officer” for discovering better ways to do things; to become “Chief Insight Officer” for bridging leadership gaps and bringing fresh viewpoint; to become “Chief Improvement Officer,” for solving business problems and making continuous delivery. The stereotypical CIO as the IT geek to “keep the lights on” only or as the controller to avoid risk is a sort of outdated perception of contemporary CIOs. Digital CIOs with “strong mind” are in demand to innovate, optimize, and accelerate digital transformation.

Mindfulness: Modern CIOs can think deeper and look further. At today’s “digital dynamic with VUCA” (Velocity, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) characteristics, being a thoughtful, creative, mindful and multi-dimensional thinker is more crucial to improve leadership effectiveness and amplify leadership impact. This is particularly important for digital CIOs because nowadays technology is the disruptive force behind digital transformation and IT can either lift or fail the business even within a very shorter spectrum of time. Being mindful has the multitude of implication for IT leadership. The mindful digital CIOs have both business acumen and technological understanding, they are knowledgeable to participate strategic conversations, they are insightful to see things others usually cannot and make sound judgments, they are wise to make effective decisions especially at the strategic level. CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer” can think “out-of-the-box,” advocate innovativeness as a state of mind, build the culture of creativity to stimulate digital transformation. CIOs as the “Chief Insight Office” can leverage critical thinking to actively and skillfully conceptualizing, analyzing, and synthesizing information to reach an answer or conclusion. They can also apply Systems Thinking to solve business problems holistically via understanding the interconnectivity between parts and the whole. Therefore, the mindful CIOs are in demand to overcome complexity, steer IT and business in the right direction and make leadership influence more profoundly.

Authenticity: CIOs become strong leaders only when they discover “who they are,” not someone else. Being a digital leader is a thorny journey with many ups and downs on the way. A CIO just needs to be him/herself really. Many think that trials and suffering build character. In fact, it does not build character as much as it exposes one's character for who they really are. We're all different and unique human beings, so there's nothing to suggest we all have to be with the same personality. But digital leaders today must have the strong mind to overcome silo thinking, change inertia, negative mentality, or bureaucracy. This is important for CIOs to bridge the gaps between IT and business, the industrial age and digital era, the digital leadership and IT management. “Running IT as the business” is the mantra for many IT organizations, thus, CIOs today need to bring ownership mentality, accountability, responsibility, action, and engagement. Authentic CIOs have the self-awareness to understand themselves deeper, their inner self, talent, and limitation. Therefore, they are able to keep optimistic, be positive and willing to persevere and have tenacity. They can also motivate their team to do the same, and build a culture of authenticity for encouraging autonomy, discovery, and mastery.

Courage: To keep IT relevant and move up its maturity from reactive mode to proactive mode, from controlling to innovating, CIOs need to be “Chief Intrapreneur Officers” to lead their organization courageously. Digital CIOs should be creative enough to dream bigger for envisioning the future of the business and “sell the dream” via creative communication. The courageous CIOs can break down conventional wisdom, think ahead and lead IT as Change Agent. They can aggressively explore the new way to do things, discover the next business opportunity and take the calculated risk to pursue it. They are able to instill passion, boldness, freshness into both the art of IT innovation management philosophy and science of IT practices. Running IT in boldness also means that CIOs as IT leaders need to be able to recognize the struggles of the company by understanding the business beyond IT. The courageous IT leaders can experiment with new ideas and inspire the culture of innovation where everyone is encouraged to chip in with ideas and collaborate. As a result, innovation becomes a persistent, shared reality across functional boundaries and geographical territories.

Digital is the new age paradigm associated with deep ecology and natural evolution. The fittest survives and thrives. CIOs with the strong mind can overcome challenges, handle uncertainty suitably, deal with complexity effortlessly, and drive change smoothly. The strong IT leadership enables the comprehensive understanding of the art and science of digital management, master the complexity of the role and lead digital transformation seamlessly.


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