Tuesday, December 12, 2017

CIOs as “Chief Intrapreneur Officers” with Ownership Mentality

Intrapreneur CIO leaders with ownership mentality can articulate the strategic rationale behind the venture and apply technology in new ways to stay ahead of competition and industry. 

With abundant information and emergent digital technologies, IT is a key component to shape the digital mindset of the business and to re-imagine “what is possible” to unleashing business potentials. To bridge the gap between IT and business and the industrial age and the digital era, an entrepreneur's mindset with ownership mentality is important for CIOs to run IT as a business in the business, to manage both opportunities and risks accordingly, and to ensure IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next.

Good intrapreneur CIOs with ownership mentality will ask big “WHY” clearly, to articulate the strategic rationale behind the venture: Every process, every expenditure of time, money, or energy, and every assignment of resources should directly relate back to the "Why,” with a clear strategy-execution mapping. Intrapreneurship is about balancing innovation with other organizational priorities, it presents a possibly even greater challenge and reward. Once people agree with the WHY, they can develop their own level or means of participating. CIOs with ownership mentality have better self-awareness, they are not afraid to know the “actual state” of IT, and break down the old habits to get a holistic understanding of the business and run IT as the business in the business.“Why" should not only precede "How," but should be reaffirmed at each step in the "How.” The common “WHY” questions CIOs need ask include: Why is IT still perceived as a cost center? Why doesn’t the business invite IT leaders to engage in strategic conversations? Why is IT not getting enough respect despite all good work and dedicate effort were undertaken? Why is IT always overloaded and understaffed? Etc. Digital blurs the geographical, functional, organizational, and even industrial borders nowadays. Traditional hierarchical lines will phase out and a collective of business partners will emerge working collaboratively to set digital strategy and achieve organizational goals collaboratively. When CIOs are equipped with the ownership mentality, they can run IT boldly and provide the leadership style to inject enthusiasm, which is infectious and spurs the concept forward.

Good intrapreneur-leaders present accountability which is a type of cognitive fitness to show the ownership mentality: Lack of accountability is often one of the biggest obstacles to getting things done, or cause change inertia. Digital organizations are flatter, with an “every individual as a stakeholder” culture, to close the accountability gap through improving cross-functional collaboration, open door listening, transparency, and empathy. Accountability needs to be well embedded in the organizational culture, to encourage responsible communication, decision-making, and action. True accountability focuses on learning to do things differently, rather than punishment. Technology by itself doesn't 'do' anything, applying technical capabilities to market opportunities is where the magic happens. Shared accountability or collective accountability involves shared ownership, empathetic communication, and mutual sharing in successes. Digital transformation is all about shaping highly performing and highly innovative organizations. The better the CIO assigns accountability and empowers the individuals and teams, the better are the chances it will be at the least, accepted. A hyperconnected organization can approach the flow zone when the positions in its hierarchy have clear and accountable tasks.

Good intrapreneur-leaders with ownership mentality are systematic and good at calculating the risk: The good intrapreneur leaders have the right dose of risk appetite and rational risk management skill as well. If risk appetite implies some ability to actually measure risk level, and then risk attitude is to determine the company’s attitude and strength to deal with risks appear. Many entrepreneurs taste risk as bitter experience and show resilient to recover. Intrapreneur-leaders have a balanced viewpoint to perceive success and failure more objectively, such mental toughness will help the organization to be more resilient, and nurture the culture of risk-tolerance. It’s business leaders’ responsibility to establish an environment with a high-risk tolerance, where people can grow and develop, be curious and creative without fear. Good intrapreneur-leaders with ownership mentality can strike the right balance between increasing productivity and encouraging innovation; between setting the rules and let “out-of-box” thinking flow; between risk management and risk tolerance; between the new way to do things and the best practice, between stability and change, creativity and process.

Intrapreneur CIO leaders with ownership mentality are curious enough to ask big why questions, they are accountable to run IT as the business. They also have just the right risk appetite to grab opportunities and be able to manage risks effectively. They can help to build the culture of learning and creativity, inject passions to lead changes and commercialize the value of new ideas to drive the business growth. They can apply technology in new and innovative ways to stay ahead of competition and industry. They are on the right track for achieving the “art of possible” to reinvent IT for the digital age.


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