Friday, December 22, 2017

Three Digital Traits to Become a Sophisticated Modern CIO

Digital IT leaders need to be sophisticated with digital traits such as multidimensional intelligence, innovativeness, and profundity. 

Due to the disruptive nature of technology and fast-growing information, and in a world where practically every aspect of nearly every business, as mundane and detached from IT either sales or accounting, is wholly dependent on IT to a high degree, the CIO role is perhaps one of the most sophisticated executive positions in modern businesses because they have to wear multiple personas to practice situational leadership, and keep reinventing IT to adapting to changes all the time. For the modern CIO, that simply means being a proper "C-level" leader to amplify leadership influence and a tactical manager to keep IT running flawlessly at the prevailing level of sophistication. Here are three digital traits to become a sophisticated modern CIO.

Multidimensional Intelligence: Due to the complex nature of the technology and multidisciplinary IT management practices, digital CIOs must master multidimensional thinking and build multilevel of professional capabilities. As a C-level business leader, the CIO should be good at strategic thinking to keep the end in mind, the end is the business vision and strategy because IT is the means to end, not the end itself. CIOs must practice critical thinking to always pinpoint the real issues, not just the symptom, to ensure IT is doing the right things (effectiveness) before doing things right (efficiency). It’is about having problem-solving skills and technological understanding that give you the ability to invent new ways to create or manage information effectively to drive business growth. As “Chief Innovation Officer,” CIOs need to be fluent with innovative thinking because creativity is one of the most important thinking processes to connect the dots between IT and business and innovation often happens at the intersection of business and technology. CIOs need to have a clear technological vision and have genuine empathy with the users of technology and end customers. Systems Thinking is also critical for digital CIOs because it is the thought process to understand the interconnectivity between parts and whole. IT is in the unique position to oversee the underlying business functions and processes. Systems Thinking helps CIOs to discover the interconnectivity and interdependence of the digital business ecosystem. It is important for IT to solve the business issues holistically. Because you need to be looking for something “hidden,” which is not always obvious, you don't just accidentally find it, you structure the thinking process to discover the patterns, and always see the trees without missing the forest. To put simply, CIOs as IT leaders need to be multidimensional thinkers for gaining an in-depth understanding of both technology and business via different lenses.

Profundity: Digital CIOs play the sophisticated leadership role, they need to think deeper and take stepwise approaches to manage one of the most invaluable business assets - information and one of the most intelligent groups of people- talented IT professionals effectively. Leadership is not just soft skills, but hard capabilities. Many leaders and managers have intentions to lead but lack cognitive understanding, intellectual sophistication, and differential strength to lead effectively. There are all sorts of gaps need to be closed. This is particularly important for technological leaders because they have to understand both world - business and IT well. IT should look at itself more frequently, also oversee the entire organization thoroughly. IT needs to permeating into the business functions and ecosystem, and invite customers and partners to provide feedback. IT should educate the business to gain an in-depth understanding of the technical complexity behind the scene, and potential opportunities and risks. It all requires profound leadership and cohesive management practices. From the digital leadership perspective, leadership is about bridging today and future, to know oneself is necessary to understand the filters and the bias. Self-reflection helps you become an authentic and emphatic leader. The key to organizational success is to integrate next generation of leaders, tap into their way of looking at the world, solving problems with very collaborative working styles, also mind the leadership and capability gap seamlessly. The ultimate goal to run a differentiated digital IT is to help the organization build a set of unique capabilities, and improve the whole business’s competency.

Uniqueness: Every business is different, every IT organization is different. 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. It’s whether you can be what is needed at the time and execute to those expectations. Thus, a sophisticated digital CIO needs to be unique and hard to copy. Each of the senior executives has a different view of the job, what it will take to be successful, and how the goals are measured. Thus, the great CIO is unique. How CIOs provide the appropriate leadership and how they convey to leverage IT for business value also depends on CIOs' vision and leadership strength and style. A sophisticated CIO can run digital IT with differentiated competency. As IT is increasingly supportive of the competitive position and the business. In general, careful considerations must be made about which knowledge or skills have to be secured; what are commoditized services, and what are competitive differentiators. Innovation is all about figuring out the new way to do things. There is nothing to be scared about the evolving trends in any field of knowledge, innovation, and growth. IT leadership uniqueness can catalyze innovation and accelerate the pace of digitalization. Variety, complexity, diversification, and collaboration are the characteristics of the digital innovation ecosystem. There are many components in an effective innovation environment or ecosystem. IT can weave them all into the differentiated innovation capabilities and take the structural approach. The unique thoughts, emergent trends, and updated knowledge are all that captivates digital professionals with high curiosities to learn and quickly absorb and adapt so that it becomes easy for the coming generation to adjust to the needs of the changes necessitated with the evolving new thinking and trends.

Digital transformation represents a break with the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. Digital IT leaders need to be sophisticated with digital traits such as multidimensional intelligence, innovativeness, and profundity. They must master all sort of thinking, understand leadership substance and practice situational leadership, adjust the appropriate leadership style to manage multifaceted IT effortlessly.


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