Monday, July 2, 2018

The CIO as “Chief Impact Officer”: Does your Word Carry Weight in Making the Digital Paradigm Shift?

CIO as "Chief Impact Officer," needs to be well prepared, make leadership influence when having opportunities.

Due to disruptive nature of technologies and fast-growing information, the pervasive digitization requires IT leaders o rethink how things are done in organizations. The contemporary CIO is no longer the tedious management role to keep the lights only now, there are many critical leadership roles that they have to play for leading IT up to the next level of organizational maturity. CIO can make the significant digital impact through their breadth of business knowledge and the depth of IT insight. But more specifically, the CIO as “Chief Impact Officer”: How does your word carry weight in making the digital paradigm shift?

Highly influential CIOs are generally very progressive in their thinking, as well as act as the mindful digital leader, and as such, they deserve the title as “Chief Impact Officer”: Due to high speed of changes and complexity of technology, generally speaking, a digital CIO needs to have open, growth, and complexity mindset - with high ability to handle leadership challenges, manage impressions, and enforce communication to suit the situation so as to make things happen. CIOs are also imaginative, inquisitive, and innovative in order to reinvent IT as the growth engine of the business. A mindful IT leader with dynamic persona will directly influence IT and business culture. They should be open-minded to enjoy “out of the box” thinking to cultivate the culture of learning and innovation. With “VUCA” characteristics - velocity, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, digital CIOs need also to be the strategic, critical, and systems thinkers who are able to perceive the big picture of the business, comprehend the complexity and systemic issues they face and be able to understand the interconnectivity between parts and the whole. Because more often than not, to solve today’s complex business problems, digital leaders have to really dig beneath the superficial layer, leverage interdisciplinary knowledge to get to the heart of the matter, fix the root causes and capture the insight of the digital transformation.

Highly influential CIOs needs to have a seat in the boardroom, as information is an invaluable asset that needs to be represented at the board level: Information is like the water, permeated into every corner of the business. Therefore, the CIO as information owner is the critical link to the business being successful. CIOs are seeking impact, they're seeking influence - so a seat on the board is definitely in their minds. One of the core skills for a modern CIO to be successful is her/his capacity to collaborate with her/his C-level peers and the board, enabling them to see the "light." The information provides a significant opportunity for business growth, also brings the unprecedented risk for information protection and privacy concerns. A digital CIO is no longer concerned solely with the technology, they master managing information to capture business foresight and customer insight. Focusing on connecting their companies to markets, helping them understand their clients' evolving needs, and enabling their organizations to grow the business. CIOs need to understand how technology affects each area of the enterprise. In the boardroom, they have to speak business terms by area, not the technology. So, when they ask what time it is, you don't have to explain how the watch works. They can make the influence as the strategic business leader, not just a tactical manager.

To make high impact, the CIO needs to be the visionary derives the most value out of the technology investments by translating the promise of technology to strategic and competitive advantage for the company: Being a digital leader will need to master the art of creating unique and differentiating value from piles of commoditized technologies. The difference between the tactical and strategic IT leader is that the first one thinks about the tools while the second one is thinking business, and how to use the tools to gain an advantage over competitors. An opportunity for the CIO to add a lot of value in the C-Suite is helping C-Level leaders understand the possibilities of how new technologies can enhance the creation or improvement of products and services while balancing the technical and business risks, the investment needed, and timing, etc. The CIO will create a blue ocean for his/her organization which will provide a competitive advantage. A strategic CIO is changing the dynamics of the business enterprise by leveraging technology for strategic advantage. CIOs must be leaders, drawing from the experience and expertise of those around them, crafting and casting the vision for the ways in which tomorrow's business technologies can create sustainable business value. Highly impactful CIOs lead confidently. People don't tend to follow people who say "this is awful, follow me." They do tend to follow people who say "look at what we might do. We have issues to overcome but look at what we could be."

Modern CIOs have to go deeper in order to lead forward. CIO as "Chief Impact Officer," needs to be well prepared, make leadership influence when having opportunities, They also need to be the great “storytellers” to harness communication, enforce cross-functional collaboration and their words should carry weight in making the digital paradigm shift.


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