Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Running Creative, Persuasive, and Logical IT

By blending logic and creativity properly, IT can be used as a tool, enabler, catalyzer, and a digital platform to orchestrate change and digitalization.

Digital transformation represents a break from the past and presents a high level of impact and complexity. With the exponential growth of information and often technology-led digital disruptions, IT is being elevated to the “light power” of the business for identifying business opportunities and obstacles, navigating changes, and climbing the learning curve ahead of the rest of organization. In reality, IT organizations have come a long way from being pure technical specialists to being critical strategic partners for leading business growth and transformation. In fact, it is at the tipping point that top performing companies see IT as an asset, capital, innovation catalyzer and source of business competitive advantage. It’s a strategic imperative for CIOs to run creative, persuasive and logical IT organizations.

Be creative to produce ideas and solve problems: Often many IT departments are so busy with mundane day to day activities, they lose the strategic focus and the sense of creativity over the period of time. No wonder the majority of IT organizations still get stuck at the lower level of business maturity and be perceived as a cost center only. Running digital IT is both science and art. There are very progressive organizations where IT sparks organizational creativity. In order to reinvent its brand, IT must be willing to take constructive criticism from business partners, customers, or other stakeholders, turn the beating, lashing, and criticism into opportunities to spark creative ideas. A digital CIO with their finger on the pulse of information insight and technological advancement can provide many ideas on how the latest digital technologies and abundance of information can create fresh opportunities to help the company reach the next cycle of the business growth. CIOs usually do have some advantage to introduce something new, the new apps to delight customers, the new processes to engage employees, or the new trends perceived by real-time information to influence business direction. Although most of IT operations practice engineering discipline and involve analytical work, some argue it is the creative mind better suited for top IT leadership. Because creativity contributes to long-term business prosperity; creativity instills the freshness for either designing the great products/services or solving problems innovatively. Thus it is appreciated by the end customers. To put simply, creativity is a necessary ingredient of transformative leadership. From the societal progress perspective, creativity is an important part of our future and civilization. Without it, human society will be stagnated.

Be persuasive to advocate the ideas and sell the vision: IT plays an important role in interpreting business issues into technical solutions and building IT-enabled business competency. This requires cross-functional communication and collaboration. To gain a seat at the big table, digital CIOs need to sell technological vision persuasively and creative enough to co-develop the strategy and co-solve business problems. They can “dream” a new solution which brings the result better than the business’s expectation. As “lost in translation” is the key issue to separate IT from the business, IT leaders should build a peer to peer executive relationships, experiments more creative common language, and make audience tailored communication in order to bridge the gap between business and IT. Many CIOs don't know how to sell the value of what their teams deliver. Digital savvy CIOs can identify the formal and informal power brokers cross the boundary and establish a personal dialogue with them to identify the real problem. Ask users, customers, and different stakeholders what their expectations are of IT, and whether or not IT meets those expectations. It is worth the effort to take better communication approaches and be persuasive to advocate ideas and build IT reputation as the trustful business partner.

Be logical enough to make a vision into the reality, implement ideas and guild IT team to make things happen timely: The logic focus is great for the top digital leaders such as CIO to ensure IT operational excellence. In the executive suite, you need a balance of both logic and persuasiveness. Be logical in your mind based on your years of engineering training/experiences. In fact, creativity and logic are not two completely different disciplines, they are interconnected; they are like the two sides of the coin to enable IT leaders understanding the digital puzzle thoroughly and solve problems creatively. The main emphasis of problem-solving in a logical scenario is in doing better pre-work, such as defining the situation and the "success criteria," take consideration of the range of options, rather than the traditional "jump to solution" problem-solving scenario. CIOs as innovation practitioners play a critical role in managing innovation in a structural way by bridging innovation execution gaps, which requires clear stages, information thresholds, decision-making parameters combined with iterative business processes that support wide-ranging exploration at each stage. By blending logic and creativity properly, IT can be used as a tool, enabler, catalyzer, and a digital platform to orchestrate change and facilitate idea creation and implementation, and meet the ultimate goal of an organization's short, medium, and long-term strategic goals.

With digital hyperconnectivity, running creative, persuasive and logical IT or close is being able to think and create new things based on its own needs, listen, comprehend, and understand the people and the business they are part of, as well as communicate with empathy. CIOs need to become insightful business leaders to work within IT and across the business scope, and seek ways to grow business revenue and spur innovation.


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