Monday, November 19, 2018

Running Digital IT Organization Through Associationism, Evolutionism, and Professionalism

 IT has to expand its impact in every dimension through associationism, evolutionism, and professionalism to improve business responsiveness, flexibility, digital fluency, and resilience.

The overwhelming growth of information brings both opportunities and risks to the organization; continuous disruptions often driven by technologies force businesses to improve their responsiveness, adaptability, flexibility, and resilience. IT provides competitive leverage to the business’ long-term growth. To keep IT relevant, IT leaders need to get really creative on driving changes and running digital IT organization through associationism, evolutionism, and professionalism.

Associationism: If traditional IT organizations were often run as an isolated function and support center. But now digital IT is the linchpin of today's dynamic business and its ecosystem. Never before has IT and business been so closely tied together; never before has technology moved so quickly and any missteps would have larger trajectory impacts on every aspect of the business. Thus, CIOs must have the interdisciplinary knowledge, associationism skills, and business acumen to run IT from outside-in business and customer perspective. The world moves too fast and marketing, finance, technology, leadership are all intertwined. IT needs to be managed both in the business and on the business in order to keep information flow and build differentiated business competency. As the senior leadership role, CIOs need to connect wider dots and make leadership influence on an entire organization and its business ecosystem. Their associationism skill is based on their system thinking and integral learning capacity to understand the interconnectivity between parts and the whole, to see both trees and forest for managing IT as an integral part of the business. They have to be well-rounded to succeed as an executive, devote their time and energy to understand the business and the potential of information and technology, and truly run a holistic business by optimizing business processes and structures and improving customer or employee satisfaction. IT-driven digital transformation can enforce business benefit by mixing diverse organizational ingredients to create products and processes which generate differentiated value and build a competitive business advantage.

Evolutionism: We are moving from a static and linear business world to a dynamic and hyper-connected digital era, it directly impacts how we think and do things more effectively. Digital transformation is an evolutionary journey by taking iterative steps and making continuous improvement. The mind shift from applying linear logical thinking to practicing Systems Thinking is evolutionary at the cognitive level. Digital leaders with a clear vision, growth mindset and a systematic understanding of the business can help the business navigate through uncharted water and blurred digital territories. Make sure the executive team first understands what it needs to drive change and lead digitalization. Today’s organizations are far from perfect, there are ineffectiveness, dysfunction, overlapping, complication, silo, bureaucracy, gaps, infighting, inefficiencies, or unhealthy competition, etc. The digital leaders who can identify small pivotal changes and start "fixing" them in the background, gradually over time making larger more complex changes tend to be the ones who can turn companies around. From IT management and change management perspective, an improvement is a form of change; it's not about painting the building, changing the logo, or even playing some cool technological gadgets. It’s important to put the framework in place to map the strategic objectives into KPIs and then determine what technology investments will accelerate the changes you want to see in the performance and make the sustainable business improvement.

Professionalism: The multi-generational, multicultural, and multi-devicing digital workforce and workplace are more diverse and dynamic than ever today. A digital professional can be ripened to maturity through the combination of quality, authenticity, capability, and potentiality. Professionalism is critical for today’s digital leaders and professionals based on a simple logic: Unprofessionalism leads to bad judgment and then drives poor decisions which will cause the culture toxic and business mighty fall. From IT management perspective, when IT profession becomes a “status quo,” information gets stuck, the business and the world also turn to be stagnant due to change inertia and culture friction. From IT leadership perspective, CIOs should become the change agent to rejuvenate the corporate culture by leveraging digital collaborative tools to enhance cross-functional communication and collaboration. IT plays an important role in interpreting business issues into a technology solution, also, leverage the necessary resources to solve them. As a leadership role, rather than just an IT manager, high-professional CIOs need to become the trustful business partner who can help to bridge business and technology, information and wisdom, business and digital ecosystem.

Forward-thinking digital organizations today need to constantly adapt to the ever-changing environment, and improve business competency. As many organizations are at an inflection point in digital transformation, IT plays a critical role in the digital paradigm shift. IT has to expand its impact in every dimension through associationism, evolutionism, and professionalism to improve business responsiveness, flexibility, digital fluency, and resilience.


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