Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Monthly “Change Agent CIO” Book Tuning: Modernist CIOs Jan. 2020

CIOs are digital modernists who lead through influence, not through brute forces.

Change is inevitable, organizational change has become a common practice within an organization, but too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crises, and demands. This is the bureaucracy’s way of meeting the challenges. A digital transformation is achieved via dynamic Strategy-Execution-Change lifecycle management, though it is not all linear steps, but an iterative, ongoing and upgoing change continuum. What are digital CIO’s profiles and how to reboot IT to get digital ready and cultivate the culture of learning and innovating?      

Modernist CIOs

Are You a Traditional CIO or a Modernist CIO Information Technology is now permeating into every corner of the business, it’s a crucial component to run a modern business. As businesses embark on the “Digital Era” of computing, the landscape for all executive roles constantly change, the CIO role also continues to be reimagined and reshaped. They should keep asking themselves: What is the future of IT? How to shape a digital IT organization? What is the nature of the digital IT leadership and what is the primary role of the CIO in harnessing IT leadership? Am I a traditional CIO or a modernist CIO?

Modern CIOs as Digital Adventurists Traditional IT organizations have been perceived as technical support centers and help desks, and traditional CIOs have been portrayed as technology geeks and controllers to keep the lights on. Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. IT plays a different role in such a paradigm shift. Modern CIOs need to keep an eye on what happens today, also be focused on what is next. They are the digital adventurists to lead radical changes and innovation breakthroughs.

The CIO as Digital Modernist II The modern IT is not equal to IT modernization, it goes a step further, becomes the change agent of the company, doing more with innovation and solving problems creatively. The CIOs are digital modernists who lead through influence, not through brute forces; who not only enforce the engineering side of IT but also stimulate the creative side of IT for reaching “the art of the possible.” Here are three perspectives of CIOs as digital modernists.

The CIO as the Digital Modernist The modernist is a believer in or supporter of modernism, especially in the arts. Information & technology is both art and science. The digital modernist CIO is an advocate to catalyze change and lead digitalization. Many perceive engineering as an art because it involves creative thinking, personalized observation and judgment, design thinking, intuition, and innovation. To unleash the digital potential of the business, organizations need to understand that IT is not just technical or scientific, but also artistic and delightful.

The Digital Portrait of Modern CIOs In the world moves too fast, with the exponential growth of information, leadership, marketing, finance, technology, etc, are all intertwined. IT leadership is strategically important. What C-level executives really want is a partner that works both "on the business" and "in the business," not just "for the business"; someone who knows what they want before they know themselves; someone who can contribute to the top-line business growth and long-term business strategy. Thus, the digital portrait of modern CIO is different from the traditional CIOs who often think and act as the tactical IT manager. The important thing is that digital CIOs as the top leadership role, must have the strategic mindset, interdisciplinary knowledge, unique personality, and a clear idea of what needs to be done, yet creative enough to not hold the company back from growth.

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