Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Monthly “12 CIO Personas” Book Turning: CIOs as “Chief Inquisitiveness Officer” Apr. 2020

The digital CIOs have to wear different colors of hats and master multiple leadership personas and management roles effortlessly.

This book “12 CIO Personas: The Digital CIO’s Situational Leadership Practices” is the extensive brainstorming and logical content expansion of my book “CIO Master: Unleash the Digital Potential of IT,” to reimagine and reinvent CIO leadership via practicing multitudes of digital influence.

The important thing is that CIOs as the top leadership role must have a strong mindset, a unique personality, and a clear idea of what needs to be done, yet creative enough to not hold the company back from growth. Regardless of which personality they have, digital CIOs need to be both transformational and situational, innovative and tactical, business savvy and technology insightful, communication-effective, and operation-efficient.

    CIOs as “Chief Inquisitiveness Officer” 

CIOs as “Chief Inquisitiveness Officer”: Three Big “WHYs” to Reimagine IT for Getting Digital Ready Different IT organizations and enterprises are at the different stage of the business maturity, IT can be used as a tool, enabler, integrator, catalyzer, or a digital game-changer to meet the ultimate goal of an organization's short/medium/long-term strategic plans. Many IT organizations are at the crossroad, should they continue to be run as the cost center to keep the lights on only, and gradually become irrelevant? Or should they take the bold steps, move up the maturity level to get digital ready? The answer seems to be no brainer, but CIOs today, in fact, face numerous management dilemmas. They have to reimagine the new possibilities, convey a clear technological vision to both convince and deliver the alternative view of IT being a profit enabler and innovation engine. Digital CIOs are “Chief Inquisitiveness Officers,” they have to keep asking thought-provoking questions to brainstorm the better way to run IT.

CIO as Chief Inquisitiveness Officer: Can, Shall or How CIOs Say “I Don’t Know” At the industrial age, managers or leaders seem to be expected to have all answers, now businesses are moving to the digital era with "VUCA" characteristics (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity), although there’s a mountain of data, and information is only a few clicks away, indeed, in many circumstances, finding an answer to a complex problem takes collective insight and collaborative effort. So, as a senior-level business executive, can, shall, or how CIOs say “I don’t know”? How does someone in the highly visible position such as CIOs say "I don’t know" about the key business issue or technology problems without compromising his/her authority, career, and influence?

“Does Superior Execution Require the Leaders’ Inquisitiveness? The characteristic of the Digital Era is the increasing rate of change and continuous disruption, and this isn’t going to change. Preparing a strategic plan is important because it points the organization in a direction where it can maximize its value position and reap as many benefits as possible. But the more challenging part is strategy execution, statistically more than two-thirds of strategy implementations fail to achieve the expected result. How to diagnose the root causes of problems? Does superior execution require the leader's inquisitiveness? And what is the best scenario to manage the strategy execution continuum?

Are We Entering the Digital Inquisitiveness Era? We are in a time of tremendous change, the dawn of digital age, the path to the next level of innovation, also the era of confusion and information overload. Can we participate peacefully, look forward optimistically, and engage constructively for mutual benefit? Are we entering the inquisitiveness era to stimulate imagination momentarily?

Harnessing Innovation by Practicing Open Leadership Styles Innovation is more than designing new products or services, it is about establishing and nurturing a way of thinking where innovation is in every aspect of the business. The art of innovation is that it involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. The science of innovation is to take a structural approach to manage innovation. It requires collaboration, openness, sharing, and joyful teamwork. This is radically different from the command-and-control style of management. Digital leaders today can harness innovation by practicing open leadership styles and improve innovation management effectiveness.

Modern organizations have their own sophistication with silo functions, the sea of information, and the pool of talent. The CIO is an inherently cross-functional role, to bridge the business and IT; the data and insight, the business’s today, and tomorrow. The digital CIOs have to wear different personas and master multiple leadership and management roles effortlessly. They need to lead at the strategic level for conducting a complex digital orchestra; they should be handy managers to plumbing information and keep it flow smoothly; they also have to be like diligent gardeners, to build a unique IT landscape via tuning technology, removing waste, nurturing culture, and empowering people.


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