Welcome to our blog, the digital brainyard to fine tune "Digital Master," innovate leadership, and reimagine the future of IT.

The magic “I” of CIO sparks many imaginations: Chief information officer, chief infrastructure officer , Chief Integration Officer, chief International officer, Chief Inspiration Officer, Chief Innovation Officer, Chief Influence Office etc. The future of CIO is entrepreneur driven, situation oriented, value-added,she or he will take many paradoxical roles: both as business strategist and technology visionary,talent master and effective communicator,savvy business enabler and relentless cost cutter, and transform the business into "Digital Master"!

The future of CIO is digital strategist, global thought leader, and talent master: leading IT to enlighten the customers; enable business success via influence.

Monday, August 31, 2020

The Monthly “Leadership Master” Book Tuning: Leadership Sophistication and Maturity Aug. 2020

Digital leadership is sophisticated because there are many variables in it, and there is a delicate mix of expertise, interpersonal skills, along with a lot of different attributes. 


Leadership is complex yet simple: Complex in that there are so many traits and characteristics that are considered when evaluating a leader. Simplicity in that the substance of leadership never changes, it’s all about the future and change; direction and dedication; influence and innovation. 

The purpose of the book: Leadership Master - Five Digital Trends to Leap Leadership Maturity is to convey the vision of digital leadership, share the insight about leadership maturity, and summarize five emergent digital leadership trends Here is the monthly tuning of digital leadership.


         Leadership Sophistication and Maturity


Leadership Sophistication and Maturity We slowly, but steadily move to the era with an abundance of knowledge and rapid change, it has raised the bar of leadership significantly. Digital leadership is sophisticated because there are many variables in it, and there is a delicate mix of expertise, interpersonal skills, along with a lot of different attributes. Sophistication implies intelligence, uniqueness, unban fit, and complex problem-solving, and the following aspects.

Compelling Digital Leadership Models Under a complex digital environment with “VUCA” new normal, we need to look at each situation individually and ask what leadership model is required, will it be emergent, will it self-organize, or will it be data-driven, etc. When the leadership model is symbiotic or empathetic, only then do things fall into place.

The Key Abilities to Impact the Effectiveness of Senior Leadership Digital Paradigm means holism, hyper-connectivity, interdependence, and people-centricity. Leadership is complex and situational, the hardcore digital leadership capabilities are multidimensional, and there are numerous variables that need to be leveraged in assessing leadership effectiveness.

Insightful Understanding of Leadership Structure and Maturity Digital business is a hyper-connected and interdependent ecosystem, active engagement with leaders at all levels of the organization is critical to achieving an overall competitive advantage of the business. Business management should check-up what is the vision and mission your company intends to accomplish and how to make a strategic alignment for realizing them.

Leadership Psychology, Philosophy, and Methodology The shift to digital cuts across sectors, geographies and leadership roles and the digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. But dealing with challenges and tough problems facing today’s business requires an accelerated digital mindset and open leadership style. To thrive in the exponential digital era, business leaders can see possibilities before others, and they can also tackle great challenges with grand consequences over long time spans. Here are digital leadership psychology, philosophy, and methodology.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with about 7000+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify your voice, deepen your digital footprints, and match your way for human progression.

“Data” Quotes of “Digital Master” Aug. 2020

Within the tasks associated with the element of the business decisions, data is fluid in the sense that it is constantly added to or subtracted to depend on the task.

"Digital Master” is a series of guidebooks (28 + books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” 

It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, provides advice on how to run a digital organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “Data” quotes in “Digital Master.”


1 Data without process has no meaning; process without data gives no meaning.

2 Data patterns can be viewed over time in the form structured and unstructured data, however, this does not give you knowledge of what is going on, only some insights of possible weak signals.

3 The Data -> Information -> Knowledge process should then be cognizant of the right ways to work (Process). Thus, the Data>Information>Knowledge tactics route will encompass all (most) of what you need.

4 Within the tasks associated with the element of the business decisions, data is fluid in the sense that it is constantly added to or subtracted to depend on the task.

5 Processes are governed by data. That does not mean processes should be "super glued" to data.

6 Lots of data tends to overwhelm our cognitive decision-making processes. In Big Data and cognitive analytics, maybe data enrichment and correlation are on the surf of more data-driven than process driven.

7 It is critical to frame the right question via sound process and manage data quality via an effective process.

8 If you mine, cleanse and improve the data to produce information, combine that information and visualize it in different ways, then you gain organizational knowledge and from that knowledge, you can make excellent tactical decisions.

Change Management Focal Point and Accomplishment

Change is inevitable. Make sure the executive team first understands what it needs to change for shaping the future of business and build change competency to realize it. 


We live in a world in which change is the norm with rapid speed. Change itself has become unpredictable and evolutionary. Either individually or collectively, if we don't embrace it, accept it, roll with it or make it happen, we're not going to be successful. 

The purpose of the digital transformation as the large scale of change, is to make a significant difference in the overall levels of business performance and organizational maturity. 


Set the right priority to change and improve the strategic responsiveness of the business: With exponential growth of information, continuous disruptions often driven by technologies and an unprecedented level of uncertainty, change management and strategy management should go hand in hand. Business leaders should be able to leverage information to envision not only where a company believes it is going but how it will get there and how it might be missing out on opportunities. Business change management is about managing everything that is necessary to get people to adopt new ways of working such as process or organizational change, digital readiness, or stakeholder management, etc, and make sure the work environment inspires positive changes, and improve the strategic responsiveness of the business.

Organizations have limited resources and talent, change is never for its own sake, it is important to prioritize things, enforce communication and have the perseverance to truly make the change happen and also sustain its effect. Change managers should make an objective assessment by asking: What is the organizational capacity for change? What shall you do to build or increase the business capacity to meet the growing demand? Assess to what extent the organization has the capacity to change in terms of people, finances, and manageability, and also forecast future needs. Leaders won't set priorities in vacuums, rather, they leverage the strategic planning to determine which business capabilities are needed to enable it to achieve those objectives and then, execute to build or solidify change competency.

Rethink and reinvent corporate processes to bridge silos and run a highly adaptive organization: Many organizations still get stuck at the low level of organizational maturity. There are some dysfunctional symptoms such as complication, inefficiency, or rigidity, etc. The organization stagnates because the business systems are no longer able to accommodate changing needs or too fragile to speed up. It requires some kind of rethinking and reinventing the corporate processes and creating that changed sense of support for adapting to emerging events. It is also good to look at processes in terms of the very characteristics such as flexibility, resilience, value contribution, reproducibility, reusability, etc. The process of preplanned change shouldn’t be too rigid or overly prescribed, otherwise, it could create the bottleneck for streamlining change scenario.

Change comes from within the hearts and minds of the people. High mature digital organizations are people centric. Traditional Change Management is often process-driven, but digital change management has to be people-centric. Change Management is a hybrid of both science and art as the science gets interpreted to suit the varying situations and drive change smoothly. The hybrid structure will overtake hierarchical control, and that flexible digital culture will become a fundamental organizational asset. The goal of optimizing business processes is to streamline communication flow, knowledge flow, idea flow, and therefore, business flow for adapting to changes and unlocking performance.

The focus of Change Management should include actions designed to sustain performance improvement and anchor change as a new opportunity: You can only manage what you measure, Change Management also goes head to head with performance management. The purpose of performance measurement is to bring tangible results and achieve business goals for change. It's not the use of KPIs per se, but the applications of those that lead to the desired change. Neglect to measure something important will create blind spots for business management to make effective decisions or drive progressive changes with speed.

It’s important to avoid various change pitfalls: Provincialism will enforce the silo wall and cause unhealthily internal competition. Also, don’t just scratch the surface to manage the numbers, dig into the root causes. Measuring only a small portion of what matters stops the management from seeing the full picture of what’s going on in the business and limits their view on how to accelerate business performance, anchor change as a new opportunity, and unleash its full potential

Change is inevitable. Make sure the executive team first understands what it needs to change for shaping the future of business and build change competency to realize it. For large scale business transformation, the organization has to explore digital in all directions, change the fundamental business model, culture, or other critical business success factors, avoid varying pitfalls on the way for reaching the next level of organizational growth and maturity.

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Monthly “Digital Hybridity” Book Tuning: Running Digital Organization as a Balanced System Aug. 2020

Digital management is a hybrid and holistic discipline with mixed management styles for managing everything that is necessary to get people to adopt new ways of learning and working.

The purpose of the book “Digital Hybridity: How to Strike the Right Balance for Digital Paradigm Shift” is to shed some light on how to strike the right balance of stability and changes; being transactional to keep spinning and being transformational to leap forward for making a seamless digital paradigm shift. 

Digital organizations should apply the hybrid management approach, focus on building a diverse, networked, and extended modern working environment in which the powerful digital platforms and computing technologies enable seamless conversations, delayer overly rigid organizational hierarchy, inspire idea sharing and brainstorming, and engage employees and partners to achieve the high-performance result.


Running Digital Organization as a Balanced System 


A Digital Organization as an Organic System Digital means the exponential growth of information and an abundance of knowledge. The current business paradigm is still dominantly rooted in the mechanistic understanding and framing of hierarchical organizational structures or silo functions. The organization of the future will be organically developed, iterating and empowered by an intelligent organizational design that puts values and people before rules and roles. It will be organized as an organic system which is self-adapting, self-renewing, generates patterns, structures, business activities, and above all, creates novelty over time.

The Pervasive Digitization via Continuous Balance Cycles Over the last couple of decades, due to rapid changes and fierce competition, businesses have been faced with increasingly more complex and pressing problem-situations, embedded in interconnected business ecosystems operating in dynamically changing environments. The digital business cycle could be viewed as resulting in emergent means of shaping a vision or mantra reflecting the “mind and soul” of the company to accelerate the pervasive digitization via continuous balance cycles of participation, adaptability, expansion, innovation, and optimization.

The Digital Organizational Design vs. Balance The purpose of organizational design is to improve the business maturity from functioning to firm to delight, and ultimately achieve the high-performance business result. High mature digital organizations integrate organizational design (OD) into the process design and organizational re-engineering for enabling employees to do their work productively and shape an interactive, dynamic, balanced, and multidimensional ecosystem.

The Hybrid Digital Management Disciplines The digital paradigm has many dimensions, it is like solving a jigsaw puzzle with thousands of pieces, easy to get lost when trying to capture the big picture. Digital transformation is the journey for solving problems caused by "conflict," "out of balance," and “lack of logic.” It has to expand into every dimension of the organization with a structural approach. Thus, digital management is a hybrid and holistic discipline with mixed management styles for managing everything that is necessary to get people to adopt new ways of working such as cross-functional communication and collaboration, organizational structure design, change management, talent development, digital business readiness, and stakeholder management, etc.

How to Strike the Multitude of Digital Balances for Achieving a State of Dynamic Equilibrium Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business both horizontally and vertically. Due to the “VUCA” nature of digitalization, change is unavoidable, firms that are skilled in managing digital dynamics can gain advantages in profitability, speed, business growth, and innovation enforcement. Organizations have to strike the multitude of digital balances that impact with each other in order to achieve such a state of dynamic equilibrium.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with about #7000+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom, to inspire critical thinking and spur healthy debates. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation, and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

“Examine” Quotes of “Digital Master” Aug. 2020

A critical thinking strategist can initiate open conversations, see the two sides of the coin, adapt to business dynamics, examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles.


"Digital Master” is a series of guidebooks (28 + books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.”

 It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, provides advice on how to run a digital organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “Examine” quotes in “Digital Master.”


1 The multifactor workforce productivity analysis would examine the process to determine what elements of production made the employees more productive to achieve the expected performance results and make continuous optimization.

2 Senior leaders at the board level should be skeptical about the conventional understanding of strategic issues so that they examine everything before accepting it for the real truth or advising it to others.

3 To harness the business interconnectivity and improve business changeability, it will be effective to examine, challenge, and perhaps, even shift the underlying paradigms, breaking down silos, flattening organizational hierarchical layers, and increasing horizontal linkages.

4 For most businesses, innovation is still serendipitous, not so many people like innovation, because innovation stands for risk, and that associated with trouble, and innovation management has an overall very low success rate. It is crucial to examine the causes of failure in innovation, the gaps and pitfalls on the way.

5 Effective automation should first examine certain functions and understand the connections and define any constraints in the IT system. Identify any constraining tasks and look to automate these first to reduce the overall delivery cycle for a task.

6 Creative people are inspired to think and work nearly every day on creating, they are not waiting for “Aha” moments, but proactively stimulating the new energy of fresh thinking, examining alternatives, and improving their creative maturity via continuous practices.

7 A run-through of high-level strategic planning can produce a wide range of potential business models, each of them can further be examined in more detail systematically to make it more specific and practical.

8 A critical thinking strategist can initiate open conversations, see the two sides of the coin, adapt to business dynamics, examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles, evaluate the impact of the strategic decisions, the scope of impact, the possible blind spots, who are being impacted, how important they are and how critical the decision really is to them; how likely the situation is to change or better information will become known. All these are important aspects of crafting a good strategy.

Uncertainty Management to Fill Opportunity Gap

 By pursuing abundant opportunities via managing uncertainty well, we are shifting from the knowledge economy to the creative economy.

The emerging digital era has many dimensions and demonstrates very characteristics such as options, sharing, empathy, and personalization. To deal with the new normal, knowledge is no doubt important but more than that is complete awareness of what is happening in the business context. Once you do that, you use your ability to classify the elements and know their linkage. 

Either individually or at the organizational level, it’s important to manage uncertainty and fill opportunities gaps, accelerate business growth and reach the next level of maturity.



Knowledge knocks the door to reach opportunities: It is the paradigm shift from information scarcity in the industrial age to knowledge abundance in the digital era. With “VUCA” new normal, we cannot predict anything beforehand but can imagine with many experiences involved in current or in the past. As matter of a fact, uncertainties are a common occurrence in any walk of our progress, be it social, professional or personal life. To deal with it smoothly, information management and knowledge management should be managed holistically as the corporate asset, refine information into business foresight and customer insight, grasp growth opportunities and prevent risks proactively, and make provision to meet any eventuality.

Uncertainty per se is not a problem, it poses a risk for those who have a fixed mindset and creates opportunities for those with a growth mindset. Knowledge knocks the door to reach opportunities. The problem is that knowledge doesn’t always inform you of true understanding, it is important to identify and close the gap between knowledge and insight, and manage knowledge smoothly. If done properly; it can turn the most valuable personally-owned information and knowledge assets into corporately owned assets. You need to not only assimilate existing knowledge, more importantly, you also have to keep updating knowledge, transform knowledge into business insight for spotting growth opportunities, and drive business transformation seamless.

Uncertainty could be an opportunity enabling us to foresee possibilities and probabilities that might crop in our way of progress: As we all know that the only "certainty" or a "constant" is "CHANGE." The challenges, competition, and complexities may be in on the increase but along with it there comes the increase in opportunity as well and in the form of demand. Business is only an extended part of our life and all businesses have to accept the change to survive. The way to effectively deal with uncertainty is to reduce it by getting information to bridge knowledge gaps, enabling us to foresee business possibilities and accelerate business performance.

Due to the “VUCA” (Velocity, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) characteristics of the digital new normal, organizations have to leverage refined information to improve its responsiveness in adaptation to changes. Good strategic planning is based on quality information about customers, competition, internal capabilities, and costs, and it needs to leverage emerging properties for making reasonable adjustments. Technically, the problem to be solved is to deal with this mountain of information with both technology and human know-how, then to convert this information into valuable knowledge in handling business uncertainty effectively and making continuous progress.

Effective decision making lifts opportunities toward success: Besides people, information is one of the most invaluable assets in the organization today. The amount of data to manage is huge and creates a lot of pressure. This requires an incredible ability to make data-based decisions and to respond to and anticipate. In practice, the ability of companies to consume and make sense of the information that is available and necessary to make good decisions is becoming a nearly insurmountable challenge.

The change will be the new normality, and the leaders must act with speed but quietly, he or she will need stability, confidence, and self-awareness. They should demonstrate emotional stability and technical competency, become aware of knowledge as assets and resources, to achieve behavioral strategies effectively and have a path of personal and professional improvement, a great preparation, vision, intuition, perseverance, and the ability to work hard for filling opportunity gaps and catalyzing business growth.

Being digital is the state of dynamism, continuum, and interaction. Perhaps by pursuing abundant opportunities via managing uncertainty well, we are shifting from the knowledge economy to the creative economy. Digital leaders and professionals are experimental to try new things, adventurous to explore the “art of possibility,” and cautious of potential risks. or collectively, at the organizational level, it’s important to increase learning plasticity, fill opportunity gaps, and adapt to changes smoothly.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

The Monthly Digital Principles/Practices Summary: Principles to Shape Digital View, Talent, and Business Aug. 2020

Forward-thinking leaders can follow system principles, shift their business perception from a linear system to an adaptive “purposeful” system with hyper-connected and interdependent nature.

A digital workplace is all about people-centricity, empathy, innovation, agility, and high-level business maturity. Digital organizations are always on, inter-dependent and hyper-connected, people are always the most important asset in any organization before, today, and future. 

In an ideal digital workplace, the organizational structure is solid enough to keep people or things in order; but fluid enough to keep information and ideas flow.


       Principles to Shape Digital View, Talent, and Business 

 

Principles to Shape Systematic Foresight The dynamic business environment is full of uncertainty, velocity, complexity, ambiguity, fierce competition, and continuous disruptions. Forward-thinking leaders can follow system principles, shift their business perception from a linear system to an adaptive “purposeful” system with hyper-connected and interdependent nature, understand business behavior from technical or mechanical to socio-technical, in order to make a smooth digital paradigm shift.

The Rules and Logic of Digital Enterprise The Digital era upon us is volatile, complex, uncertain, and ambiguous. It is important to make a set of rules and develop the best and next practices to adapt and drive seamless changes. Business rules describe the operations, definitions, and constraints that apply to an organization. They can apply to people, processes, corporate behavior, and computing systems in an organization, and they are put in place to help the organization shape a high-performance culture, encourage desired attitude and behaviors, and achieve its goals smoothly. There are different types of rule and the business logic should distinguish between:

Three Principles of Design-Driven Innovation Design thinking reflects the emergence of an accessible thought framework, a holistic, flexible, and creative way of setting goals and putting strategies into place to achieve genuine innovation. The strategic objective of design thinking is a people-centric and iterative process to truly understand what customers need, how to improve their experience, help the business orient itself towards those needs in order to achieve strategic business goals effortlessly. Here are three principles of managing design-driven innovation.

Three Principles to Practice Expertise Power Power has many different formats; some visible, some invisible; some are earned, some are given; some are delightful, some are intimidating. There are three powers either as visible or invisible hands in an organization: Structural power (the position with the organizational hierarchy), expert power (business and technical knowledge), and connection power. Due to the exponential growth of information and the shorten knowledge cycle, expert power is perhaps more powerful than other types of powers in the digital era because brainpower can stimulate all kinds of creativity; and the knowledge power is the key for any sort of human progress. Here are three digital principles to practice expert power effectively.

Follow “LESS is More” Principle to Drive Digital Transformation The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. It represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. It needs to take an overarching approach that has to dig underneath the surface of businesses for integrating both hard and soft critical business elements into differentiated organizational competency and follow the “Less is more” principle to improve, innovate, and harmonize for reaching the next level of organizational maturity.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with about #7000th blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The “Digital Master” book series includes 28 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to businesses and society. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation, and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

Vision vs. Insight

Vision inspires us to move forward; insight drives us to dig deeper.

Vision zooms into the future-
as if it were closer;
insight penetrates to-
gain an in-depth understanding of-
what's going on underneath.

Vision leads us to-
explore the future with-
expanded horizon.

Insight encourages us-
to ponder the deep meaning of the things,
they are the guide lights brighten the journey of our life.

Without vision, the trip is like -
spinning the wheel,
going nowhere;

Without insight, the tree is like-
without root,
cannot grow strong.


Vision inspires us to-
move forward;
insight drives us to -
dig deeper;
vision encourages us to-
look forward;
Insight inspires us to-
dive deeper.
Vision makes us feel-
passionate about -
what is going to happen -
opportunities.
Insight keeps us -
calm about the potential risks.


Vision is great work via-
both mind and heart orchestration.
Insight is an excellent job via-
the left brain and right brain
connection and collaboration.


The very essence of leadership is to-
point out the destination via vision;
craft a good strategy via insight,
to lead change with-
confidence and effectiveness.

Vision and insight help us-
understand the world further and deeper. 

Align IT GRC Framework with IT management to Improve Organizational Maturity

IT departments that have their own house in order, have absorbed compliance and operational risk management, and align IT GRC framework with IT management seamlessly can move on to greater, more strategic business needs.

Many IT organizations are at the crossroad to either become the business growth engine or turn to be irrelevant. In some circumstances, IT management seems to miss a relatively important measure of success or failure, the ability to be agile; the ability to meet the needs of the business, or the ability to delight end customers. 

Therefore, it’s important to take a holistic IT GRC approach that aligns the framework approach with tailored IT organization’s governance capability in order to unlock IT performance.


Identify IT pain points and assess the maturity of IT function: Organizations rely more and more on information technology; there are both hard barriers and soft cultural issues IT has to overcome in order to make a smooth digital transformation. IT has been traditionally treated as a cost center in large enterprises, which in turn fostered the defensive and sometimes adversarial attitudes in some IT people. There is a myriad of information, conflicts, and change inertia in modern businesses today, the major factor is lack of honesty about the realistic and reasonable plan that can be achieved without the worry of executives and others pulling the plug.

To improve IT organizational maturity, IT management should make an objective assessment of their organizational strength and weakness, identify IT pain points which have surfaced (Delayed Projects, Cost Overrun, No Innovation, No business involvement, Rogue IT – Every organization will have some quandaries with IT) IT organizational leaders need to check: If you redesigned the IT department, how is the structure of your IT department aligned with the organization? Does IT drive team building and organizational learning and change? Does governance focus on business effectiveness - doing the right thing first before doing things right? Etc. The best way to make IT more effective is not taking away their power or putting more boxes around it, but to integrate IT as part of the business, and unlock its performance.

Incorporate the Enterprise Risk Management output into IT strategic planning and implementation: IT governance evolves the leadership and organizational structures and processes that ensure the IT organization sustains and extends the enterprise strategies and objectives. In reality, very few organizations manage to incorporate the Enterprise Risk Management output into their planning and standard operating procedures. Absence of integration between the ERM process and the business planning processes, so much so that the two-run as parallel exercises; also, lack of integration between project and business risk management, thus, creating the silo effect, losing the benefit of cross-sharing and cost-saving, and impeding strategy alignment.

The governance is an organizational capability for risk mitigation, that’s why it has usually been put into the overarching GRC (Governance, Risk, Compliance) umbrella. GRC is not a single process, but a collection of processes with other governance mechanisms, such as roles and technologies. There are potentially multiple joint business/IT processes that could define the scope of IT Governance, Risk, and Compliance. High performance IT organizations align IT governance framework with IT planning and implementation. IT GRC enforcement makes complex things less complex. focus on IT service/solution delivery, cost optimization, availability of talents, scalability of operations, ensure people, processes, technologies, culture, etc, working in harmony, and drive IT-driven business initiatives to increase revenues.

Optimize ways of working, and decision-making approach in the organization: IT is often one of the biggest investments the business ever makes. IT management needs to understand the ways of working and operating style of the IT organization. Who holds the decision-making power, Is it with the CEO, Board, CFO, PE Investors, or someone else. Know what view each of the CXO roles has on organization priorities and the role they consider IT has in the organization. Sometimes the decision is managed as the end effect, not the beginning. At the other times, strategic decision-making lacks the updated information and much needed essential iterative process dynamics. Decision effectiveness relies on an agreed common approach, not a predetermined set of "one size fits all" planning. An effective IT governance framework helps to improve decision making effectiveness and organizational maturity.

IT maturity is proportional to overall business maturity. Excessive IT complexity limits innovation and enlarges gaps between IT and business. Senior executives and business managers should foster communication and have IT really understood their goals and plans for expanding the business, as well as their expectations of IT. By aligning a holistic IT governance approach, the systematic decision-making processes are not linear steps, but iterative continuum-including understanding the need, engaging key stakeholders, ensuring effective communication, assessing alternatives, developing consensus, planning, executing, and following up.

With fierce competition and rapid changes, digital IT is a paradigm shift in role, responsibility, attitude, and aptitude, and has to meet the needs of the business timely. IT has evolved significantly in running businesses today, not simply as a tool or mechanism to support business goals, but a digital catalyst to achieve strategic business goals. IT departments that have their own house in order and have absorbed compliance and operational risk management and align IT GRC framework with IT management seamlessly can move on to greater, more strategic business needs, accelerate performance and improve the overall organizational maturity.





Friday, August 28, 2020

The Monthly “Performance Master” Summary: Critical Thinking and Performance Management Aug. 2020

Critical Thinking is crucial because there are blind spots in performance management which are perhaps inevitable and various pitfalls on the way. 

Corporate Performance Management is a management control from strategy to the shop floor. "If you can't measure, you can't manage," legendary management guru Peter Drucker once asserted. Managing performance means understanding results, setting metrics, fixing plans, and making decisions to ensure it happens. 

It takes multifaceted approaches from multidimensional perspectives to unlock digital performance and catalyze change.



  

      Critical Thinking and Performance Management



Critical Thinking & Performance Management
Performance Management is not about managing numbers, but telling an information-enriched story. Performance management is not an isolated management discipline, but a holistic approach with a well set of methodologies and practices via connecting multidisciplinary management dots to make progressive changes. Critical Thinking is crucial because there are blind spots in performance management which are perhaps inevitable, the point is how business leaders or professionals learn to deal with them and close them seamlessly. First, you need to consider why you need to do performance management. Then, how to do it in the right way.

The Performance Measurement Blind Spots You can only manage what you measure. Effective performance measures help the management do value justification in a language the organization understands for making wise investments. It is very hard to measure performance objectively and meaningfully. Often the more meaningful and important thing you want to assess, the harder it is to measure objectively. Here are some causes of blind spots in performance measurement.

A Set of Blind Spots in Performance Management? Performance Management System (PMS) is a working tool that improves performance or productivity within an organization. Often strategy management and performance management go hand in hand. There is a danger of not having a dynamic process to "develop, nurture, and measure" business performance. Business management should make an objective assessment by asking: Can you select the right metrics and measure them right? Can you always dig through the root cause when the result does not meet expectations? Either making a measurement or evaluating results, can you dispassionately analyze the situation to close blindspot smoothly?

The Pitfalls of Performance Measurement The purpose of managing performance is about setting performance metrics to evaluate the status of strategy management, making objective assessments of business results, and understanding performance measurement contextually. However, measuring business performance is both art and science. In well-established organizations across the vertical sectors, there are complex business rules, policies, processes, and performance systems that govern how people operate. The more meaningful and important things you want to assess, the harder it can be measured. Here are the “seven sins of performance measurement.”

CIOs as “Chief Improvement Officer”: How to Avoid Three Measurement Pitfalls? A performance measurement system is a necessary foundation for continuous improvement. It defines how you will measure success in meeting the business's purpose and vision. Metrics help stakeholders understand what is going on. Without measurements, it can be hard to tell whether attempted improvements make the situation better or worse. There are both promises and perils about metrics. Metrics provide feedback and metrics are part of transparent visual management allowing pulling. But there are also pitfalls that need to be avoided in order to improve business performance and make continuous improvement.

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with about #7000 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.



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The "Performance Master" Book Introduction Slideshare

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The "Performance Master" Book Introduction

The "Performance Master" Book Chapter 1 Introduction

The "Performance Master" Book Chapter 2 Introduction

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The "Performance Master" Book Chapter 4 Introduction

The "Performance Master" Book Chapter 5 Introduction

The "Performance Master" Book Conclusion

The "Performance Master" Quote Collection I

The "Performance Master" Quote Collection II

The "Performance Master" Quote Collection III

Understanding is an “Amazing Thing”

 


Understanding is based on knowledge,

but deeper than knowledge.

Two seemingly opposite words -

"Under and Stand,"

articulate the multifaceted meaning of

“understanding.” 

 


True understanding is-

a “magic thing”;


it can transform -

tears to laughing;

hatred to love;

false to truth;

darkness to brightness;

raining day to sunshine;

Black & white to

the full spectrum of color;

understanding is a phenomenon.


Like drinking-

a cup of hot coffee or tea,

in the winter evening,

understanding warms up-

our heart;

Like the hot wire or silver-lining,

mutual understanding

connects mind to mind.

Understanding is-

an amazing thing.


True understanding is-

a tough journey;


you have to -

climb to the mountain top,

to capture “big picture”;

dive into the deep sea,

to touch invisible;

understanding is-

a challenging thing.


People take the easy path,

think and work -

at a superficial level

rather than spend the time to-

understand -

what is going on

underneath.

Lack of true understanding is-

lack of depth of life.

Understanding is a deep thing.


The insight of situation requires-

in-depth understanding.


Assumptions and prejudices are-

due to a lack of-

deeper understanding.

Examine to make sure-

you are open to-

true understanding,

without getting lost-

in interpretation.

From sympathy to empathy,

understanding is -

a logical thing.


Misunderstanding is-

the big cause of -

human problems.


Lack of understanding

leads to-

“fixing symptoms,

not the root cause” syndrome.

Cognitive mind is-

the willingness to -

seek out knowledge,

gain -

an in-depth understanding;

address-

ignorance and assumptions-

to minimize it.

Understanding is a cognitive thing.


How deep your understanding is-

based on logic,

philosophy,

paradoxical wisdom-

you leverage to convey.

Understanding is-

a hard thing.


Knowledge and understanding lead us to-

divine, beauty, truth;


understanding of the process of living.

An understandable mind is

a step closer to innovation,

two inches deeper to wisdom.

Understanding is an amazing thing.

Improve Organizational Manageability via Deepening Systems Understanding

The digital organizations are not the "closed system" but the dynamic digital ecosystem which is complex, interrelated, and interconnected, full of opportunities and risks. 


Digital organizations are the hyper-connected and interdependent complex dynamics of the ecosystem within which the business is competing and with which the business is unavoidably entangled. They could be disrupted by emerging trends or disturbed by nonlinear events. 

Thus, it’s important to leverage systems wisdom to deepen understanding of interfaces and interactions associated with complex businesses and engenders new perspectives or actions as part of the process of creating a cross-disciplined management approach to build dynamic business competency.


It is gaining the knowledge necessary to understand and manage a complex business system: The business ecosystem is complex and the organization is hyperconnected, nonlinear, and contextual. Think of digital businesses as nodes along a timeline, a change in each node will have some effects internally on that node but also with other nodes along with the same and even other timelines. In some cases, a small effect in one place can cause a cascade of events that produce unproportional impact. Therefore, business management needs to gain a systematic understanding of both visible and invisible success factors, apply system lens and interdisciplinary approach to planning, collect, process, and refine real-time information to gain business insight, fine-tune underlying business structures and systems, enforce inter-organizational linkage, and take step-wise actions to achieve expected business results.

Organizations generally consist of varying intersecting and interacting systems that can be perceived through the lenses of sociology, psychology, technology, anthropology, and economics, etc. Thus, it’s important to leverage System principles to understand the interconnectivity and do an in-depth cause-effect analysis. Without an in-depth knowledge of business context and the contextual understanding of people, processes, and technology at the system level, the blind spots and gaps are inevitable.

It is to understand how people factor affects the business system: The digital era upon us is about people. It’s important to understand the organization as a complex system and the people of the complex system. It is about applying a system's lens to understand how the people factor affects the business system, and then, manage the complex system and the people of the complex system as the organic living thing. In fact, people are the center of the interwoven business ecosystem within which there are multi-layer and multi-dimensional relationships such as cross-functional relationships, vendor relationships, customer relationships, and other important shareholder relationships, etc, and there is multidimensional shareholders’ value the business management needs to achieve for reaching the next level of organizational maturity.

The arising new paradigm is all about people-centricity. Digital adaptation is faster if made with the full involvement of people by breaking down silos and overcoming barriers such as outdated processes, procedures, practices, etc. From the people management perspective, shaping the digital business is all about framing a structure that encourages growth mindset, cross-functional communication, and collaboration; continually delivers what the business needs and takes further steps to maximize business potential. Digital leaders should empower people with effective tools, motivate people to explore growth opportunities but understand the learning curve, seek additional knowledge and experience, develop problem-solving competency, and truly make change happen and sustain.

It is to understand business as a living system with a set of interdisciplinary “best & next” practices: Fundamentally, the purpose of Systems Thinking is to solve problems and create desirable futures. With unprecedented uncertainty, the management needs to dig through: Is the “unknown” factor not identified with the scope of the business planning or is it caused by “unknowable” - beyond the knowledge and understanding of management. Every organization needs to develop tailored practices via leveraging effective system tools or methodologies and use them wisely with the expertise to really add value or manage “VUCA” new normal smoothly.

A shift from what a system is to what it does to its context is truly about applying system principles to develop a set of interdisciplinary best and next practices with a combination of people and how they are used to doing things for either framing the right problem or solving it effectively. From a Change Management perspective, the real challenge is to understand where and how you can and should improve to get the biggest effect, focus on managing a portfolio of relevant cross-border strategic synergies, and scale-up across the digital ecosystem.

The digital organizations are not the "closed system" but the dynamic digital ecosystem which is complex, interrelated, and interconnected, full of opportunities and risks. The business management style should shift from the ” hard force” driven, and out-of-date disjointed top-down management paradigms to a large dash of “freedom to manage,” with fluid and proactive style having some “soft touch.” So collaboratively, they can improve organizational manageability and drive transformative change smoothly.






Thursday, August 27, 2020

Insight of the Week 8/21-8/28 “Future of CIO” Aug. 2020

 Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating, and sharing.


The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with 7000+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc.

The “Digital Master” book series includes 28 books to share insight from the multidimensional digital lens and perceive the multi-faceted impact the digital era upon us is making to businesses and society. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Here is the weekly insight of digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.







Learning Agility We live in a knowledge economy, today’s digital professionals are knowledge workers who are open to learning and sharing insight and creating new knowledge all the time. You simply can't resolve the 21st-century problems with the mindsets shaped half-century ago. Continuous learning is not only a job requirement but also a great habit to keep our minds fresh and knowledge updated. Learning agility is a person's ability to learn quickly, and adapt prior knowledge to new experiences, build professional competency, and solve complex problems smoothly. Here are three aspects to develop learning agility.

The Ultra-Modern BoDs Set Culture “Pathways” to Transformative Changes It is a continuously changing world, and no organization can afford to stick to its old ways of doing things. Strategy guides change and culture is the pathway for change. BoDs as focused, clear-headed realists will need to take a few steps back trying to get the real picture of what happened, what are barriers to strategy execution, and how can they fine-tune and align the organization’s policy, procedure, and communication to build “digital-ready” cultures, support digital paradigm shift.

The Monthly “Decision Master” Book Tuning: Understand Thin Lines to Step into “VUCA” New Normal Aug. 2020 Decision Masters” refer to the digital leaders or professionals who can leverage multidimensional thought processes, information and intuition, and take a step-wise scenario for making effective decisions consistently. Decision Masters also refer to the businesses or organizations that follow a set of well-defined principles, leverage fine-tuned decision processes, efficient information management system, decision frameworks, tools, and metrics to enable people across the organization making effective decisions collaboratively.

Apply Competency Framework to Improve People Management Effectiveness A high mature digital organization is usually outward-looking rather than insular, people-centric, rather than process-driven. A competency framework incorporates multiple and diverse components, provides guidelines, checklists, standards, platforms, processes, tools, and building blocks, to define and develop talent competencies, improve people management effectiveness and unleash collective potential.

The Monthly Insight of Information Management: Raise “Digital IQ” of Organizations Aug. 2020
Management has often been described as getting the right information to the right person, in the right format and medium, at the right time, in order to make the right decisions. The value of information is qualitative, measurable, and defined uniquely by an organization. In fact, Information Technology is the nerve system of contemporary companies and directly decides the "Digital IQ" of the organization.

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking about the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

“Group” Quotes of “Digital Master” Aug. 2020

 In an Abilene paradox, a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many or all of the individuals in the group. 

"Digital Master” is a series of guidebooks (28 + books) to perceive the multi-faceted impact digital is making to the businesses and society, help forward-thinking organizations navigate through the journey in a systematic way, and avoid “rogue digital.” It perceives the emergent trends of digital leadership, provides advice on how to run a digital organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide insight about Change Management. It also instructs the digital workforce on how to shape a game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future. Here is a set of “Group” quotes in “Digital Master.”


1 Group thinking is often caused by the homogeneous team setting or lack of innovative culture.

2 As leaders, we facilitate eliciting the views if they don't think of them on their own. Some people contribute better one on one, and others can handle group debate effectively.

3 In an Abilene paradox, a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many or all of the individuals in the group.

4 Why is it human nature to go along with what we believe the rest of the group wants to do without taking the time to actually check out if we are all taking a trip to Abilene?

5 Some people contribute better one on one, and others are better at group work effectively.

6 You'd think that a group would tend to democratize the diversified viewpoint and to moderate individual points of view. From the variety of industry studies, group polarization means that a group of people can make a more extreme decision than an individual.

7  Everything has two sides, though the good intention of such group thinking is to avoid conflict and be compliant to the team or business leadership.

Organizational Structure Design and Innovation

The organization design enforces self-adaptation, self-management, and self-renewal.


Digital organizations are all about information savvy, people-centricity, high-performance, and speed, with an amalgam of socio-systems, techno-systems, bio-systems, and Econo-systems, etc. Corporate structure and its impact on business efficiency, agility, and innovation could play either a positive or negative impact. 

To make a seamless digital paradigm shift, organizations today cannot be organized only using the mechanistic paradigm that resulted in bureaucracies. Fine-tuning underlying business structure and processes is a critical step and continuous effort for improving digital business fluidity, flexibility, and overall digital fit.



The goal for optimizing organizational structure design and innovation is to streamline business flow and get the mass collaboration effortlessly: In a world that has been transformed by information technology, many old and powerful hierarchies became ‘commoditized.’ With unprecedented uncertainty and interdependence, digital companies are inherently and intensely complex and unpredictable systems. It’s important to break down silos, flex the organizational structure, keep information and ideas flow frictionlessly. The emergent digital platforms and collaboration tools enable cross-functional communication and collaboration, shape the “hybrid structures” with a good mix of formal structure and informal structure in order to enforce business alignment, integration, and innovation.

In fact, overly restricted organizational hierarchy encourages the “command & control” management style, decelerates business speed. Forward-looking organizations experiment with different types of organizational structures, and harmony, so the multi-disciplinary and cross-functional teams are able to handle all value-adding steps in the whole flow of work, co-develop solutions to complex problems and build a unique set of business capabilities cost-effectively. Limited hierarchy with some “unstructured processes” as the digital normality works best to build a creative environment in which idea generation and implementation are the key elements of long term business prosperity.

The goal of digital organizational structure design is to strike the delicate balance between solid and fluidity, control, and autonomy: Consider nature as self-organized, self-adaptive, but interlaced environments. Digital organizations like organic living systems encourage autonomy and enforce trustful relationships. Building a certain level of “control” and centralization help to improve business efficiency and achieve coordination toward the strategic goals or the large-scale of change; but enough autonomy or decentralization to keep all business subsystems functioning, flourishing, and self-organizing

Both official structures and unofficial structures co-exist antagonistically or harmoniously, the business relationships and connections wrap around to ensure communication fluency, accountability, functional alignment, and integration. The organizational structure design is the vehicle through which the business strategy is executed and expected performance is achieved. Identify either communication bottleneck, performance barriers, or culture friction, etc, to improve overall business changeability, maturity, and unleash its full potential.

The goal of digital organizational structure tuning is to enforce people-centricity: Digital organizations are ever-evolving, empower their employees to discover their talent and build their professional skills; engage their customers, partners in continuous conversations to come up with innovative solutions. Their organizational design shifts from inside-out process-driven to outside in people-centric. The digital ecosystem is adaptively rational, it has to strike the balance of “keeping the order,” and sparking innovation smoothly.

The challenge for any business is to find a successful structure that delivers what the customer wants cost-effectively, improves employee productivity, innovativeness, define your circles, roles, and authority through the members of your organization. It helps to empower people and provides a sufficient return to shareholders. Technically, the design of a digital organization needs to integrate the organizational design into business process design and organizational re-engineering activities to enable employees to do their work productively and shape a people-centric organization in a structural way.

The organization design enforces self-adaptation, self-management, and self-renewal. Digital enterprises ameliorate multiple effects and shape business structures, cultures, and systems continuously. Organizational structure design and innovation are a cohesive step in catalyzing changes and building core business competency to achieve a high level of autonomy as the symbol of digital maturity.








Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Monthly CIO Debates Collection & “Digital IT” Book Tuning: Navigate IT Transformation via “5W+1H” Inquiries Aug. 2020

Debating is not for stimulating conflicts, but for brainstorming better ways to do things.

Due to the changing nature of technology, IT leadership roles also continue to involve & shift the focus, to move up the maturity level. More and more CIOs are requested to take more responsibility and many CIOs present the breadth of leadership competency. 

The proactive IT debates help IT leaders to brainstorm better ways to do things and improve management capabilities. Here are the monthly CIO debates collections about envisioning digital IT leadership and running high-performance digital IT organizations.


  Navigate IT Transformation via “5W+1H” Inquiries



Why Is so Hard for Running IT “Out of the Comfort Zone”? Technology is pervasive, information is growing exponentially. Business transformation or change initiatives today nearly always involves some form of information and technology. All forward-thinking organizations across the industries claim they are in the information management business. To adapt to the increasing speed of changes, organizations have to be more nimble about updating technology and managing information effectively. Hence, IT organizations today can no longer get stuck at the lower level of maturity to keep the lights on only or get struggling to make an alignment with the business. Digital IT organizations must get “out of the comfort zone,” to explore better ways of running IT as a trusted business partner, proactive change agent, and hyper-connected innovation hub. "Continual improvement" is the IT mantra in the digital era.

When to Make a Big Jump, When to Take Small Steps? Due to the “VUCA” new normal of the digital age, either at the individual or organizational level, “Changeability” becomes an important measure to assess a person or a business’s potential, agility, and maturity. Unfortunately, change is not as easy as it sounds, more than two-thirds of business change initiatives fail to reach the expectation. Change Management in many organizations seems to be at the crossroad- Should you take an audacious approach of accelerating digital transformation, or take small steps for making incremental changes? What are the bottlenecks for changes, and how to avoid pitfalls in making a big leap?

What are Tactics and Methodologies in Developing IT and Business Relationship? Statistically, only less than 5% of IT can communicate with business partners seamlessly and build IT reputation as a game changer; while more than half of IT organizations still get stuck on the bottom level of maturity, functioning as an isolated support center or service provider due to ineffective communication. Both the senior leadership team and CIOs are clear in what needs to achieve in terms of the top line, bottom line and working in tandem with other departments to achieve the IT goal. So what are the tactics and methodologies in developing IT and business partner relationship via effective communication?

The Two Sides of IT: Which Side is More Important? The forward-looking IT organizations are on the journey of digital transformation. The challenge is having a harmonized vision about overall IT capabilities and maturities, and which role IT should, or can play in the digital organization. There are the front end and back end of the IT department. The front end of IT is value-added, to drive the business’s digital transformation, and the back end of the IT is fundamental, operational driven and keep the lights on. From IT management and digital transformation perspective, how to run two sides of IT smoothly, via setting the right principles and developing the next practices?

How to Gauge the Success of IT Digital Transformation As businesses embark on the “Digital Era” of computing and managing, digital has become ’normality,’ and almost everyone now feels at ease with digital technology, but also feels a bit overwhelmed about the exponential growth of information. As the steward of information and technology in the organization, IT is always in the changing environment creating unexpected situations and requiring quick and appropriate responses based on the conditions. So how to shift IT from the reactive support function to a proactive digital engine of the company? And How to gauge the success of IT digital transformation?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 3 million page views with 7000+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.


The Ultra-Modern BoDs Set Culture “Pathways” to Transformative Changes

 Culture change is possible but difficult, and it is a slow and complicated process. But it’s a pathway to transformative change and unlock business potential. 

It is a continuously changing world, and no organization can afford to stick to its old ways of doing things. Strategy guides change and culture is the pathway for change. BoDs as focused, clear-headed realists will need to take a few steps back trying to get the real picture of what happened, what are barriers to strategy execution, and how can they fine-tune and align the organization’s policy, procedure, and communication to build “digital-ready” cultures, support digital paradigm shift. 

Here is a set of inquiries that helps BoDs to clear their vision and drive transformative change seamlessly.


Is desired culture propagated intentionally by management: Every organization has a story: a set of beliefs, values, myths, history, and judgments about the internal workplace and the external environment around them. In the globalized business environment, very often people of various nations or cultures are in various facets/functions. Senior leadership teams such as BoDs need to make an objective assessment of their organizational culture maturity, and enthusiastically advocate a set of cohesive digital cultures such as solution driven culture, culture of accountability, culture of innovation, culture of learning, etc, as culture is a foundation to implement strategy effectively.

Corporate culture is the way we think and do things around the organization. Some insightful questions for BoDs to ask the leadership team during strategy development include: Is it the culture that can fulfill the business vision and accelerate strategy execution today? Or put simply, is it still helping the company grow and transform? Which core values you need to promote to propel the organization forward in line with the strategic ambitions? Are they different from today and if so what needs to change? What are the beliefs and unspoken rules that everybody in the company knows and shares? How does it drive organizational behaviors? Aligning a workforce toward intentional cultural shifts can be quite complex, understand the culture and its essential first.Just like changing personality, culture change is possible but difficult, and it is a slow and complicated process. But it’s a pathway to change and unlock business potential.

How in reality the organization behaves and acts and which to a varying degree can deviate from desired culture? Although a company may have its "own unique culture," there can be diverse and sometimes conflicting cultures that coexist due to sub divisional culture and different characteristics of the management team. The organizational culture may also have negative and positive aspects that can affect employees' own perceptions and identification with the organizational culture. Thus, those that have the most effective organizational culture are where the senior team really lives the vision, values, and ethos of the organization - and don't just pay lip-service to it. 

The “spirit” of the organization comes from the top. At the board level, in order to cultivate a solution-focused digital culture, assess where the organization is regarding the impending change, the discrepancy between current culture and the desired culture, are there incoherent conflicts, dissonance and downfalls. Does the organizations really encourage employees to step up and propose bold transformational change initiatives and then ask management to follow through? Does their company truly embrace openness, transparency, collaboration, empowerment, respect for the value of people and adding value to the enterprises, etc. How to set a realistic timeline and some measurable outcomes for “hardening the soft”- culture change, and ultimately unlocking business performance.

How does policy affect organizational culture? Organizations need to do what their policies say or have the policies say what they do. The Corporate Board sets the tone for making good policies. In fact, culture is the policy. We have to shift gears and mindsets to see the culture of an organization as a collective whole living breathing thing, a human organic system composed of uniquely diverse people who have much to offer to grow and develop the culture. If not, then the policy is more than likely not needed. Culture is invisible, but tough. Avoid the pitfalls such as misleading simplistic views of corporate culture or the misinformation that the problems of the organization are. 

Often the "soft" culture is much more complex than the hard processes or technology, as problems with culture are driven by many elements than things floating on the surface. Focus on digging into the root cause and pay more attention to culture residue, not to waste energy on the wrong things that are contaminating and polluting the true culture. Applying the framework to the specific organizational culture requires leadership, trust, time and process, etc, to improve overall organizational maturity.  

Culture is like the “glue” that holds and binds an organization together. Actual culture is a function of leadership, starting at the top. The commitment is that we are all in this together and have our passions focused on a goal with a cohesive leadership to build a high performance culture. Leaders who work with transformational principles can develop an organizational culture that is synergistic and highly productive. From boardroom to coffee room, in order to move up to the next level of organizational maturity, the culture needs to be changed as well to adapt to the emerging digital trend and pulling strategy execution towards the right decision.