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.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Monthly “Dot Connections” Connecting Dots for Catalyzing Innovation May 2018

Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, and creativity is all about connecting the dots.

The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation via connecting dots and spreading the knowledge.

Connecting Dots for Catalyzing Innovation


Systems Thinking vs. Creativity? The purpose of Systems Thinking is to solve problems and creating desirable futures. The goal of creativity is to connect the dots for generating naval ideas. So many people do not know how to connect the dots within complex systems, nor think inclusively or holistically, nor comprehend dynamics, induction or deduction, nor understand expensive variables, interfaces, and interactions. Here is the dot connection between creativity and Systems Thinking.

Systems Thinking vs. Inclusiveness Systems Thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes and understanding the relationship between the parts and the whole. The relationship is everything. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than isolated things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static “snapshots,” to perceive diversity in unity. In management practice, Systems Thinking advocates inclusiveness; and inclusiveness enforces Systems Thinking.

Self vs. Creativity: True creativity has an inner origin and “self” driven. It keeps surfacing from within and keeps expressing and flowing. It simply a thought process to generate novel ideas. The interaction between what is within us (the Self), and how we project to the exterior world is the bridge to spark creativity and achieve the wholeness. The constant negotiation between our essence and our projection is what leads to growth, innovativeness, and human evolution.

Intuition vs. Creativity The word intuition comes from Latin verb intueri which is usually translated as to look inside or to contemplate. According to the online dictionary, it is "the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning."Creativity is a person’s innate ability to create novel ideas. Creativity is as much defined by the problem as by the capacity of the individual to connect things to resolve that problem in new and sometimes unexpected ways. What are the further correlations between creativity and intuition?

Innovation vs. Rules: Innovation is to transform novel ideas and achieve its business value. Innovation is doing something better than it currently is. Hence, it requires a sound and competent understanding of what is currently being done. Innovation is not serendipity, it's a mindset, a process, and the strategic business capability nowadays. From innovation management perspective, should innovators break rules, or does innovation need rules, and how to improve manage innovation effortlessly and improve its success rate?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #4600th 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 and innovating 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.

CIOs as the “Change Agent”: Three “Never” Practices to Manage Change Seamlessly

It is nevertheless true that the change itself has become unpredictable and evolutionary, as compared to treading through carefully. 

Change is a volatile subject, just like change itself. Compared to the business world decades ago, information is growing exponentially, the digital ecosystem has also become more complex and dynamic. Everything changes continuously by following the laws of evolution, and the rate of change is accelerated. to put simply, change itself changes. Therefore, senior leaders like CIOs need to gain an in-depth understanding of changes, especially at the strategic level, also help to make change principles and develop a set of best & next practices to lead changes seamlessly.

NEVER ASSUME you know what the problem is: Most large-scale plans fail because the planners do not envision the problems. Many organizations spend significant time on fixing symptoms which results from the actual cause of the problem, rather than digging into root causes so the real problems will continue coming back. Change is happening all the time, the management just has to acknowledge and appreciate that. What matters most is going to identify the root cause of the problem either by asking big why or reframing the question for gaining in-depth understanding. “Do I really understand the problem?” - it’s the question every change leader should ask himself/herself. There is no need to look at it in a reactive mode as a “problem” but it would be desirable to look at it proactively and have a “policy,” to catalyze changes. Otherwise, fixing the wrong problems will waste time & resources, increase anxiety, and allow problems to grow under the surface, out of sight, out of mind until it’s too late. Change is never for its own sake, solving problems large or small is the very reason to change. It is important to build the culture of learning, change, and “problem-solving.” Constantly learn, educate, share, and the challenge for leaders is to motivate others to be real problem solvers by first understanding what is the real problem and then solve it smoothly.

Never UNDERESTIMATE sponsorship from the top and the buy-in from shareholders: Change is supposed to happen. Change is not always delightful. Resistance is supposed to happen. Change cannot be fully managed or controlled top down, it has to be proactively made bottom up. However, many senior leaders don't understand what their role is, don't want to discuss publicly due to the criticism they will get. Or leaders do support the change but radically under-estimate the importance of their active and visible support for the change. The executive feels compelled to stop asking legitimate questions about the approach and the process ends up with groupthink. Stakeholder involvement and engagement nearly always make these difficult paths easier to tread. It is important that attention is paid to the intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects of dealing with change. Stakeholder involvement has positive implications at each stage of the change journey. The dividends for early involvement and continues engagement during the change journey payback hugely during the organizational impact stage. The more stakeholders can impact a change capable of seriously affecting their lives, the better chance the change will achieve or exceed the target.

NEVER THINK there is a short list of solutions you can pick from: A solution should match a problem and with that in mind, the one thing change would be to have a phrase at the heart of everything the organization does. What needs to worry is the danger of a company adopting a couple of simple rules to fix some poor behaviors without doing the difficult work to change the mentality. Real change and creativity are deprogramming old mindsets, letting go of "the voices from the past," reprogramming their minds with new norms and attitudes; establishing a new blueprint for how we want to create our future reality. Digital is about options. A change manager needs to assess and evaluate every specific scenario to create the change program success. Co-create alternative visions and dream into existence of new solutions, these are the capacities of humans who are not trapped in 'the same level of thinking.' Ultimately, the success of the change program is measured by results that are important values to the organization, and the cultural adoption of these goals is part of that measure.

It is nevertheless true that the change itself has become unpredictable and evolutionary, as compared to treading through carefully. Change is not just a few random business initiatives, it needs to institutionalize these changes into the company’s cultural DNA. The change principle is still: Fix the right problems and fix them right.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Monthly CIO Debates Collection & “Digital IT” Tuning: How to Run IT with Differentiated Competency May 2018

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

Due to the changing nature of technology, IT leadership role also continues 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.

IT Personalization: How to Run Digital IT with Differentiated Advantage IT is always at the center of change. The emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern at exponential speed, as the pervasiveness of an organization’s digitization journey increases. IT can no longer just “keep the lights on,” IT leaders need to think strategically and creatively about alternative solutions and ask themselves tough questions about how to personalize IT to gain differentiated business competency.

Can CIOs Wear the New Thinking Hat to Run IT as the Business? Information is now permeating into every corner in the business, and technology is often the disruptive force of digitalization. The general expectation from IT has changed. Not only are they being seen as an enabler, they are now mandatorily required to give ROI for the investments. Forward-looking organizations also empower their CIOs to lead change and catalyze innovation. The CIO's leadership penetration is about the depth of leadership insight and the breadth of enterprise knowledge upon understanding business as a whole. CIOs need to update both their mindsets as well as leadership responsibilities to run IT as the business.

CIOs as “Chief Initiative Officer”: How to Take Initiatives on Change, Innovation, and Digital Transformation? The magic “I” in the CIO’s titles implies so many things: “Chief Information Officer,” “Chief Innovation Officer,” “Chief Improvement Officer,” “Chief Influence Officer,” "Chief Insight Officer," etc. In practice, the CIO role should transform from a reactive IT manager to a proactive digital leader; from a controller to a change agent Thus, the CIO as “Chief Initiative Officer” has become necessary or even imperative to manage strategic digital alignment and orchestration from concept to post-implementation of all initiatives from the C-level to the front lines, focus on changes and innovation. CIOs are also quite eager and enthusiastic to drive challenging transformation initiatives, to reinvent IT as the information hub and the business growth engine.

Are you Running IT Organization as a “Magic” or a Trendsetter? IT plays a critical role in modern businesses today, however, most business leaders and professionals lack the in-depth understanding of IT organizations, often time, the “magic” thinking of IT is one of the root causes to divide business and IT and create gaps for the digital transformation. In practice, digital IT organization needs to become an integral part of the high mature digital company, to gain competitive advantage or differentiated capability for the business’s growth. To improve IT maturity, CIOs should ask themselves: Are you running IT organization as a “Magic,” or a “trendsetter”?

How can CIOs Shift their Focus to Avoid Becoming “Chief Irrelevant Officer More often than not, technology is the catalyst for driving business change and digital transformation, information is the lifeblood of the business. The expectations for CIO have grown multi-fold, and they are expected to be visionary and path-finder for organizational strategy and growth. How should CIO shift their focus to improve leadership effectiveness and how can CIOs prioritize the limited time and resources to ascend IT maturity?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with 4600+ 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 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.

The Popular Quotes of “Digital Master” Book Series V

"Digital Master” is the series of guidebooks (23+ 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, advises on how to run a digital IT organization to unleash its full potential and improve agility, maturity, and provide the insight about Change Management. It also instructs digital workforce on how to shape game-changing digital mindset and build the right set of digital capabilities to compete for the future.

58 Digital synchronization occurs when all parts of the choir sing their respective parts in harmony.

59 Hire mindset, build capability, and harness creativity.

60 Digital is the age of customer empathy.

61 Digital balance harmonizes the hybrid nature of digitalization.

62 Digital is about flow.

63 Digital resilience can be achieved via risk intelligence.

64 High mature digital organizations stretch out in every business dimension.

65 The term “innovation process” implies ness to innovative ideas.

66 Learning becomes the life habit for digital talent, as well as culture style for the digital businesses.

67 Innovation is about reducing the unnecessary complexity.

68 Increasingly, enterprises find themselves enmeshed in digital “eco-systems.”

Digital Master refers to those high-performing, highly innovative and high-mature (less than 15%) digital organizations; they have both clear digital vision and well-crafted digital strategy; they are courageous to be in the vanguard of digital transformation with a quantum lead. But they also proactively develop more advanced and unique digital capabilities step-by-step and build a digital premium into their very foundation of business, such as digital thinking, culture, agility, intelligence, and structure, and they achieve high performing results through strong digital governance discipline and reach its zenith as the digital world continues to expand and diversify. At the individual level, Digital Masters are those cross-generational digital professionals who are equipped with the advanced digital minds and build a unique set of digital capabilities, climb to the top of Maslow’s Pyramid 2.0.


Digital is the Era of ...

Human society is at a turning point that requires a significant adjustment in our evolutionary path rooted at the mindset level, either for driving changes or problem-solving.

We are at the dawn of the digital era. The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses. A digital paradigm is an emerging ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set limits or boundaries; but also offer the guidance for problem-solving or creating something new from old. The emerging digital era has many dimensions, how can you gain the deep understanding and embark a meaningful digital journey?

Digital is the era of cognition:
Human society is at a turning point that requires a significant adjustment in our evolutionary path rooted at the mindset level, either for driving changes or problem-solving. Due to the scarcity of information and static setting in the industrial age, many people are used to living in the familiar territory with a static mindset based on a very limited thinking box they shape quite a long time ago, the content in that little thinking box can easily get stale and out of touch. Digital means the abundance of information, fast-paced changes, and continuous disruptions, growth mindset and cognitive intelligence are in demand for adapting to changes, riding learning curves to make the progressive movement. The thoughts piled with the thoughts build into a cognitive mind. Cognition is a faculty for processing of information, acquiring knowledge through thoughts, experiences, senses, and changing preferences. These processes are analyzed from different perspectives within different contexts. With the exponential growth of information in the digital era, the most important capability of cognitive mind is the willingness and ability to seek out updated knowledge, address ignorance and assumptions, and make a discernment based on in-depth understanding. Great things and progress don’t happen inside your comfort zone or in a box which is associated with conventional wisdom. The deep problem that reveals is to understand what are the evolutionary pathways implied by the digital mind shift (from static mind to growth mind, from mechanical thinking to holistic thinking, from silo thinking to holistic thinking, etc.) and how we can leverage different thought processes to solve complex problems facing us today effectively. It’s important to look at wider aspect around any problem space, also dig deeper to understand the effect of imposing boundaries within that space in order to overcome the challenges. The research of human development would suggest that there are many processes which play a causal role in helping people shape a cognitive mind that can operate at higher levels of complexity. Harnessing the different experiences, perspectives and ideas of people have enormous potential to move to the digital era of cognition steadily, as cognitive difference nurtures creativity and catalyze innovation.

Digital is the era of people centricity:
Hyper-connectivity enhances people-centricity. One of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to the digital new normal is how well it can delight customers and the digital maturity of its people. A business organization can only achieve high performance by taking the collaboration road to manage the seamless execution. People have to be ready for moving to a fluid structure, hyper-connected digital platform, the dynamic business state and get used to the complex digital ecosystem. To put simply, it’s about creating the people-centric business harmony; creating a business context where people can communicate and collaborate where they are empowered and respected. Many well-established organizations which used to live in the silos must learn how to become more considerate in order to build the people-centric and sustainable business by getting the fundamental right. Logically, an organization can approach the flow zone when the positions in its hierarchy have clear, accountable tasks. Technically, organizational design (structure, which includes policy) must be adaptable, take advantage of the latest digital technology platforms & tools, and provide the space for people to develop their capabilities, exercise their creativity, and unleash collective potential.

Digital is the era of innovation: Digital innovation has a broader spectrum and hybrid nature. A leading digital organization with innovation fluency can handle innovation streams for different goals, different time frames and manage a balanced portfolio including both radical innovation and incremental innovation, hard innovation and soft innovation. Creativity in the "corporate" world has a lot to do with fostering a creative environment. Innovation will happen when people are given free space to be creative without overly rigid structures to holding them back. There are people who can generate lots of original ideas, and it's equally important to have people who can evaluate and implement these ideas! The ideal innovation management system is to tap into everyone's skills and talents, without the typical impediments to cooperation, for keeping ideas flow, and thus, digital flow. Innovation can happen anywhere in the organization and its ecosystem, as well as deep context; but more often, digital innovation happens at the intersection of people and technology. Digital is the era of innovation, the business management must learn how to deal with pairs of duel forces to strike the right balance, such as innovation vs. efficiency; innovation vs. standardization; innovation vs. discipline. The best point of view is to see innovation as a system, and capable of delivering the organization-wide business competency.

The unprecedented digital convenience brought by powerful technologies changes the way we think, live, and work. Envisioning the future is exciting - Digital is the era of options, empathy, personalization, and sharing. The multidimensional digital effects provide impressive advantages in term of the business speed, the abundance of information, and the quality of the digital workforce. It is a radical paradigm shift which needs to expand the new thinking box, see through the wider lens, set new rules, and develop a series of management practices to make a leap into the digital new normal.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 5/25/2018

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

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with 4600+ 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. Here is the weekly insight of digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.





Three Refinement to Shape High-Mature Digital Organization Change is multifaceted with increasing speed and velocity. Digitalization is the radical change, Change Management is all about balancing the main elements impacting change such as people, strategies, processes/procedures and IT, refining business success factors to practice digital management disciplines relentlessly.

Three Aspects of the Board Refreshment The digital paradigm is an emerging ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set limits or boundaries, also provide the guidance for problem-solving or creating something new under the digital rules. The high-performance board makes the disproportional impact on running a high-performance business through their invaluable oversight of the strategy and relentlessly inspiring changes and innovation. To improve directorship effectiveness, there are quite a lot of things digital boards need to shape up, and there are so many issues the boards have to deal with. Here are three aspects of the board refreshment.

The Shape of Digital: Three Upward Spirals to Improve Organizational Maturity Digital organizations are hyperconnected and interdependent. Digital boundary has the zigzag pattern on it, it is fluid enough to keep ideas flow and information flow, but solid enough to create order, enable responsibility-taking and manage business effectiveness and efficiency, to achieve a state of dynamic business balance. Digitalization is inspirational, iterative, and progressive, is the shape of digital like the upward spiral to reach the high level of organizational maturity?

What‘re Crucial Elements to Run Paramount Digital IT Information is growing exponentially and change is inevitable, IT makes the influence on almost every aspect of business nowadays. CIOs have to deal with constant ambiguity, increasing complexity, rapid change, and unprecedented uncertainty. Many IT organizations are at an inflection point to lead organizational level digitalization. So, what are crucial elements to run “paramount” digital IT organization?


CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: What are Your Innovation Leadership Digital Principles & Practices? Innovation is the management process to transform novel ideas to achieve their business value. At the heart of innovation is the lifecycle of idea generation, interaction, selection, and learning. Due to the fact that innovating in today’s digital world has become increasingly complex in nature, organizations can no longer rely on a single individual or team to drive innovation. Innovation management requires much deeper whole systems and taking emergent, generative, iterative, integrative, and holistic approaches. Information is one of the most time-intensive pieces of innovation puzzle and technology is the disruptive force behind digital innovation. CIOs as “Chief Innovation Officer”: What are your innovation leadership digital principles and practices?

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating 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 the 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.

Being Objective is Easy to Say, Hard to achieve, Why?

Being objective is of or relating to something that can be known, or to something that is an object or a part of an object. Absolute objectivity is perhaps impossible to achieve because perception is always subjective. Being objective means you are not influenced by personal feelings, interpretations, or prejudice; but make judgment or decisions based on unbiased fact, dispassionate examination, and deep observation. Many people intend to be objective, but being objective is easy to say, hard to achieve. Knowlege imitation, lack of insight, preassumption, all sorts of bias, small thinking, narrow-mindedness, stereotyping, etc, are all causes of lacking objectivity.

Lack of insight or superficiality leads the way: The most important capability of cognitive mind is the willingness and ability to seek out relevant knowledge, gain in-depth understanding, and address our ignorance and the assumptions we make to minimize it. The best you can do for improving objectivity is to be consciously aware that data is filtered and do your best to make sure your filters support thriving. Lack of objectivity or misunderstanding is the big cause of many human problems. The more complex the situation is, the more different approaches and role gaming is needed to reach for in-depth understanding. Practice lateral, nonlinear or multi-dimensional thinking, understand people or things from different angles and be inclusive to appreciate cognitive difference and different point of view in order to be objective and make sound judgments.

Lack of Emotional excellence: Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify and manage your emotions. Without the inner balance of energies, one cannot achieve a perfect balance of emotions and logic for analyzing problems more objectively and dispassionately in order to frame the right problems or brainstorm potential solutions. Emotional Brilliance comes because of balance, not extremes of any kind. Only a balanced mind can take the tough decision, be objective, and make better choices. Though it doesn’t mean that people with emotional excellence do not have feeling; it implies such mindsets are more objective, accountable, empathetic, intellectual and progressive, and systematic, therefore, they can think in longer term frame and take "tough decisions keeping their sensitivity intact."

Lack of holistic thinking:
Often, lack of objectivity is caused by the narrow lens, see the tree, but missing the forest; know the part, but ignoring the whole; take a snapshot, but forget the dynamic. A holistic perspective can fix the misperception by exploring multiple thought processes; willing to listen to the diverse viewpoint, zooming out to capture the bigger picture and seeking new information/knowledge to gain the better understanding and holistic view. When you only want to see things from your own point of view, see what you want to see, or, hear-what-you-want-to-hear, often you miss the point to understand the real problem objectively as well as how to solve it creatively or systematically.

Relative objectivity is a continual process in which we skirt the edge of what is possible. Individually, being objective is a professional quality. Collectively, being objective is the journey to pursue trust, true understanding, fairness, and premium problem-solving. It is the next step in our human evolution; It is simple to say, but not easy to accomplish.

The Synthesizing Competency of Digital Organizations

Synthesizing Business Competency = Holism + Interdisciplinarity

In general, analysis is understanding the thing by examining it as parts; synthesis is understanding a thing by examining it as a whole. Synthesizing business competency is developed, combined, integrated or reconfigured by a set of cohesive business capabilities dynamically to address rapidly changing in the business environment. Here are three synthesizing business competencies for running digital organizations.



Synthesizing change management: Understanding the essence of changes is critical to improving the success rate of change management. Change should be viewed as an "opportunity" for either solving business problems, improving productivity, delighting customers, cutting costs or optimizing products/services/processes. Change shouldn’t be just a few random business initiatives, it has to become an ongoing organizational capability and synthesizing business competency. Otherwise, companies can only react to changes, outer impulses or business crisis in a bureaucratic way. Synthesizing change management means that you have to think holistically about change, know what is an acceptable outcome, what resources change needs to leverage and how urgently to act, as well as how to make change sustainable. The change mechanism has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization. In addition, there are both tangible and intangible factors in Change Management, you have to understand both and synthesize them to change competency. Often, the severe problem facing business is its inability to perceive a change in the environment and adapt timely when conditions require it. To practice synthesizing change management, you have to define the change situation and the desired result before plowing into any effort, from measured progress to critical survival. Pre-contemplation, contemplation, envisioning, decision, preparation, action, adjustment, maintenance are all the logical steps in managing change scenario and building synthesizing change competency.

Synthesizing problem-solving competency: Traditional problem-solving approach is analytical - break down the bigger problems to the smaller pieces in order to be understood, and solve them step by step. It is practical. However, many of today’s problems are over-complex and interdependent, that means, besides breaking down, you need to combine or integrate different pieces of answers to ensure a cohesive and premium solution to larger problems with less side effect. Synthesis is necessary to summarize understanding of the part of problems and to transfer information about it to others, form a connected whole, and ensure contextual understanding, in order to come up with a better solution by taking a longer-term approach. Analysis without synthesis is a reduction. Synthesis without analysis is intuition. They should complement each other in order to build superior problem-solving competency.

Synthesizing Performance Management: The larger the organization, the more and more isolated business goals become when considered in the context of the organization's enterprise goals. Often in these environments, each one of departments measures on their own success, the department actually rewards or incentivizes behaviors that enhance the appearance of the performance of that department at the expense of other parts of the organization. Thus, the overall performance management is frequently retarded or prevented by how organizations define success on the individual or departmental performance level. In modern socially responsible companies, it isn't just about WHAT (performance result) you have achieved, but also about WHY (the strategic vision) and HOW (the decision-action scenario) to run a business for achieving high-performance business results. Further, with hyperconnectivity nature of digital organizations, it is important to connect the dots between performance management and other management disciplines, such as strategy management, talent management, and change management, etc. Building the synthesizing business competency intends to improve the whole rather than the part of the organization by encouraging to answer the "WHY" questions about a system. Synthesizing performance management Competency = Holism + Interdisciplinarity. Individual goals typically are goals that are based on a subsection of a department's goals, and the division goals are always the coherent part of the company’s goal to realize the long-term business vision.

Businesses are over-complex, hyper-competitive and interdependent business dynamic, the management has to continue exploring synthesizing management approach; involve not only putting the bits together but blending them in such a way that the emergent whole is somehow more than the sum of its parts. It is all about understanding and examining the whole, building synthesizing competency for managing changes, solving problems, assessing & accelerating performance, and driving digitization seamlessly.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Monthly Insight of “Digital Hybridity”: Balance the Opposite Forces to Drive Digitalization May. 2018

Nature and human societies is a ‘complex adaptive system’ inhabiting interacting agents that adapt to each other and their environment.

We are experiencing the dynamics of the most significant business transformation since the industrial revolution, with the upward spirals of digitalization and breakthrough innovation. The majority of us will work in an organization that is somewhere between old and new; at both industrial speed and digital speed; It is more critical than ever to maintain the right level of digital balance. In fact, striking the right digital balance is a never-ending business life cycle.

     



Balance the Opposite Forces to Drive Digitalization

The “Push & Pull” Forces of Digital Transformation Digital is fluid, digital is also complex. It becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of "nonlinear" interaction, interdependent relationships, and hyper-connected business association. You can't separate things properly, and often you cannot predict the actual effect of interaction straightforwardly. Therefore, running a high-performance digital business is no longer a single dimensional effort to applying the cool technologies or focus on short-term profitability only, but a multidimensional pursuit to embed digital into core business processes and build differentiated business capability. It is about how to leverage the “push & pull” business forces to adapt to changes and orchestrate a full-fledged digital transformation.

Three Aspects of Digital Balance Nature and human societies is a ‘complex adaptive system’ inhabiting interacting agents that adapt to each other and their environment. It is a nonlinear, dynamic and open system in a thermodynamic sense. Unlike closed equilibrium system, it hence spontaneously self-organizes; generates patterns, structures, and complexity; and above all, creates novelty over time. Either from nature or business perspectives, how to strike the great balance of such a complex and dynamic system, though?

Three Digital Balances for Running Transformational IT With the increasing speed of changes and continuous digital disruptions, IT is facing both challenges and opportunities. Should IT just follow the controlling mentality to “always do things like this,” and “keeps the lights on”; or should IT reinvent itself to explore the new possibilities? Whether digital transformation is a challenge or an opportunity depends on how fluent IT can manage changes and strikes the right balance of varying IT perspectives in running a transformational IT steadfastly.

Transaction vs. Transformation
A well-run business has a healthy business portfolio of “running, growth, and transformation,” focus on both short-term gain and long-term win, to manage a seamless business transaction and transformation continuum. Here are three perspectives to connect dots between transaction vs. transformation.

Accelerate Digital Transformation via both Hard and Soft Way Organizations large or small are on their digital transformation journey, although there is no one size fits all solutions to ensure the change success, it is important to take a systematic approach, strike the right balance of “push” and “pull” from multiple directions, and accelerate digital transformation via both hard and soft way.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.3 million page views with about #4600+ 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 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.

Building the High Impact Digital Board with Dual Roles of Guidance and Governance

 The modern board needs to be open-minded, foresightful, knowledgeable, innovative, gap-minding, and committed to practicing duel role of guidance and governance effectively. 

The fast-paced changes and overwhelming growth of information bring both significant opportunities for business growth and unprecedented risks businesses have to deal with. Organizations today are not mechanical systems keep spinning in a static business environment, often go nowhere. Digital businesses are organic living things need to continue growing in an expanding business ecosystem with high velocity and hyper-complexity. Therefore, the corporate boards, as one of the most critical leadership pillars in modern organizations, play the crucial dual role of guidance and governance, to make the high impact on the digital paradigm shift.


Make the high impact on policy setting and digital principle making: We are in the age with the mixing of old and new, physical and virtual; abundance of information but still the scarcity of insight; the birth of new technologies and the break down of silos or outdated concepts or things. Therefore, highly impact boards play the crucial role in making good policies for encouraging great things to happen easily, letting capability shine, instilling positive energy and setting the progressive tone to push changes and promote innovation. The modern board can set a clear choice and make well-defined principles among future scenarios that advocate advancement and promotes positive behaviors. At the board level, “talk the walk,” is, in fact, crucial, as it directly impacts on how well the board can abstract and make good principles to unify, not divide; how effective the board can exercise their duty; and how capable the organization can “walk the talk.” As businesses get more cut-throat in the hyper-connected digital environment, good policies set the tone for encouraging creativity, motivating learning, enforcing risk-management, and building the working environment in which everyone is at the same playing field to follow the same set of rules despite differences in roles/job titles.


Oversee strategies, as well as guide senior management with invaluable advice: Top directorship roles such as board directors are supposed to be the guiding force in the enterprise, like the steering wheel, envisioning and leading the business toward the uncharted water and blurred territories. They provide excellent feedback which gives the top management invaluable advice to improve management effectiveness. Digital boards should be able to see further and perceive better than others in order to steer the business on the thorny journey of the digital paradigm shift, set guidance about what core to preserve and what future to stimulate progress toward. Therefore, to build high impact, digital BoDs should accommodate the value of alternative perspectives, respect diverse opinions. The important issue is how the board assesses and converge the diverse thought into sound judgments and making wise decisions.

Practice effective governance disciplines: The business environment becomes so volatile and uncertain, governance is not the act of rubber stamping. If a board is to fulfill its fiduciary responsibilities to its stakeholders, it needs to simply look from a different stance, ask different questions, and take the step-wise governance scenario: Assess--approach--prioritization-strategy-risk-monitoring. For an organization embarking on a digital journey, it might be good to start at the top, cultivating the risk intelligent culture. It is critical to look at leadership, culture, staff training, existing processes, and existing technology first, make improvements if necessary, then determine whether new approaches/methods/tools would be a good addition to the mix, to ensure effectiveness, efficiency and high performance of management practices.

In a world with so many over-complex and interdependent problems, the modern board needs to be open-minded, foresightful, knowledgeable, innovative, gap-minding, and committed to practicing duel roles of guidance and governance effectively. The corporate directors today are required to exercise influence over volatility, manage uncertainty, simplify complexity and resolve ambiguity in the dynamic digital environment, to steer businesses in the right direction and become the mastermind of digitalization.

Three Coherent Efforts to Reshape Digital IT

The focus of IT needs to get back to big “I”s such as information, intelligence, innovation, integration, and improvement.

IT faces unprecedented opportunity to refine its reputation, also needs to take more responsibility as a true business partner. IT is the business in the business and the digital engine of the entire organization. However, there is no magic format to run a digital organization, every IT organization has to experiment, learn, explore, and discover the better way to reinvent a digital IT organization, rationalizing current IT department and planning to partner with the business to provide tailored services and solutions in new ways. Here are three coherent efforts to reshape IT to get digital ready.

Reshape IT organizational structure: IT can no longer be run as an isolated function, it must become an integral part of the business. From the organizational structure perspective, the most common anecdote is how managers/leaders tend to restructure if they sense things are becoming dysfunctional, and often with mixed results. You need leverage the latest digital platforms and technologies to fine tune an organization with digital characteristics aligned, having less organizational layers and optimized structure so that everyone is the organization is closer to the organizational leadership, align individuals’ daily tasks with the business’s goals, having some sort of direct line to provide people opportunities to contribute to the business objectives and innovation. The purpose is to improve productivity, enforce communication and collaboration, optimize business processes, and rejuvenate the culture of innovation. Keep in mind, before e you could create a new IT structure, you have to make sure it’s not just in alignment with the organizational "culture," but also, help to cultivate the culture of innovation in the entire company. To take advantage of the latest technologies, many organizations today adopt the hybrid organizational structure that creatively blends structured and unstructured processes to harness innovation efforts rather than overcoming organizational hurdles and pushing against structural boundaries.

Reshape IT Application Portfolio Management: IT leaders today need to strike the right balance of “run, grow and transform.” Nowadays, more and more new applications or new versions of the existing application will be delivered on Saas models, ease of management and capacity elasticity will provide significant incentives to migrating in that direction. What's missing in many organizations though is the CIO's ability to question the business's requirements and justifications. Portfolio management is essential to successful corporate governance and as such, a comprehensive fusing of a firm's strategic capabilities. To keep relevant, IT needs to build dynamic and differentiated business competency with continuous delivery. They also have to advocate for "departmental immersion" and other strategies to help IT become seamlessly integrated and aware of the organization as a whole. From the budgeting perspective, continue to figure out how to reshape a healthy IT application portfolio with an ideal ratio to both “keep the lights on” and drive innovation, digitalization, and business growth for the long run.


Reshape digital workforce management: IT skill gap is the reality. There is the high rate of employee disengagement either in IT or the entire business. There is the disconnect between IT short-term staff needs and long-term strategic competency perspectives. Traditional competency model puts too much focus on the quantified result, without doing enough for consideration of long-term potential realization. Therefore, reshape digital workforce management is imperative for driving the next level of IT organizational maturity. It is important to take an interdisciplinary management approach to integrate talent management, performance management, culture management, and change management into a holistic workforce management approach. Digital CIOs need to exemplify innovation leadership and create an open, creative and productive working environment, inspire authenticity, encourage the growth mindset, create synergy by putting the right people with the right capabilities in the right positions to solve the right problems at the right time.

Reshaping IT to keep digital fit needs to take the cohesive effort, the focus of IT needs to get back to big “I”s such as information, intelligence, innovation, integration, and improvement, to run IT as the business in the business; to leverage IT to unleash business potential and to actually consider changing the model to meet what the future may be bringing, and make a leap of digitalization.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The Monthly Foresight: Running Future-Driven Organization May. 2018

The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. Digital is the age of creativity and innovation, creativity is the most wanted trait for digital leaders and professionals today, and innovation is the light every organization is pursuing. Which themes shall you set to advocate digital transformation? How to lead to the digital future effortlessly?

               

Running Future-Driven Organization


Running a Future-Driven Digital Organization: Digital organizations are the living systems which keep growing and maturing. Organization of the Future is an organization designed openly for anyone with ideas on how human organizations ought to be contrived in the face of the “VUCA” digital new normal, hyperconnectivity and fierce competition. Reimaging the future of business is exciting, but investigating the different path for unlocking business performance and potential needs to take a systematic approach and develop it into a more solid form. Digital leaders must realize that you cannot wait until there is an immediate pressing task, continuous adaptability is necessary in an ever-changing world, in order to run a future-driven digital organization.

Digital Flow: The Future of Knowledge Management? Digital means flow, data flow, information flow and knowledge flow; there is a shift from more traditional knowledge management approaches to techniques that involve enhancing the "flow" of knowledge within an organization to improve access and use. As the accepted model of knowledge management is too hierarchical, too centralized for the fast-moving, increasingly social or collaborative digital enterprise of today, so it makes sense that something like flow management is seen as a more fitting.

How to Build an Organization of Future? The digital enterprise consists of an amalgam of socio-systems, techno-systems, bio-systems, and Econo-systems. BoDs as the top business advisor role need to have sufficient knowledge to understand the business ecosystem and sense that the digital transformation is multifaceted; they should have the business vision to predict the emergent trend of business, technology or industry. Therefore, to make the role highly effective, digital BoDs not only need to be forward-thinking, they have to be further looking, thinking longer term, guide the executive team toward the right direction and play the management advising role effortlessly.

Are your Future Leaders Prepared? The future is already here, the digital is the age of customer-centricity; the age of empathy, the age of collaboration; the age of co-creating and the age of people, but either strategically or tactically, how to build such an organization of future?

The “Futuristic” Digital Board When we jump into the digital future of “VUCA” new normal –Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity, the digital leadership today must be able to steer the organization in the right direction. Corporate boards today mostly composed of seasoned business executives are no longer just the controller to ensure business compliance, they should have a clear business vision to predict emerging trends in the business, technology or industry. So, they can guide the executive team in the right direction and play the management advising role effortlessly. To discuss further: What is the profile of the “futuristic” digital boards, what’s the business insight those boards can offer and what are the great benefits they can provide for the business’s long-term prosperity?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #4700th 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 and innovating 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.

Understanding The Multitude of Business Effects to Accelerate Changes

It is important to understand the multitude of business effects digital leaders might need to deal with, and  numerous pitfalls the management should pay more attention to at the journey of digitalization.

Businesses today need nothing less than a paradigm shift in their thinking about the fundamentals of how organizations work to build an authentic culture and an engaging workforce, It is the transformation that is reshaping our thinking and recasting the way we view ourselves, the systems of which we are the part of the environments. It is important to understand the multitude of business effects digital leaders might need to deal with, as well as numerous pitfalls the management should pay more attention to, and take the logical steps for reaching the next stage of digital management fluency.

Ambiguity Effect: Ambiguity is the haziness of reality, the potential for misreads, the mixed meanings of conditions, or cause-and-effect confusion. Ambiguity Effect is a type of cognitive bias. It is the tendency to avoid options for which missing information makes the probability seem "unknown." In many cases, though, the information cannot be obtained. This will often lead them to seek out the missing information. Ambiguity can be understood as being similar to business ‘risk,’ a term used to describe a circumstance in which an investment is made, but the outcome is uncertain. Consequently, in times of organizational change or digital transformation, dealing with ambiguity is a leadership skill.

Anchoring effect:
Anchoring effect or focalism is the type of cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the "anchor") when making decisions. We all learned at the younger age: “Don’t judge the book by its cover,” but unfortunately, we do live in an increasingly “profiled” world that does judge a book by its cover. Hence, some say the understanding gap is even enlarged because each individual evolves into the “VUCA” digital normal at the different pace. Anchoring occurs when individuals use an initial piece of information to make subsequent judgments. Once an anchor is set, other judgments are made by adjusting away from that anchor, and there is a bias toward interpreting other information around the anchor.

Halo effect: Halo effect is another form of cognitive bias in which the brain allows specific positive traits to positively influence the overall evaluation of the person, idea, or object in the halo. The halo effect can also be explained as the behavior (usually unconscious) of using evaluations based on things unrelated, to make judgments about something or someone. To overcome this type of cognitive bias, having contextual understanding is important to gain a clear discernment for making sound judgment and improving decision effectiveness.

Ripple effect: Ripples are small water movements produced by winds which transfer energy to the water as they blow over. Ripples expand across the water when an object is dropped into it. Ripple effect is often used colloquially to mean a multiplier. Organizations arise when the scale of the interrelations, interactions, or inter-relational interactions surpasses the individual’s capacity to be able to do whatever it does with smaller scales. It’s important to understand the psychology behind changes and make a shift at the mindset level in order to have a ripple effect for changes.

Digital paradigm is an emerging digital ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set limits or boundaries; and also offer the guidance for problem-solving or creating something new under the digital rules. It requires shaping digital mindset understand the varying business effect, and overcome cognitive bias. This is the groundwork that has to be done at all levels to manage change in a structural way.

Autonomy, Alignment, and Acceleration of Digital IT Organization

It is the multifaceted effort for running digital IT,  broaden IT outlook and envision the bigger picture of digitalization, re-imagine the art of possible.

With the exponential growth of information and ever-fast changes, great opportunity, danger, digital convenience, and disruption are around every corner. With emerging digital technologies, the territories between functions, companies, and industries are blurring, or converged, IT is the linchpin for integrating the business as a whole and running a hyperconnected digital organization. IT also has to take the step-wise approach to reinvent itself from a cost center to a strategic business partner through autonomy, alignment, and acceleration.

Autonomy: Running an autonomous organization is to improve business efficiency, productivity, responsiveness, and flexibility. The high degree of autonomy is the symbol of digital maturity. Many IT organizations spend the significant amount of time on maintaining systems and tools to “keep the lights on.” It is understandable that the effective CIOs need to take care of chronic operational issues to stop the pain and deliver requested upgraded and technical solutions. With high IT autonomy, they can spend more time on innovation-oriented activities to improve the top line business value. Autonomy can be achieved via system automation, team self-management, and interdisciplinary digital practices. The goal is to make hierarchical business systems adaptive so that they can respond to challenges of a hyperconnected and interdependent world so change can be orchestrated at all levels of the organization. The point is that change never ends with increasing pace, thus, digital organizations simply cannot stand still, they need to be like the self-driving vehicle to catch up with the speed of change; they should also like the living systems, keep growing, otherwise, they would become irrelevant sooner or later

Alignment: Digital IT organizations need to move alignment to the next level - from reluctant IT-business alignment for filling the gap to proactive IT- customer alignment for achieving people centricity. Communication and collaboration gaps are the persistent and pervasive problem that demands an ongoing process/capability alignment to ensure that IT and business need to be integrated seamlessly to ensure running a holistic digital business. IT has two sets of customers: internal customers and end customers. To move further, IT needs to not only empower and engage internal users with efficient tools and platforms for enforcing communication and collaboration; IT should do more about aligning with end customers, understanding their pains and needs, digitizing touch point of customer experience, and making the direct impact on the top line business growth. By aligning the outside view with the inside view, can you understand the needs of people but also the channels needed to support them. IT credibility is not just based on the business alignment of the CIO, it's based on the business alignment of all the key players in the IT organization...or lack thereof.

Acceleration: Many IT organizations are still perceived as the controller, lagging behind the change curve. Forward-thinking companies across industries empower their IT leading change and digitalization because organizations today rely more and more on information and technology; IT has a lot of things on their plate for spinning at the right speed. With lightweight and powerful digital technologies, businesses expect the consumerization style responsiveness from IT to achieve strategic responsiveness and business flexibility. Speed matters for building dynamic business capabilities and gaining differentiated organizational competency. To lead digital paradigm shift, IT needs to ride learning curve ahead of the rest of the company; but it should also be steady and keep the business vehicle running smoothly. To accelerate, it means to break down silo mentality, update bureaucratic management style, overcome change inertia, eliminate waste or redundancy, discourage internal politics, so digital organizations can be vibrant, highly responsive, and highly innovative for adapting to the ever-evolving business dynamic.

Digital CIOs are the business conductor for leading changes. It is the multifaceted effort for running digital IT,  broaden IT outlook and envision the bigger picture of digitalization, re-imagine the art of possible and maximize the digital potential of running the high performance and high-mature digital organization.

Monday, May 21, 2018

The Monthly “IT Innovation” Book Tuning: Explore IT Innovation through via Exploring Varying “HOW”s May 2018

Innovation is not serendipity. Working in an innovation garden not only takes passion but also needs the process and hard work. 

Within abundant information and emergent digital technologies, IT is a key component of holistic business mindset to re-imagine “what is possible” - unleashing business potentials and improving business efficiency, effectiveness, agility, and maturity. The art of possible to reinvent IT for the digital age is to deliver the value of information in helping businesses grow, delight customers and doing more with innovation.

    

Explore IT Innovation through Exploring Varying “HOW”s   


IT Personalization: How to Run Digital IT with Differentiated Advantage? IT is always at the center of change. The emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern at exponential speed, as the pervasiveness of an organization’s digitization journey increases. IT can no longer just “keep the lights on,” IT leaders need to think strategically and creatively about alternative solutions and ask themselves tough questions about how to personalize IT to gain differentiated business competency.

How to Develop a Comprehensive Innovation Framework Innovation is not serendipity. Working in an innovation garden not only takes passion but also needs the process and hard work. A systematic innovation approach is to depict innovation as a system, rather than a traditional process. Innovation performance depends on the alignment of its various components (people, process, resources, actions, controls, measurement, etc.). Though there's no single structure that will work in every organization, the comprehensive innovation framework with all important enterprise components is the great tool to intensify innovation with focus and manage innovation in a structural way.

How does IT handle investigations of innovative business solutions? IT plays a critical role in building business competency. IT has itself transformed to create a new competitive advantage via building new products, new services and delivering tailored business solutions. But many of today’s C-suites are unaware of what is technologically possible now or in the future. Digital is the age of options, it provides the opportunity to think the new way to do things, so it forces IT leaders to get really creative on how they architect and implement change, and how IT handles investigation of innovative business solutions, to change the business’s perception, reinvent its tarnished reputation and improve the overall business maturity.

How does IT handle investigations of innovative business solutions? IT plays a critical role in building business competency. IT has itself transformed to create a new competitive advantage via building new products, new services and delivering tailored business solutions. But many of today’s C-suites are unaware of what is technologically possible now or in the future. Digital is the age of options, it provides the opportunity to think the new way to do things, so it forces IT leaders to get really creative on how they architect and implement change, and how IT handles investigation of innovative business solutions, to change the business’s perception, reinvent its tarnished reputation and improve the overall business maturity.

How to Improve IT visibility as the Strategic Business Partner Even though IT permeates to almost every corner of the business, many traditional IT organizations are still perceived as an invisible back office maintenance function. Thus, to improve IT visibility as the strategic partner, CIOs should have both business leadership skill and technical knowledge to understand the business and run IT as an integral part of the business. They should raise the IT bar on a continual basis to ensure that the stakeholders get a real picture of how well IT efforts are bearing desired results and keep IT and the business on the same page.

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 the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.5 million page views with about #4600 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating 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 the 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.