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.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 10/19/2017

Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking, brainstorming, innovating and sharing.
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with 4100+ 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 about digital leadership, IT Management, and Talent Management.

  • Three Stages to Reach The Maturity of IT Digital Transformation  IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. IT also plays a critical role in driving changes and leading digital transformation. IT has to reinvent itself to exemplify proficiency in planning, designing, innovating, and building a new business model or optimizing information management. Digital CIOs need to take the risk above the status quo, take on a new set of activities that are involved in defining, developing, and differentiating their organization to reach the high level of digital maturity.

  • How Can Digital Characteristics Brighten the Shadow of Bureaucracy Traditional organizations have a pyramidal hierarchy and overly rigid organizational structure and processes, which often enforce silo thinking and business bureaucracy. Generally speaking, bureaucracy is a system based on a hierarchy of authority and division of workforce functioning in a routine manner. Bureaucracy is criticized by its inflexibility, inefficiency, silo, stagnation, unresponsiveness, lack of creativity, etc. It is correlated with a mechanistic view of the organization and reductionistic management discipline. With increasing rate of changes and fast growing information, the organization needs to be adapted in a digital way that it can respond effectively to the dynamic changes and to the variety in the environment. But more specifically, how can emergent digital characteristics brighten the shadow of bureaucracy to improve management effectiveness and organizational maturity

  • Board Directors as the Digital Provocateur Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. In order to lead today’s hyper-connected digital organizations with the hyper-diverse workforce, board directors should become the digital provocateur to drive changes and set the leadership tone for digital transformation; and the board composition should be synchronized with the digital perspective of the business, to advance its leadership maturity.

  • A “Thriving CIO”: How to Run Digital IT Effortlessly? IT organization is making a shift from transactional mode to transformational mode. It goes beyond the stage of IT-business alignment and moves up to the level of integration and engagement. Nowadays, a digital-ready IT organization is a threshold business competency and catalyzer of business changes. CIOs should also shift their leadership mentality from “struggling to keep the lights on” to “thriving to run digital IT effortlessly.”

  • How to Spot your Innovators? Creativity is an essential building block for innovation in business. And innovation is the light every business is pursuing. Everyone possesses a certain level of creativity, but how does creativity manifest itself in the workplace? What's the best work environment to stimulate creativity? And how can digital leaders spot their true innovators and improve innovation success rate

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.

Digital CIOs' Skill Matrix

Due to the disruptive nature of technology and overwhelming growth of information, the role of CIO has to be reinvented for adapting to changes and reenergized for harnessing innovation. Digital CIOs need to develop a broad set of skills beyond technology and have differentiated competency and recombinant professional capabilities and skills to lead the organization up to the next level of the business maturity. Here is the digital CIO’s skill matrix.

Leadership competency: Digital CIO is the top leadership role, and leadership is about future and direction. Hence, the skills CIOs should exercise including technological vision, strategic thinking, execution and innovation capability, etc. Like all digital leaders today, CIOs should discover WHO they are and WHY they want to lead. Although the title is not as essential as responsibility, the standard needs to be defined and the priority should be set. Forward-looking organizations should empower their CIOs with the seat at the big table and have the voice in strategy setting and business innovation, and amplify their leadership influence. The top CIOs today should be the specialized generalist to practice expert power. They must develop a broad set of skills, capabilities, and build a comprehensive leadership portfolio with differentiated leadership competency and hardcore leadership substances. Digital CIO’s leadership competency is based on their breadth of business knowledge and the depth of IT insight. Because the expert power can make leadership influence more profound and empathetic, to connect the minds and improve leadership empathy and effectiveness.

Management proficiency: Digital CIOs are business leaders first, and IT managers second. IT management is the management discipline and a set of practices that all of the information technology resources of the organization are managed in accordance with its priorities and needs. CIOs must be able to develop and optimize the IT operational function within itself and scale the best practice to the company scope. The business goals of IT is about leveraging information and technology to lower costs, improve operations, and increase revenue. CIOs need to encourage their teams to spend more time with customers, to improve the top-line business growth by maximizing ROI to add up overall business value in the second dimension. Thus, to improve their management proficiency, CIOs need to have the strategic understanding of the business goals, as well as the business acumen to implement them, make the strenuous effort on IT management effectiveness and operational excellence.  It is important to have IT resources and talent aligned with the business strategies/objectives for doing the right things; refined to the point that they are nimble, can adapt to changing business demands in a timely fashion, can be reapplied to altering business priorities and be effective with little down curve. IT is the business.

Innovative problem-solving: IT is neither an order taker nor a controller only, IT needs to become a business solutionary and trustful business partner. Business management is essentially a continuous process to solve business problems big or small, CIOs need to become innovative problem solvers because often IT plays a critical role in interpreting business issues into a technological solution, leverage necessary resources to solve well-defined business problems. IT also needs to be innovative and influential enough to impact and provide customers with better solutions, in a right manner, and at a reasonable cost. Being innovative means that IT can break down the old ways to do things, and discover the art of possible. This requires an in-depth understanding of the business and connect the wider dots for creative problem-solving, and help the entire business solving critical issues with long-term perspectives.

Multi-dialect digital fluency: Digital IT becomes the change agent of their company and is empowered to lead the digital transformation. The CIO should have both broad business acumen and deep technical expertise as well, with the capability to be fluent with digital dialect as well. Digital CIOs must be able to translate business issues and technical matters back and forth without “lost in translation.” CIOs also need to become digital ambassadors for sharing the technological vision and be able to communicate with the other executives to demonstrate IT capabilities as a strategic enabler of the business. The CIO must be able to translate technical expertise into business opportunities.  It starts with building strong and value-creating relationships with C-suites, between IT and vendors or suppliers; and build a strong team with a strong bench. There needs to be the constant voice and presence of a modern digital leader at the Executive Table who understands both technology and business intimately and interpret things insightfully.  The digital CIO is in the unique position to not only ensure he/she communicates with empathy but also to streamline the organization’s digital communication channel and delivery.

There is now a greater need for a CIO to understand business drivers and equip with digital mindsets, apply digital technology to speed up IT and build business competency. IT leaders must stretch out, make the necessary role shift to get digital ready. The CIO's skills matrix is based on the depth of leadership insight and the breadth of enterprise knowledge upon understanding business as a whole. They have to wear different hats and play multiple roles accordingly.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Mastering Changes from Multiple Dimensions

Change Management is a multidimensional management discipline and ongoing business capability.

The very characteristics of digital transformation are the increasing speed of change and hyperconnectivity. But change is difficult and has a very high failure rate. So, how to capture the signals of change readiness, how to improve change effectiveness, and how to manage and sustain change efforts multidimensionally?


Psychological dimension: Change is supposed to happen, with high frequency and continuous digital disruptions. There are both hard processes and soft emotions impacting change management effectiveness. Resistance is supposed to happen. People look for “What’s In It For Me.” Thus, it is important to understand the change from the psychological dimension. It is all about perspective. What is more interesting is what drives people’s perspectives. Are they just get stuck at “this is the way we do things here” mentality, or are they motivated to change for better with the longer term perspective? It is about individual mental set-up too, how can they move up from “FUD - Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt” emotional stages towards the stage of emotional maturity for changes? Given this, Change Management needs to craft and most importantly deliver the clear messages at both the individual and group level, and most importantly reinforce these statements through consistent communication and action. Digital means the increasing speed of changes, it means that the management needs to challenge convention and break down people’s natural resistance to change or to new ideas; helping to deliver incremental improvements over time.


Structural dimension: Digital means the accelerating speed, organizations must become highly responsive to change and disruptions. Digital organizations have to adapt to the continuous changes via self-adaptability, self-renewal, and maintain the digital balance.Then, the new organic, self-organizing system approach to organizational structure could become a reality. And that will be a true evolution for digital transformation.  It's worthwhile to explore new organizational structure models and be congruent with the words "change management"; and actually consider changing the model to meet what the future may be bringing. Generally speaking, the overly rigid organizational hierarchy will stifle innovation and decelerate business flow. Flatter organizational structures will help to speed up organizational response to change markets. The digital balance to performance management will need to have some combinations of structural design and incentive. Understanding the people and the organization through a common lens then makes it possible to turn organizational “theories” into tangible management processes that use “relations between people” to create robust management structures and processes that support self-adaptive problem-solving and build business competency.


Behavior dimension: Change Management needs to strike the right balance of “push” and “pull.” You can certainly change behaviors with the right push, however, bigger changes come with inspiring the mind and challenging winning attitudes. Change becomes necessary when an organization fails to meet its performance goals, probably as a result of behavior following a path of self-interest. Short-term behavior changes are common under pressure, but it breeds discontent and, in the long run, people revert to their original habits, most of the time. Thus, inspiration and motivation are both important to make change sustain. Change Management intends to change employees’ behavior. Behaviors are driven by attitude. Attitude results from thoughts, assumptions, and preferences. Those are the result of years of habits and reinforcement. Depending on the nature and complexity of change effort, behavior can be changed either through operational adjustment (updated processes or tools, etc.) or through transformation (adaptive shifts in thoughts or beliefs that result from looking inward and reflecting). Though you can’t change anyone’s attitude or behavior directly, they have to be the ones that change. Management, in fact, can set the right policies for motivating and rewarding good behaviors and discouraging bad ones because people’s behavior usually responds to how they are measured.


It is nevertheless true that the change itself has become unpredictable and evolutionary, as compared to treading through carefully laid down road-map. Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. Change Management is a multidimensional management discipline and ongoing business capability, it has to be woven into action, process and communication of the organization, it needs to become a healthy habit for organizations to adapt, grow, and innovate.

CIOs as “Digital Master”: How to Ride Three Learning Curves to Improve IT Digital Maturity?

CIOs today need to be the digital master, because there is now a greater need for a CIO to equip with digital mindsets, ride learning curves, and lead changes seamlessly.

Due to disruptive nature of technologies and exponential growth of information, the CIO role also becomes more dynamic and multifaceted. Compare to the other executive positions, the CIO role continues to be shaken up, refined, reinvented to get digital ready. A digital CIO has to focus on guiding the company through the digital transformation. At the very least, IT must be a business partner within the organization. Regardless of which industry sectors or the nature of organization you are in, being a digital CIO will need to ride the multitude of learning curves promptly and lead digital transformation effortlessly.


Change curve: With the rapid pace of changes, Digital IT organizations are “designed for changes,” rather than “Built to last.” Thus, CIOs need to become the change agent. The real problem seems to understand the change curve and how it relates to change. Usually, the curve is ready to be the step one goes through during change when in actuality they are the steps that come before change can take place. More often than not, change curve seems to be a tempting "solution" on how to explain the change process to the people concerned. In reality, more than two-thirds of changes fail to achieve the business’s expectation. The change curve is applicable to everyone even those who planned and conceived the vision. CIOs as change leaders need to ask deep questions to understand how steep the change curve could be: Why do change initiatives often fail? Is the change curve a useful construct? Do people easily accept change? What is the psychology behind the change? Do people follow a predictable pattern of responses? Etc. The logical scenario is about clearing change vision, gaining curve awareness, be motivated to change, gain knowledge of change initiative, recognize change champions and change agents, and build change as an ongoing capability. All stages must be handled with attention and proficiency to ensure success. Open and honest dialogue is the key, people just want the truth. Change Management is a journey, not just a one-time business initiate, riding ahead of the change curve takes both strategy and methodology, people are the weakest link, also the best reason for any changes, so make people as your CORE focal point.


Innovation curve: Digital IT must do more with innovation. Innovation is change, but change is not always equal to innovation. Innovation perhaps has even deeper curve than change, especially for radical or breakthrough innovation because the business often has to take bigger risks. Work on an innovation garden not only takes passion but also need the process and hard work to master learning curve and improve innovation success rate. However, many organizations are not fertile ground for innovation, they avoid taking risks, and seldom learn from their mistakes. Part of innovation learning curve is how to manage risks. The risk is part of innovation, but you can manage parts of these risks by taking a structural approach. The innovation framework is the key ingredient in managing innovation via deploying a range of different management practices, technologies, processes and structural solutions. Also, to ride learning curve with speed, it requires much more effective collaboration and optimized innovation processes for minimizing cost, time and risk whilst maximizing scalable solutions.


Digital awareness curve: More and more forward-thinking organizations empower their IT to lead the digital transformation. Digital CIOs are not just tactical IT managers, they are strategic business executives and top digital leaders who need to ride learning curve to gain digital awareness. They should envision the future of business and share their technological vision with boards and the variety of shareholders. More critically, CIOs need to cover both the business dimension and technology dimension as well as the interactive side of IT-business. Because digital transformation is truly not about single dimensional technology update, but a multidimensional business stretch. Above all, Digital CIOs have been strategy influencers and persuaders. The increasing speed of changes forces IT leaders to get really creative on how they architect and implement change, to ensuring IT is strategically positioned to be ahead of where the business is moving next. IT leaders with strong “digital awareness,” can sense emergent opportunities, predict potential risks, always have a strong understanding of what the business does, how it does it, and how IT could become a strategic partner and the digital catalyzer of the business.


CIOs today need to be the digital master, because there is now a greater need for a CIO to equip with digital mindsets, ride learning curves and understand business drivers, step out of the isolated technological box, get to know more about the business, customers and digital ecosystem, apply digital technologies to solve the ever-emergent business issues, and run IT as the digital transformer of the business.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Monthly Insight: Principles and Practices for Digital Transformation Oct.,2017

Change is inevitable, organizational change has become a common practice within an organization, but too often changes are made as a reaction to outer impulses, crisis, and demands. This is the bureaucracy’s way of meeting the challenges. A digital transformation is achieved via dynamic Strategy-Execution-Change life cycle management, though it is not all linear steps, but an iterative, ongoing and upgoing change continuum. How to set principles and develop next practices to lead change and digital transformation  effortlessly?

Principles and Practices for Digital Transformation

Build a Comprehensive Digital Framework with Principles, Processes, and Practices to Accelerate Digital Transformation? Digitalization is not just about adopting the latest technologies or cool gadget only, it has to expand into every dimension of the organization with a structural approach. The digital framework provides guidelines, checklist, standard, processes, do & don't practices, as well as tools and building blocks to define or develop business competencies and manage a holistic digital transformation. The digital frameworks add value as they are implementations of the patterns to avoid having to reinvent the wheel, it helps the organization embed digital culture into the very fabric of the business, explore digital in a structural way and laser focus on the most important

  • Three Digital Information/Knowledge Management Principles? Digital organizations are information overloading and knowledge abundant, but very few of them are truly running the digital-savvy, high-intellectual business. IT plays a critical role in information management to ensure the right people getting the right information to make the right decisions timely. CIOs as “Chief Information Officer”: How to set digital information/knowledge management principles and develop the best and next practice to keep information flow, knowledge flow, and therefore business flow??  

  • The Basic Prescription for Change Management? Compared to the business world decades ago, the speed of change is increasing, and digital ecosystem has become more dynamic, complex and hyperconnected. Change Management also turns to be more complex with the very high failure rate. There is no magic formula to manage changes, and each situation is different, every organization just has to explore their own way of managing changes because different organizations evolve digital with the different speed. Change Management has a very wide scope and is a relatively new area of expertise. In many circumstances, change management itself has to be changed for fitting the digital new normal. Still, there are common digital principles all kinds of businesses can follow, and there are basic prescriptions for improving the overall "health" of Change Management.

  • Setting Digital Mantras for Accelerating Digital Transformation? Digital transformation is the long journey. Digital doesn’t mean just tear down all the old things in the previous era. In reality, digital means to strike the right balance between the new way and the “old way.” to do things, to strike the delicate balance. Organizations have to set fair principles, build the well-rounded capabilities, run up all important stages for reaching high digital maturity and reap the benefit via going digital with full speed.

  • Setting Digital Performance Measurement/Management Principles? Enterprise performance management is about how organizations manage performance at both strategic and operational level to achieve the setting business goals and objectives. Selecting performance metrics is the main challenge in establishing a performance management framework. It is vital that there is a shared consistent understanding of performance measurement and how to set common digital performance principles for improving enterprise performance management effectiveness.

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 the 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.

Three “U” Traits in Innovators


Innovators are simply those who are comfortable to be different, who can think differently and whose work continues to push the human world forward.

Innovation is about figuring out the better ways to do things. Innovation is an exceptional, exclusive, and realistic idea that separates you from others without a second thought. Being innovative is a state of mind to think and do things from new perspectives. Innovators are the rare breed, but they are around us and within us. Here are three “U” traits in innovators.




Uniqueness: Being unique means to be authentic. Being authentic is defined as being real or genuine. It is much clearer to discover an individual’s potential and capabilities to innovate via an authentic lens. The indicators to assess the intrinsic capacity of individuals “innovativeness” (the state of mind) include: Self-awareness (recognition of your own strength and weaknesses), independent thinking, interdisciplinary skills and knowledge, cognitive ability and style, inquisitiveness, intellectual engagement, creative problem-solving, personality (openness to experience, tolerance of ambiguity, self-motivation), tendency to constantly question the status quo, plasticity (fast learning), ability to identify patterns, ability to make unusual connections, capacity to adapt, emotional intelligence (risk-taking), willingness to accept feedback,  etc. Every person is unique, though not every person has the same degree of creativity. Creativity is an innate ability, but it can also be developed. Thus, organizations need to cultivate the culture of authenticity - to encourage people to be authentic and inspire inclusiveness, inspire creativity and encourage the new way to do things.


Unconventional wisdom: Unconventional wisdom often means the fresh insight or “out-of-the-box” thinking. The conventional mind is bound by certain group beliefs and general practices, it perhaps works in considerably static industrial age or certain geographical regions.  However, with rapid changes, frequent technological disruptions, and the blurred territories, more often than not, conventional wisdom shows its limitation or even outdated, become the very obstacle to stifle innovation or decelerate collective progress. In fact, the profile of innovator that is most common is the talented people with an innate curiosity to improve, breakthrough unconventional wisdom to innovate, take the risk of experimenting new ways to do things, and discover the unique path others never takes before to reach the destination. Because being innovative requires thinking outside the conventional box, practice creative thinking, adding value differently from the status quo, changing the frame of reference to create previously undiscovered solutions.


Understanding contextually: Creativity often means you need to apply the previous knowledge to the different context. Learning something to gain knowledge often starts with the content study. But creativity is more based on insight than knowledge. Contextual understanding can often trigger creativity. Insight is captured via contextual understanding, insight does not just fuel creativity, but also make creativity more tangible and embed creativity with other thought processes to create value and produce the new knowledge. In reality, too often, assumptions and prejudices get in the way of true understanding. The most important capability of the innovative mind is the willingness and ability to seek out new knowledge, gain contextual understanding to fuel creativity via exploring the new lenses to understand things with the new way to solve problems.


Innovativeness is clearly a competency at both individual and corporate level. Innovators are simply those who are comfortable to be different, who can think differently and whose work continues to move forward and, in turn, is profitable to self and others, and give the push to the collective human progress.

CIOs as Chief Improvement Officer: Can you Play the Number Game Wisely?

Performance metrics are numbers in context, results related to the strategic goals of the business.

“You can’t manage it if you don’t measure it” is an old adage for modern business. A performance measurement system is a necessary foundation for continuous improvement. Because without measurements, it can be hard to tell whether attempted improvements make the situation better or worse. In fact, it is dangerous to impose metrics just because the focus on what’s measurable is manageable. It is not the measurement that is important; it is what you do with the data obtained from the measurement. Thus, digital leaders, today should continually ask themselves: Which goals shall you achieve through measurement? Can you play the number game wisely, either for unlocking IT performance, improving business management effectiveness or lifting the overall business maturity?


Guidance: Performance management is never just about numbers, it’s even not just about explicit communicating the intention behind metrics, it is a matter of providing the guidance to help improve the future decision making or action taken. The business executives should understand the major performance metrics that the business uses to measure their performance, they need to make sure that well-defined set of metrics can lead to continuous improvement and enforce data-based communication. Because it is not the measurement that is important, it is what you do with the data obtained from the measurement. Once Key Performance Indicators are selected and finalized, decision-making based on the results of them becomes ultimately important. If decisions are not made effectively, and then those performance metrics do not contribute to setting the right direction for the organization or help to improve the business result. Therefore, from digital transformation management perspective, business executives should play the number game wisely, understanding them well will enable better business conversation about what they are doing and how to set further guidance for leading change toward the right direction and unlock performance for the business’s long-term advantage.


Transparency: Effective performance management can improve business transparency and enforce employee accountability. No doubt about it, transparency is a fundamental factor for performance. Business transparency can help business executives tell a story of the journey from current state to future state, of enablement, of improvements, of accomplishments, of the implementation of digital business strategies. From IT management perspective, the well-selected set of metrics are those used to inform the business of multidimensional IT performance and value, with the goal to change the business perception of IT as a cost center.  IT leaders need to play the number game wisely to present IT value proposition on how to increase revenue, reduce cost, improve service/solutions, manage risks or enhance the corporate GRC disciplines, with transparency. These numbers should all be presented in business terms and evolve to something that matters to the business audience, at the same time that "business sentiment" needs to get put into something more tangible, with the goal to improve IT performance, transparency, and overall business management maturity.


Macro-management perspective: Performance metrics setting needs to strike the right balance of transactional measures and transformational measures. When IT performance management only focuses on the operational side of measurement, IT can only make linear, incremental improvement. It is not sufficient to run a digital IT organization. Playing the number game wisely means that performance management should bring up macro-management perspective, either for running IT or the entire business. All indicators must be related to the outcomes identified in the organization's strategic plans. You select the critical few and the KPIs are a combination of leading, lagging, financial and non-financial indicators. Every measure selected should be part of a link of cause-and-effect relationships, and ultimately affect the growth and long-term perspective of the organization. The good measurement aids setting the direction for the business and brings learning and growth perspective of the business. The good performance measure setting should focus on achieving the ultimate goals of the organization as a whole, not just the individual or the one team’s as well. The good performance measures have to accommodate digital organization investment outcomes that have a higher level of business value for the long run, with macro-management perspective.


Performance metrics are numbers in context, results related to the strategic goals of the business. The fewer the better, but they have to be credible and relevant also in the eyes of the stakeholders. And business leaders need to learn how to play the number game wisely, for making continuous improvement and accelerate business performance seamlessly.



Monday, October 16, 2017

The Monthly “Dot Connections: “Digital Attitude” Dots Connection Oct. 2017

There are multiple viewpoints to understand digital, and there is no one size fits all formula for digital transformation.


The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. There are many views to understand digitalization, and there is no one size fits all formula to pursue it. Each organization just has to connect the dots, "walk the talk," and explore their own way, start creating their own strategy and build their own differentiated business competency and “integrated whole,” to get digital ready.  

               “Digital Attitude” Dots Connection


Confidence vs. Arrogance?  Confidence is one of the most important leadership qualities to overcome challenges and deal with criticisms. Confidence is about having the right dose of ego to show self-respect, self-worth, self-esteem, self-awareness or self-actualization; but not about the overdose of ego showing arrogance or egotism. The management guru Peter Drucker has pointed out the greatest impedance to organizational success is too much ego or arrogance. This can be seen to encompass hubris. So, from the leadership perspective: What are the difference between confidence and arrogance? And how to become confident, not arrogant though?.
Likability vs. Respect vs. Trust Respect is based on being trustworthy and authentic. Likeability is subjective, people often like people who are similar to themselves, or have a certain charisma. Being likable or popular does not always earn you the respect. Trust starts with respecting. There are differences between likeability vs. respect. vs. trust.
Positivity vs. Optimism  Optimism comes from the Latin word Optimus, meaning "best," which describes how an optimistic person is always looking for the best in any situation and expecting good things to happen. Optimism is the tendency to believe, expect or hope that things will turn out well. A positive mental attitude is focused on strength, opportunities, and inspired actions. It is about being your best, not beating another in a negative way.
Persuasion vs. Manipulation? "Persuasion is the action or fact of persuading someone or of being persuaded to do or believe something." "Manipulation is the skillful handling, controlling or using of something or someone. " (dictionary.com) Persuasion is not manipulation, but whether the one is more negative than the other depends on who is making the assessment, and what’s the best way to solve the problem. Is persuasion more informative and manipulation more forceful?
Optimistic vs. Pessimistic Mind? An optimistic mind sees the sunny side of the things and the world; a pessimistic mind sees the dark side of the things and the world; there’s nothing absolutely right or wrong with both types of minds, but it is optimistic mind pushes the world moving forward and makes the life progressive. ?
The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with about #4100th 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.

Board Directors as the Digital Provocateur

Board directors as digital provocateurs need to play multiple roles well, as a policymaker, as an innovator, as a business critic or as a change agent.


Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. In order to lead today’s hyper-connected digital organizations with the hyper-diverse workforce, board directors should become the digital provocateur to drive changes and set the leadership tone for digital transformation; and the board composition should be synchronized with the digital perspective of the business, to advance its leadership maturity.


Digital mastermind: The corporate board as the advising role is responsible to steer the organization in the right direction and provides an “outside-in” view of the business via multidimensional lenses to oversee and advise business strategy. Under today’s “VUCA” business dynamic, It is challenging, and board directors must gain an in-depth understanding of the organization and its eco-environment in order to become the digital mastermind and a credible actor in the strategic dialogues. The fast-paced changes and overwhelming growth of information bring both significant opportunities for business growth and unprecedented risks businesses have to face. Thus, the board’s strategic oversight and business insight become even more critical. The board directors are the “mastermind” behind the digital transformation. The BoD also needs to gain a deeper understanding of the enterprise in order to be a credible actor in the strategic dialogue. Board directors are policymakers as well, they can co-develop the digital vision and recommend comprehensive digital playbooks with updated digital principles and next practices to guide the business through digital transformation.


Business critics: Digital boards should become more performance driven rather than compliance focus. The board directors as the business critics can provide excellent feedback which gives the top management accurate information to improve; great questions to self-aware; and keen insight to gain the in-depth understanding of the digital ecosystem. Therefore, critical thinking and strategic thinking capability are important for business directors as the business critic, who can provide excellent feedback which gives the top management invaluable advice to improve management effectiveness. The board directors are critical thinkers who can make constructive criticism about business strategies, identify blind spots and pinpoint potential pitfalls. Further, asking good and pertinent questions are critical for governing changes so that the board directors would have to be able to quickly assess any numbers and facts they are given, against applicable benchmarks and detect relevant hints for further questioning or confirmation.


Change leadership: With change as digital new normal, every business leader needs to become the change leader including board directors. Because change management is an interdependent ecosystem that includes many business factors such as, the company goals, policies, internal control requirements, customer experience improvements/customer satisfaction, etc., all should be synchronized without compromising the need for any item. Change cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished. It has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization. The corporate board sets policies and monitor business change performance. The well-setting policies and procedures for managing changes should help to track key processes, and expenditure of time, money, or energy, and every assignment of resources directly relate back to the "Why," to ensure changes. Board directors as change agents need to gain deep insight into how things work just by analyzing the aggregates, not necessary to dive into all the details.


Board directors as digital provocateurs need to play multiple roles well, as a policymaker, as an innovator, as a business critic or as a change agent. Digital boards are diverse and innovative, because at every level of organizations today, we need the different perspective, the multitude of insights, dynamic knowledge, and alternative ways to solve emergent and old challenging problems. No one will have all answers, the corporate board should practice collective leadership to enforce collaboration and foster innovation.