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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

CIOs as Chief Insight Officer: How to Connecting the Dots via Pattern & Pattern Language

A Pattern Language is an attempt to express the deeper wisdom of what brings aliveness within a particular field of human endeavor.

Pattern has a few meanings, it’s usually about repeating artistic or decorative design: a paisley pattern; or a  natural or accidental arrangement or sequence. A plan, diagram, or model to be followed in making things. A consistent, characteristic form, style, or method. Or a composite of traits or features characteristic of an individual or a group., etc. (freedictionary.com) When patterns work together to solve problems in a particular area, these patterns are called a pattern language. The people learn a set of languages, and then apply several synergistically to produce a solution.


A pattern language is "about" the relationships between patterns - particularly the way you can navigate from pattern to pattern to learn about a problem space and to apply different solutions in combination. In particular, the pattern language tells you how one pattern "leads to" another, in the same way that one clause in a natural language might lead to another. But the person who reads and understands the pattern language still needs to decide how to apply that language to describe a set of problems and solutions. There are two approaches to patterns that are suited to different people.
- Learning a growing set of patterns so you can select one when it is useful.
- Learning what makes a good pattern good so you can derive your own solutions in each new situation.


Pattern language is an extension of the notion of ubiquitous language. Pattern Language would apply to a set of patterns implemented in a framework that you don't have to leave when creating your project. In other words, if the framework implements a set of patterns well enough that you can stay in the framework and concentrate on your business logic. Pattern language is an extension of the notion of ubiquitous language. As much as developers and users need a common vocabulary for getting domain, solution architects, developers and SMEs need a common vocabulary in the solution domain. Patterns map that vocabulary to the corresponding technical design and implementation. A pattern language provides an even-more (not less) meta level of work. In a pattern language, patterns often reference each other and using one pattern may add or remove applicability to another - they may interoperate. The patterns are grouped and sometimes pathed within an area of expertise (multiprocessing, GUI design, organizing people in a company) so that people without extensive experience can pick up the language and sometimes solve problems in unsurprisingly wise ways.

While frameworks are useful, the existence of a framework is independent of patterns and pattern languages. You can often describe a well-designed framework in terms of the patterns that are embodied in its implementation, and the patterns that might help you understand how to use and adapt it. It's possible that a pattern language might help you understand the framework. Meanwhile, a framework might capture certain paths through a pattern language, but if the language is truly generative, then it should be capable of describing multiple possible frameworks that respond to the same domain. An implementation of a pattern is not the pattern, and a framework of pattern implementations is not a pattern language. Programming languages evolve towards handling business objects (customer data and order data) more directly than dealing with setting a property on the customer object or serializing it and sending to a process for storing. The frameworks are useful, because they tend to abstract towards dealing with business logic directly.


Each pattern is useful to address some specific problem around fault tolerance / resilience; but resilience is a pretty broad topic and there's plenty of room to get lost in the details. Patterns are good in practice and definitely intellectually stimulating, someone ties the patterns together so you can navigate among them. But keep an eye on getting too bogged down in the minutiae, especially if it starts to hinder delivering valuable working software. The completeness of the language would take multiple patterns and the introduction of a framework would be a way to accomplish this. Language is what being used when seeing a pattern frequently enough to assign it words.


The language is the system of rules that say how patterns can be combined in ways that "make sense" syntactically and add insight semantically. A pattern language is a set of patterns that work together to solve the conflicting forces within a system. A human language is a system of rules: syntax, semantics, grammar, that allows us to generate meaningful statements, such that multiple people can understand that meaning in ways that are sufficiently similar, that we have communicated with one another. More abstractly, a language is generative in the sense that we can use the language to generate meaningful sentences, paragraphs, and books. If we have a set of patterns that bear some relationship to one another - usually because they are in some common domain, then we can compose those patterns to generate a larger design or architecture, in much the same way that human languages can generate sentences or paragraphs.


A Pattern Language is an attempt to express the deeper wisdom of what brings aliveness within a particular field of human endeavor, through a set of interconnected expressions arising from that wisdom. A pattern language can generate different solutions, for a given solution is the combination of the inner forces acting on the system with the pattern language applied to solve that particular combination of forces.  Aliveness is one placeholder term for the quality, a sense of wholeness, spirit, or grace, while of varying form, is precise and empirically verifiable.



Performance Management: Change the Name or Change the Mindset

There is a need to evaluate the performance of employees in more objective and continuous way.

People are always the most invaluable asset in the business, however, in most of the organizations, HR is still playing as an administrative role, instead of a strategic player, handle talent management, performance management, and culture management in silos, lack of strategic vision and integral process to manage them holistically. Rightfully in most organizations, the term "performance management" has a negative connotation as it tends to label processes that the business sees as,  at a minimum, administratively burdensome and at worst simply dreads. Many complained that the issue with the term ‘Performance Management’ is that it sounds too technical to use on humans. And it is actually intended to be technical. What are the real problems in today’s Performance Management, and shall you change the name or change the methodology?


Talent Development needs to covers two sides. It allows the employee to feel they are important and the organization is committed to their development. It also can drive supervisors thoughts on the process. It is not a management check in the box. It is required developmental conversations and strategic plans that are conducted with valued team members. The whole concept is obviously more involved than just a name change. Talent Management includes such things as optimizing the talents of employees at all levels, building a culture that supports the objectives that the employees are to achieve, providing positive reinforcement and corrective feedback and linking behaviors to appropriate consequences, and aligning the organization for success; it is not just about a performance appraisal or focusing solely on an individual. It is about optimizing an organization's most important assets, its employees and that requires many different initiatives and actions.


There is a need to evaluate the performance of employees in more objective and continuous way. There is a danger of not having a process to "develop and nurture" performance, bias and favoritism are common in the workplace. Waiting until once per year or even every six months to evaluate workers is also not enough to know key performance nor should it be. There is more to an employee's performance than metrics on an assessment form or survey. We are talking about human beings who have feelings, and are affected by different scenarios that could impact their daily performance. Some things could be within their control and then, there may be times when their performance is based on the outcome of others providing them needed resources for them to complete their job effectively. So the performance evaluation method can be somewhat bias and subjective; especially if the manager has not been providing effective feedback on a continual basis with employee each week. Managers tend to manage their employees based on what they want or expect, instead of tapping on what skills an employee already has which they can develop to do the job. So it’s not about managing performance, but developing or enhancing one’s capabilities.


Change assessment has to ensure the change stays on track: HR isn't going to "change" anyone or anything when the stakeholders don't want it. It's a paradigm/culture shift and, thus, it has to be co-created by the whole ecosystem. Passionate employees, front line leaders, top-level leaders who truly want a better way of being and achieving at work need to be equally accountable, with HR holding up the mirror of accountability and, ultimately, change assessment to ensure the change stays on track (or adjusts, as learning occurs). Peers can also help keep up performance by exchanging views of how to do things well, debriefing after situations in which they think things could have gone better and work out ways to improve. Having an open mind, accepting failure as a means to learn and improve, all these are some ways to make sure performance is up to standards. It’s critical to have open communication and willingness to improve. Managers who communicate regularly with their employees are more likely to know how each one is performing, as long as they take the trouble to interact with them and see how they are doing, as well as offering help where needed. When employees' mistakes (reasonable ones) are taken as opportunities to learn, at the individual or group level, enduring trusting relationships are created so that open communication channels are more likely to remain open.


HR plays strategic partnership role in setting effective processes and building high-performing culture: The HR professional in this era plays an influential role in supporting leadership to create an 'engaged' workplace culture that is aligned with their leadership values. An inspiring and motivating culture resolves for the most part, 'performance' concerns and shifts the mentality from 'managing' performance to building performance partnerships. Of course there will always be a minority of employees who are under -performers and the need for a process deal with these. There's the process of continually aligning abilities, talents, aspirations, etc., to important work that an organization needs to be done and of providing feedback to employees on how well the organization feels they are delivering on their commitments. This needs to be a multi-directional dialogue around accountability, feedback and continual adjustment of expectations and future commitments. Ideally, it involves more than just the employee and the manager, with the employee ideally being the primary driver and the manager mentoring if the employee doesn't care enough or know how to drive it. Talent Management includes such things as optimizing the talents of employees at all levels, building a culture that supports the objectives the employees are to achieve, providing positive reinforcement and corrective feedback and linking behaviors to appropriate consequences, and aligning the organization for success-- it is not just about a performance appraisal or focusing solely on an individual. It is about optimizing an organization's most important resources, its employees and that requires many different initiatives and actions.


HR has to have a selling mindset. While changing language changes perspectives, simply changing the words isn't a solution in its own right. You need a paradigm shift -- from a view of the employee needing to be pushed to an "acceptable" level of performance to a scenario where the organization and the individual collaborate transparently in a dynamically changing environment to determine where the individual (including everything that makes them who they are) will be able to achieve their potential in terms of both organizational and personal strategies and aspirations. This process includes ongoing bi-directional dialogue and adjustment, recognizing that the organization is both the buyer and the seller in the equation -- buyer in that the organization is purchasing an individual's time, and seller in that they are "selling" experiences, opportunities and financial compensation.


Performance Management is an important process which underpins organization’s collective human capability to achieve high performance. Whatever you call the process, the manager, and employee should share accountability for frequent dialogues around alignment, fulfillment, development, feedback, mutual value add. Engage in adult dialogue that makes the organization, team and role purpose clear and meaningful. Co-creates and coach around the plan of execution. Support, remove roadblock and above all - stay out of the way. Encourage the heart. Do managers add value to the employee's professional or personal goals, and objectives as well as the other way around? Such that both employer and employee are following through on stated commitments to each other.


Digital Strategy Tuning: How to Make Good Business ‘Assumptions’

"Assumptions" should be thought of as qualified projections rather than the best guess.

Running a business is a thorny journey, with a lot of uncertainty, complexity, and velocity on the way, what are basic business ‘assumptions’ mostly flawed or invalid when preparing business strategic planning? And how can organizational leaders make a continuous adjustment to ensure the business is “doing the right things” before doing things right, framing the right questions before answering them right?

"Assumptions" should be thought of as qualified projections rather than the best guess: Business can be only done on facts and that too objectively assessed while business decision requires imagination power, but the same needs to be validated at repeated intervals. Particularly, in the business planning process, assumptions should be kept to the minimum. The defining document of your business should not be based on assumptions. Of course, if you’re entering a space where there is no historical record of standards and procedure, it is acceptable to draw conclusions to some degree. But, keep in mind that every unsubstantiated element of your business plan is a loose brick in the wall of success! In the case of your strategic planning, "assumptions" should be thought of as qualified projections rather than the best guess.

Define three “Changes” to get reasonable control: Business leaders must relate their current business environment continually to those assumptions made when the plan was first devised. If these are changes in the assumed conditions, you must ask how this affects the business currently and going forward. Business benefits arise when people act in new ways. Customers, staff, partners need to do something different to make business benefits to occur. Therefore, investing in business improvements often fail because you try to forecast the result only. The fact is, you need to define three "changes" to get reasonable control. When you define these three kinds of changes, you find the KPIs to measure for each of them, and the change owners for them, Not doing this is the mother of all wrong assumptions.
(1). Enabler (2). Process change enabled (3). Results from process change.

Everything has more than one side and you have to master them all. As far as for assumptions, sometimes it’s inevitable that you have to make them, because you will never have complete information, and if you try to only act on what you know by fact, you are more likely to go wrong. Also, when trying to determine the macro environment, and how the factors there may influence your business strategic plan one way or another, it is difficult to move away entirely from assumptions. You can always put a semantic spin on the word and call them projections, but those "projections" are very often based on conjecture or assumptions. So you have to collect enough information, listen to different PoVs, and sometimes it can be very worthwhile to spend extra time to solve a problem excellently. You may find an insight you didn't find before. You may find a clearer way to think about the problem, which you can reuse next time you see a similar one.

Simplicity is crucial in both strategy and execution. It is so easy for us as human beings to over complicate the strategy and the execution. There are so many people that tie themselves up in the detail - is it a goal; is it an objective, they focus on the trees with ignorance of forest; so they lose sight of where they want to go. It’s important for staffs to understand strategy well in order to implement it; however, so often strategy can tie people up so much they lose sight of where they are heading, which is quite the paradox. At least if someone is in motion, it is easier to help them change direction or put framework (strategy) around where they are going and how they might get there. But if assuming resistance to change is not the issue, it will cause further issues later.  

Digital strategy is no longer a static “shelfware,” but dynamic shareware. A strategy is a tool to multiple definitive goals. As goals are met strategies should be reevaluated to ensure that proper goals are established and prioritized. Execution is bringing a strategic vision into reality. Execution can start once goals are clearly defined because there are two characteristics of the digital age: the decreasing lifetime that a strategy is relevant in today’s world, and the tenuous link between developing a strategy and getting an organization to execute it with speed and excellence. Translating strategic intent into meaningful action and making the needed changes stick can be difficult – and doing it frequently and at a fast pace, even more so. Failures happen when strategies are not maintained and relevant with a flawed assumption, or when the execution loses sight of the strategic goals.

The strategy is the vision of the future. Goals are measurable markers as we approach the vision. Execution is the road traveled from vision to reality. You have to adjust the assumptions, overcome the roadblocks. and execution requires consistency, correct and timely feeding, also cleaning up. When it is done well, you get the desired result.  


Customer Experience beyond Customer Service

Look at customer service as ordinary and customer experience as extraordinary.

Being customer-centric means from strategic making to execution, customer is the focal point from cross-functional perspective, and customer delight moves from customer service to customer experience and customer success. More specifically, what’re the differentiation between Customer Service and Customer Experience?


Look at Customer Service as ordinary and Customer Experience as extraordinary: Customer service is what is provided when Customer Experience isn't integrated to a project from the beginning! Customer service is what you do as part of company operations - it's the ordinary. Delivering an optimum experience requires the extra. It’s where customer expectation is exceeded on purpose!  Customer Service is what a company thinks it's providing. It's measured and reported internally. "Customer Experience" is how the customer perceives the service. It encompasses complex emotions that can be difficult to measure. The more channels a company has, the harder it becomes to maintain a consistent and efficient customer experience, typically widening the gap between what a company thinks it's providing and how the customer sees it. There is often talk of creating great service or wonderful experiences, without prioritizing the identification and targeting of pain-points to make it easier for customers to make the decision to purchase. It is a strategic level business decision to plan well and achieve optimal customer experience.


Customer experience is the sum of many parts to delight customers. It’s the way the customer experiences the brand of whole company, not just direct customer service interactions. Too many companies focus customer experience improvement efforts on just their direct customer service efforts, and sometimes only limited interactions in that service set, they forget all the other ways a customer is impacted and feels the effect of the company. The more customer contact points an organization has, the more difficult it is to meet and hopefully deliver on customers expectations. That said, extreme effort and resources have to be out towards doing so, otherwise failure is a real possible outcome. Customer Experience is the act of building a relationship between the customer-facing employees and the customer to create a bond with the company and enhance brand loyalty. Perfect customer experience would reduce a lot of spend on customer service.


It takes time, personal effort and resources to optimize customer experience, but it’s worth the effort. Being a leader in delivering an outstanding customer experience is not easy, but the return on investment is beyond any expectation any C-level could ever have, because that drive, has to come from the top, and the ongoing focus will summon his/her teams to endeavor to deliver an experience that will amaze each customer each and every time. Customer Service is the human and non-human instruments deployed by businesses to serve its customers. Customer Experience is the long lasting delight those services leaves in his/her heart. A customer delighted is a customer retained…


Either Customer Service or Customer Experience, the focus on customer success is the key, as it changes your way of thinking from reactive to proactive perspective - how do you make the customer successful, using the service, platform etc. Customer Experience says a lot more than just customer service, It’s the “WOW” factor to delight customers. There's an expectation of more than just service now, but for future as well.

An Anti-Digital Mind: A Bureaucratic Thinking

Bureaucratic thinking generates negative energy which stops organizations from moving forward.

The word "bureaucracy" is often seen in pejorative circumstances. Though, its roots being: bureau(fr) = desk and kratos(gr) = rules/ power, it can embrace different meaning: According to dictionary.com, bureaucratic is “a system of administration based upon organization into bureaus, division of labor, a hierarchy of authority, etc, designed to dispose of a large body of work in a routine manner." From this perspective, it seems the larger the organization and inputs, the larger the amount of 'rules' necessary for its function and to keep dependent variables and outputs delivery stable. At industrial age, most of the organizations are running at silos, with the top down organizational structure, bureaucracy thinking is perhaps understandable, because “command and control” is part of business culture. However, in the digital environment in which organization’s function become more dynamic, the environment changes quicker than the 'speed' with which rules and processes can be changed, does bureaucratic thinking become the intolerable mindset to stop the change and mental barrier to stifle innovation? What makes the difference between bureaucracy and a 'healthy' organization?


Bureaucratic thinking divides “thinking” and “working”: With increasing rate of changes, the organization needs to be adapted in such a way that it can respond effectively to these dynamic changes and to variety in the environment. That requires a different kind of 'control,' for example, the control on desired outcomes, keep the end in mind. With that new kind of 'control,' organizations can be structured for example according to client-groups with multidisciplinary units which have the responsibility and authority to structure their own activities on the operational level. So from a managerial point of view, the 'Command & Control' changes from commanding What to do, When, How and by Whom towards a 'Command & Control' by defining the desired OUTPUTS. In these organizations the division between 'working' and 'thinking' is replaced by combining and integrating 'working and thinking' at the operational level, where people do the real work by unifying mind, heart and hands.


Bureaucratic thinking is a reason behind change inertia or vice versa? If analogizing an organization as a human body, it depends on where the resistance is aimed, if it is aimed against remedy, then it’s a pathogen; but if it’s aimed against the disease, it is from the immune system. The immune system protects and shields us against illness, and it also resists and fight against all agents threatening our well-being. More often, resistance is an attribute of the pathogen, not of the immune system, and the growth in resistance causes a concomitant loss of immunity. If resistance increases by one-third, immunity also decreases by one-third. Going forward, it’s all about the balance of avoiding any excess in setting the 'rules,' but remain the necessary control, and ultimately, a proper homeostatic system designed, seem to protect an organization's immunity and keep the business healthy. Levels and ways of inertia manifestation could be a criterion for measuring organizational health.


Bureaucratic thinking generates negative energy: It is about fear of failure; fear to get out of old habits (known style of doing things), fear to lose the status quo. It makes people feel threatened, that’s why learning is stressful. Overcoming personal fear of failure is the greatest challenge. What is resisted is to come out of one's comfort zone and learn something new. At one side, people resist learning, on the other hand, they fear to lose their positions or chances for promotion and growth. In such confusion, when they want to protect themselves, and at the same time, do not want to take a rational step towards learning, they may switch to their primal self, and generate negative emotions: envy, jealousy, blaming, flattery and so on…because all emotions described above release negative energy, and would not help to adopt the right course of action. We will have to remove all this negative energy and fill with positive ones to get to the right action - learning, adapting and maturing.


The business culture - the collective thinking depends on the maturity of the organization - in terms of its leadership and vision. Bureaucracy = Process Inefficiency. No Bureaucracy ≠ No Rules. When you design business processes by state flow instead of activity flow, and by using various categories of rules instead of the usual 'command and control' rules. That's a real good solution for defining a framework for activities, and at the same time keeping the necessary flexibility in place. Management of any type is a complex interaction of many cognitive systems, and in a knowledge society, we assume that we follow rational decision-making, but, in fact, our experience tells us that we observe highly technical and rational people acting on impulses / gut feeling or so-called “irrational mind” in spur of moments. The bureaucratic thinking (cause of change inertia) and irrational thinking (creating the blind spot in decision making) are the pitfalls at mindset level to stop organizations from a seamless digital transformation. It’s the time to shift these industrial thinking modes to the digital way, and create synchronicity in various cognitive systems.









Do the Rules Stifle innovation

Breaking rules is indeed an important part of creativity. Innovation needs a level of guidance.

Innovation is to transform the novel idea and achieve its business value. It is a business discipline which can be managed. In many organizations, perhaps there is an innovation department specifically setting the rules to take charge of innovation. The paradox is that all creative activities are subversive in questioning the status quo. Setting rules and goals for creativity goes against the very nature of creativity and thus inventiveness and innovation. So does innovation department stifle innovation? Isn't there a more fundamental problem to innovation failures? What should be done if the rest of the company is hostile to innovation? Should the company give up on innovation?


Breaking rules is indeed an important part of creativity. And ideas should never be evaluated (referring to criteria and goals) in the ideation phase. However, ‘business creativity’ such as using creative thinking for business goals, does require certain ‘rules.’ To get the best results, you need to structure the creative process. For instance, depending on where you are in the process, you might want to ‘force’ people to rephrase a challenge, let them view an idea from different perspectives, temporarily forbid criticism, set time limits, apply thinking techniques, each with their own ‘rules’ etc. It seems that the more integrated and culturally based innovation or imagination is, the more sustainable and productive such initiatives are. If an innovation department operates without being an integral part of every other department, it certainly could be counterproductive. Therefore, overly rigid process or too ‘pushy’ goals will stifle inventiveness and innovation.


Innovation needs a level of guidance. Innovation has to deliver business objectives, otherwise, it is a just invention. The innovation leaders need to become a master at persuasive communications through proposals, pitches, scenarios, analysis and stories that might resonate with the company. You can only do as much as you are "invested" in the company. It's complicated. The truth is that companies will succeed if they have the right chemistry and others will fail because they don't. If the truth is considered "destructive negativism" that culture must change or it eventually will self-destruct.  Innovation is somewhere between invention and implementation - finding new and different ways of doing things. Innovation is doing something better than it currently is. Hence, it requires a sound and competent understanding of what is currently being done. Not what others are good at. It's a mindset.


Innovation Management needs the right kind of governance to thrive. Practically speaking: When there is an innovative idea; the governance mechanisms dictate how that idea is fostered from inception to retirement. Traditional business governance for an operational excellence enterprise will kill innovation. If innovation management is like the pedal to accelerate speed of the car, then business governance is the steering wheel to keep a straight line or take a turn at that velocity of strategic planning processes and business execution scenario; the headlights to do forecasting of what lays ahead (risk or opportunity); fuel gauge, speedometer (metrics); the brakes to slow or continue (resource management) etc. etc. Governance needs to set the framework for innovation management as an enabling approach. Governance by definition does not set corporate strategy that is management’s responsibility. Governance does not define company culture, which is one of the key contributors/enablers for innovation. Remember governance isn’t just about putting restrictions on what you can do, it is also about monitoring and knowing when things are not going to plan so that you can take appropriate action at the right time.


Never give up, or you risk obsolescence. Spreading awareness about market trends in your industry and with your competitors can aid motivation. It's also helpful to perform whatever type of analysis/research that's possible to ask several "levels of why" to learn more about the roots of this resistance to innovation. There may be some surprising reasons for this culture. All you need is a handful of courageous change agents to move an entire company forward. The most difficult situation is when a company has been successful in the past, and people do not want to accept that the old business model is sinking. In industries looking decline in the eyes, the same phenomenon can be observed. People don't believe that their company is in danger of perishing because they just cannot or don't want to see it. Any differing view is considered destructive negativism. Dealing with such a situation is quite a challenge.


The business is complex, the people are complex, and the world is complex, It takes out-of-box thinking and open leadership style to spark innovation, but the right set of rule and governance framework are also important for innovation enablement and complexity management under today’s “VUCA” working dynamic in order to achieve business value from innovation.






Sunday, June 28, 2015

Why is Poor performance not on the HR agenda?

It's time for HR and Senior Management/Leadership to begin investing in the most important resource they have, people.

People are the most invaluable asset in the business, however, in most of organizations, people management are dysfunctional, silo, quantity driven and short-term focused, lack of holistic approach to manage performance, culture, talent, and leadership development more effectively. Some even concern why is poor performance not on the HR agenda? What are the factors that decide on the culture of a company? And How can business executives and HR professionals work hand-in-hand to build a high-performance digital workplace?

Performance management is the responsibility of HR as well as the manager/supervisor. HR is responsible to establish the guidelines and process that the manager needs to follow. The manager is accountable for the execution of the process. The proper utilization of performance management requires consistent and frequent feedback from the manager to the employee. During these feedback sessions, the manager should review the performance targets outlined at the beginning of the year against actual performance. This will allow the manager to grasp the opportunity to determine the causes of the performance issue and support the employee needs to correct it.


HR advisers often discourage the addressing of poor performance rather than encouraging it! Too many performance systems focus on periodic evaluations, rather than ongoing performance "management" in the truest sense of the word. The other problem is the lack of consistent performance documentation by managers.The reason why poor performance is not on the HR agenda is because it is outside many HR professional’s comfort zone. Advising effectively on gross misconduct issues is reasonably safe as there are normally clear facts to work on and a clear process to follow. Poor performance, however, is not so clear cut, issues can be complicated, opinions rather than facts are involved, there are few processes to follow and judgement calls need to be made. Many HR professionals are not comfortable when being asked for advice on a poor performance issue because it’s grey area stuff and the risk of giving the wrong advice is high, potentially opening up them to criticism. Many believe that lack of management training is the issue and managers do not know what to do when dealing with a poor performer. The plain fact is that many HR practitioners do not know what to do either. HR certainly have a good understanding of what ‘not to do,’’ but not a great deal of knowledge of ‘what to do.’ In a lot of occasions, managers know the process that need to be followed and select not to address the performance issue. It requires skills, time and effort to address performance issues, and managers may not have the time or it is not on their list of priorities. Sometimes, the manager is not comfortable in confronting the issue. However, at the end of the day, we are all accountable for the performance.

"Deliberate Leadership Development" is what is needed. It's time for HR and Senior Management/Leadership to begin investing in the most important resource they have, people. Increasingly, it seems that companies are doing less and less to engender company loyalty, respect and faithfulness. If more attention is paid to developing leadership at the lower echelon of the company hierarchy, companies would see a reduction in employee turnover, an increase in productivity and overall more success, whatever the business. Effective leaders know how to engage employees who are performing poorly and find positive ways to turn that employee around, or when necessary, hold that employee accountable. They also have to work at "culture and values" issue. It requires waiting for senior leadership to lead more appropriately for leadership to effectively rise from somewhere else, including from HR people who see what's going on. Sometimes, senior leadership's inability to deal forthrightly with poor performance issues is brought even more to light by someone lower on the organization chart saying (metaphorically and non-anxiously), "the emperor has no clothes." Leadership is far less a function of one's position, and more the "result" of a person who can step outside the emotional climate of the workplace, stay in relationship with those still in it, and non-anxiously observe and question what he or she sees.


For performance to improve, ongoing feedback should take place: Poor performance is not on the HR radar because when performance reviews are conducted, there is too much emphasis on the evaluation, and not on the prescribed performance interventions needed to improve performance. Managers at all levels should be giving frequent, honest, specific behavioral feedback about all aspects of performance and with managers an important performance criterion is how well they are coaching. There seem to be few organizations that pay much attention to this aspect. Organizations hammer managers and supervisors on completing these instruments, but have not trained them on how to prescribe, how to improve it. Managers at all levels need to tailor performance agreements with each of their direct reports. The agreement specifies the goals to be achieved for a set period and how the results will be measured. This agreement establishes the criteria to be used for performance evaluation with each person. It takes a little time and some communication/negotiation between the manager and each employee, but the payoff is very clearly defined expectations and an evaluation based on expected results and how well they are achieved. For performance to improve, ongoing feedback should take place. Motivators such as achievement, progress, growth, and recognition should be incorporated in day-to-day interactions. Management is still responsible as they are the closest to the performance, but HR should lead the conversation to more effective practices. A once-a-year performance review and one time goal setting doesn't drive performance. Ongoing feedback, highlights motivational aspects (progress) and approaches performance from a growth & development perspective compared to the current fix-what's-broken perspective. HR should guide where possible, but you cannot allow the HR team to manage poor performance for you, each manager should and does deal with things differently that makes them unique. It is also important to integrate talent management, performance management and culture management into a holistic people management discipline in order to build a people-centric culture and focus on businesses’ long term prosperity.


It is in the best interest of both HR and Management to improve employee performance. After all, good performance affects positively the bottom line of any organization. Managers know what they need to do; they know it is all about giving feedback and setting objectives, they know the procedures and they know the damage an unprofessional mindset or under-performer can have to team morale and business performance. The end result is managers feel supported and want to invest the time and effort in dealing with poor performance, mediocre mindset and culture, and they create synergy to make talent management as top business priority.

What are the most Important Knowledge Management Skills

Digital Knowledge Management is not managing knowledge as an object, it enables knowledge flow, transcend into wisdom.

Knowledge is power!Today’s forward-looking organizations all claim they are in the information management business because information is the lifeblood, knowledge, and insight are the true competitive advantage. Today’s digital workforce has to learn, de-learn and re-learn all the time, as on one hand, information is only a few clicks away; on the other hand, the knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened, hence, Knowledge Management (KM) becomes strategic imperative for business information management and talent management as well. What do you think the top three skills for knowledge managers are today? Which skills do you think will be in demand five to ten years from now?


Holistic Thinking: KM means something different to many different people. The skills needed depend on the specific job description of the KM in a Company. The emergent digital technology and Knowledge Management platforms are changing the way organizations do Knowledge Management. Digital Knowledge Management is not managing knowledge as an object, it is providing the management system that enables knowledge flow. Technology does change the way KM and KM platforms have evolved, the new technology has always been a driver. Managing information and knowledge becomes more critical than ever in the digital era, the static KM approach is too slow to adapt to the changes and dealing with exponential information growth, the more dynamic approach needs to well mix top-down structure & standard with bottom-up flexibility & customer satisfaction. This requires a strategic thinking and holistic view at the entire knowledge environment and identifying how the KM initiative aligns with the company or business unit objectives. The idea of "seeing the whole"; or helping people reach a shared understanding of the whole, seems to be both a common thematic element for people who explore possibilities of effecting wholesale change and a necessary, powerful catalyst for doing so.


Soft-skills with People-centricity: Fundamentally KM is all about the people and these core behaviors won't change over time. The definition for KM is a rather wide one. There appears to be a wide consensus that soft-skills are the ones that are most in demand! There is a set of underlying skills that will last over a 5-20 year time period. Emotional intelligence/people skills, an understanding of the underlying technology, and a willingness and ability to adapt to technology changes, communication, listening, self-reflection; It is also important to have the ability of multitasking combined with a WE-thinking approach, long-term strategy, and enterprise view, and do not to forget about patience! Knowledge and skills can be learned and acquired with the right attitude. Changing people's attitude or behavior is so much harder than training them for the right skills or knowledge. Also some of the things mentioned in 'The Shift in Hiring: Hiring mindset and attitude: 'passion for serving customers', 'desire to learn.' Hire for attitude, train for skill and knowledge.


Wisdom: It takes wisdom to manage wisdom. Wisdom Management is the high level of Knowledge Management. Knowledge is Information or experience; it is a collection of facts and raw data. What one does with the raw data requires wisdom. Wisdom is an umbrella term, at its best, it is the amalgamation of thought, analysis, planning, prediction of consequences, and so on. It is necessary to educate people to become aware of the many dimensions of any particular initiative. The Wisdom Management is to manage collective wisdom which gains more knowledge that creates more wisdom. Understanding of wisdom in the data, information, knowledge and wisdom spectrum is that wisdom is the application of knowledge to solve practical problems in running businesses more effectively.


KM is a lot about diplomacy - engaging and persuading people to take part so it can be delicate and it takes a long-term negotiation, but when people buy in, they stay, The "rhythm" of KM needs to be synchronized with the rhythm of work, so that "KM thoughts and actions" are triggered as part of the working cycle. Hence, it takes knowledgeable and insightful mind and learning agile attitude to manage knowledge more dynamically and holistically.

Digital Master Tuning #100: What’s the Recipe for Digital Leadership

Digital leaders have multi-layer, multi-level quotients and skills.


Leadership is about future, the art of persuasion and the science of disciplines, it’s about the inspiration and motivation; innovation and progression. By choosing to lead, you must have a vision and intention for making that choice. But is there such a secret recipe for digital leadership?


Multi-layer, multi-level quotients, and skills: The leadership skills required for professionals in any organization must be built on the foundation of the moral competencies –wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance. The next skill level up is mental agility, adaptive capacity, then your EQ (Emotional Quotient), SQ (Strategy Quotient), CQ (Creativity Quotient), PQ (Paradox Quotient), or AQ (Adversity Quotient) skills. Then you can add on influence, such as persuasive skills, motivational skills, political skills, decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, conflict management skills, and finally conceptual skills.


Empowerment, encouragement, and engagement: The effectiveness of leadership is sometimes undermined and limited by the inability to empower others and help them to develop, for reasons such as the desire to work safety, the fear of becoming replaceable, resistance to change, the loss of self-worth. But with these behaviors, the leader becomes a limit for his or her own team or organization: Weakens the members of his/her team and creates barriers that people of the team can not overcome. People will give up and become passive, or go elsewhere, where they can increase their potential. The effective digital leaders are both confident and humble,  they don’t care about others think about them to feel valued, but strongly believes in him/herself, they have no problem to lend empowerment, encouraging people to grow, improve and innovate. The veneration of your team workers need be complimented and appreciated in ideas, in views that are consistent, credible submissions, research orientations, conformity in operational effectiveness and within industry guidelines.


Authentication discovery and professional investment: The qualitative leaders must be very open to knowledge. It's important to keep the ingredients fresh by investing in personal and professional development regularly. You also need to know what ingredients matter to you to get the outcome that you want. Stop trying to be someone other than who you really are! By connecting with your true strengths and leveraging who you really are, and then, of course, doing the hard work that is required to build more strength you can create success. Many of us need guidance to get beyond years of conditioning to discover our true strengths, but it's a vital ingredient to building success. Once you escape from trying to be someone that you are not, you will be in the position to create positive situations for yourself and discover that luck is an outcome of doing courageous stuff as a result of knowing who you really are and building on your natural strengths. Also, you have to learn the new ways to do the things or the trends that may not be known to you, the world is moving fast too; remember you can always change the tone of an old song, rearrange and make it better, that is wisdom and wise experience, that is adaptability.


Leadership is an influence and a practice, there is no magic recipe otherwise. Good leaders are continually practicing, experiencing, learning, adjusting, and they understand that ultimate mastery of leadership does not exist. The path to mastery is something that unfolds day by day. The future leadership should think that every minute of their time counts. There is no time to waste.

Digitalization is like a flywheel, and Digital Masters are the one riding above it. Surf more Information about Digital Master:

Brain vs.Mind

Brain is the hardware and the mind is the software with the totality in action, so the brain with mind is the hardware plus software.

MIND is a coherent (internally self-consistent) abstract system which converts signals from some sort of sensors into meaningful symbols or concepts (implicitly quantizing them), reorganizes them in light of known historical symbol patterns from its own unique symbol field, and converts them back again into signals for some sort of actuators. “Thought” is the name commonly given to the symbol processing operations of such a mind, when it is believed to be “conscious,” but perhaps a more liberal view is justified. A conscious mind is precisely the ability to use its free will to develop and assign symbols to inputs and outputs so as to create a meaningful symbol system with which to interact with the rest of reality. (The glossary in Mind Made Real). The way we describe things like "thought," "mind," "brain," and relate them with each other can cause confusion or ambiguity. We could make things clearer if we say that brains perform a variety of actions, and one of those actions we call "thinking."


Minds are learning systems. A mind is the subjective and qualitative aspects of a self-organizing system of energy in which the system builds models of itself and its environment in order to predict future patterns of experience. The keys to the success of model-building are memory,  abstraction and categorization, so a mind is an embodied system that uses memory and abstraction to categorize experience. This capacity for mind evolved because there is a distinct advantage to continuous (minute-to-minute) behavioral adaptability. In other words, an organism with a "mind" is able to "evolve" from moment to moment, rather than relying just on the slow multi-generational evolution. The mind is being the subjective and qualitative aspect of brain. Maybe part of the confusion here is that equating brain and mind, forgets that mental events are conscious processes. It might be more accurate to say that brain processes are identical to mind processes. A brain that does not process, is not functional or alive, cannot necessarily allow for mental events to occur.


"Brain" and "mind" are labels for things distinct, but interconnected. Each brain projects something similar, but perspective, experience, sensitivity vary from individual to individual. The brain is an apparatus, a tool is wired for collective sensation and awareness. The mind is something more personal. It is a label that individuals create for that collective sensation or awareness that is on their own. The collective sensation is one's perspective, experience, memory, imagination, the world is projected by the brain through the collection of sensations and ideas that we are sensitive to and intrigued by. One’s collective sensation (mind) is not metaphysical, it is complex and not accessible by other one’s mind, so one can understand how others may deny the distinction between mind and brain. Although the mind is inseparable from the brain (inseparable, but not identical). When the apparatus (brain) ceases to work, so too does the collective sensation, much like what happens when you turn off an electronic device.


The "mind" is traditionally referring to consciousness or awareness. That consciousness is a feature of brain processes, the conscious processes are identical to brain processes, and perhaps that non-conscious processes are identical to brain processes as well. So both conscious and non-conscious processes are identical to brain processes. Consciousness emerges / transforms. Brain states transform. There are particular kinds of brain states and processes: non-conscious brain states, possibly sub-conscious brain states and conscious brain states. There could be more if there is a continuum between non-conscious to conscious brain state activity, which would mean that we have simply, in an arbitrary fashion, punctuated points in this continuum to select and name different brain states as modes of conscious processes; and emergence is simply the transformation of non-conscious/sub-conscious brain states into conscious brain states; and dissipation of consciousness relies upon the reversal of this process. So, the transformations of conscious states are identical to the transformation of particular brain states.

Brain is the hardware and the mind is the software with the totality in action, so the brain with mind is the hardware plus software. Mind is probably not brain in action alone. It may also be a whole-body phenomenon, with inputs from environment as well. So mind is much more than an active brain.

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