Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Modern CIOs’ Digital Mantra: Go Deeper to Lead Forward

CIOs need to have an in-depth understanding of the organizational interdependence in order to fine tune business structures and improve the strategic responsiveness of the business.

Organizations large or small are stepping into the deep, deep digital new normal with the overwhelming growth of information, continuous technological disruptions, as well as the VUCA” digital characteristics. The pace of changes in IT would force more CIOs to shift into transformation-oriented digital leadership roles because IT plays a significant role in driving the digital transformation of the company. Contemporary CIOs need to have multiple personas, explore the breadth and depth of the role and go deeper in order to lead forward.


CIOs should have the profound understanding about the digital ecosystem of the business: Running IT as the business becomes a new fixture for management in their efforts to substantiate their competitive position, effect market landscape, and drive new revenue growth. Digital IT is not just a service provider, but a business solutionary. The IT department provides guidance, support, assistance and direction in the application and adoption of information technology solutions in support of business objectives! Hence,  CIOs need to be able to recognize the struggles of the company by understanding the business beyond IT. The CIO must be a transformational leader that not only manages the IT group but also work to integrate and lead the integration, not the mere alignment of IT to business processes and present the strategic value proposition. In the end, it is not about technology, but what technology can do when it is enabling and integrating with change management and business processes to deliver strategic differentiation. Profits with ROIs, optimization for improving business efficiency should be the driving force behind IT management.  The breadth of the digital CIO role require IT leaders today to gain a deep understanding of the businesses ecosystem, including customers, employees, business partners, and all other stakeholders, the business's competitive landscape, industries, and leverage their technological visions for trendsetting and leading forward.


CIOs need to have an in-depth understanding of the organizational interdependence in order to fine tune business structures and improve the strategic responsiveness of the business: The “organizational structure design problem” would be to build the “best” mix of organizational elements (the supply side) that enable the organizational interdependence and responsiveness. Some organizations fail to capitalize on their great ideas because there was no structure in place to manage the ideas. What works and what doesn´t, depends on the nature of the organizational interdependence that needs to be enabled. Hence, IT is at the unique position to gain the in-depth understanding of the underlying business functions and processes, IT department is not a silo by itself and it draws its energy from within the organization. IT can be a "pioneering" division to walk the talk and lead the change within the organization. Because the latest digital technologies and collaborative tools provide great opportunities for the business to optimize the organizational design for improving cross-functional communication, mass collaboration, and harness innovation, with the ultimate goals to unlock the collective potential of the business. Structuring organizations to leverage its core and distinctive competencies is an important consideration for business optimization and strategy management.


CIOs should also gain the deep understanding of their talented people because they are the center of changes: Knowing something or somebody is not equal to understanding them well. Gaining deep understanding of people means truly knowing who they are, how they think, and who they want to become, not based on their physical identity, but seeing through their character, strength, thought process, learning agility, and personality. The variety of talent studies shows that the majority of people are not engaged in their jobs because their talent is not being utilized. One of the most challenging job for CIOs or any leaders or managers are to put the right people in the right position with the right capabilities to solve the right problems. The company can unleash its potential only via unlocking and amplifying their collective people potentials. Under awareness of the people-centricity, focus on which delivers the opportunity for increased productivity, greater efficiency, abundant creativity, and better engagement, you give employees the opportunity to thrive and as long as the roles of the functions remains clear, empower the staff to get on and do what they do best in the way that they do it best. When negative thinking and behavior are discouraged, creativity is inspired, change agents are recognized, then people feel supported and empowered, turf wars are less likely and information and wisdom more likely flow.


Due to the complexity of digital organizations and change nature of IT, modern CIOs have to go deeper in order to lead forward. The priority for CIOs is to genuinely position IT as an integral and inseparable part of the business. This is accomplished through establishing strong interdependent relationships, achieving operational excellence, improving staff/customer satisfaction and building superior sets of digital capabilities for making a leap of digital transformation.

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