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

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

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

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Fit” Book Tuning: The Portmanteau Words to Convey Digital Fit Feb. 2018

Digital makes a significant impact on every aspect of the business from people, process to technology, both horizontally and vertically. Digital becomes the very fabric of high performing business, being outside-in and customer-centric is the new mantra for forward-looking and high mature digital organizations today. But what are digital organizational traits, how to define digital fit and take a structural approach for digitalization?

             

The Portmanteau Words to Convey Digital Fit  

Three Portmanteau Hybrid Words to Envision a Digital Organization? Organizations large or small are on the journey to digital transformation, it is not an overnight phenomenon, but a well-planning strategy with the step-wise approach. There are physical buildings and virtual, always-on working environment; there are next innovation practices and “always do things like this” best practices; there’s abundance of information but still the scarcity of insight. It is the hybrid business world full of options. Digital is the age of alternatives, here are three portmanteau hybrid words to convey the management principles in running a digital organization.

The New Book “Digital Fit - Manifest Future of Business with Multidimensional Fit” Chapter 1 Introduction: The Characteristics of Digital Fit Digital organizations are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades and intensity. They are hyperconnected and over-complex, with well-mixed physical workplace and virtual team setting. Like people, every organization has its own personality and digital fit characteristics, how do you define organizational fit, in order to build innovative and high-performing teams and transform the whole organization into the digital master?

“Coopetition” as the digital Characteristic Competition is part of the natural dynamics of life. In nature, competition is for evolution; in business, competition is for surviving and thriving. In the silo industrial age, the competition is about commanding and controlling to keep the status quo; and now we are stepping into a deeper and also far more advanced digital era steadily, the goal of the healthy competition in the human society is to encourage innovation and accelerate the speed of progression.

“Simplexity” as the Characteristic of Digital Maturity
Modern businesses become over-complex every day, they also become part of the dynamic and complex digital ecosystem. If we accept the business and the world are complex, somewhat unpredictable or not completely predictable, we have to accept uncertainty. Because uncertainty comes with complexity. Simplicity vs. complexity is not only an age-old dilemma but also the opposite ends of the same spectrum. Complexity can either stimulate or stifle innovation. In fact, “Simplexity” is a portmanteau word to reflect the digital reality and how to strike the right balance to achieve the next level of digital maturity.

An “Inclusiversity” Mind Historically, diversity was a popular buzzword starting in the early 1980s, since then, Fortune 500 corporations, both public and private sectors, large and small organizations have all been doing “diversity work.” Today, employers are moving towards a new trademarked word and initiative - ‘Inclusiversity - This word is the combination of Inclusive and Diversity. thereby combining the inclusion of differences. By definition, it takes into account the state or fact of being complete with all the differences, unlikeness, and divisions. The word is most noteworthy first and foremost as it is intended to include others, include different ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds. The prefix ‘div’ seems to have a negative connotation associated with the words such as division, divide, divergent, and prefix‘in’ has the positive connotation associated with the words such as information, intention, or intelligence. The hybrid word “inclusivesity” will imply the right balance of difference and commonality.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2+million page views with about #4500+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. blog posting. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom, to inspire critical thinking and spur healthy debates. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.

The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Quote Collection 1

The purpose of “Problem-Solving Master - Frame Problems Systematically and Solve Problems Creatively“ is to throw some light on how to understand, frame, and solve today’s multilayer, interdependent, and over-complex business problems effortlessly. Digital leaders and professionals should self-aware of their role in problems, show professional maturity, and develop a good reputation as the problem-solver.
1 One of the biggest challenges for modern management is how to put the right people with the right capability in the right position to solve the right problem at the right time.

2 The problem-solving mindset has synthetic nature with multi-level thinking processes involved, such as strategic thinking, systems thinking, critical thinking, creative thinking, and empathetic thinking, etc.

3 The frame is, framing the right problem is equally or even more important than solving it.

4 Change is not for its own sake, the very purpose of the change is often for problem-solving.

5 People who can solve problems in a new way are the innovators.

6 Systems Thinking is a mixed bag of holistic, balanced and often abstract thinking to understand things profoundly and solve problems systematically.

7 Digital technologies provide new frontiers for work systems, and the information is the gold mine for the digital business.

8 The challenge for improving problem-solving effectiveness is on how to prioritize what you know about and keep an eye open for signs of things you don’t know about.

9 It comes down to how people perceive: A “problem” for one, is an “opportunity” for the other.

10 Emotional intelligence is the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem-solving.

11 Problem-solving has a very wide scope and takes the interdisciplinary approach.

12 Building a comprehensive problem-solving framework is about leveraging a structured methodology that allows you to frame problems systematically and solve problems creatively.

13 Diagnosing the problem from the mindset level is the critical step for digging into the root causes of many problems today.

14 That challenge about insight is that knowledge can be taught, insight cannot be taught completely.

15 Innovation is not for its own sake, but for problem-solving.

16 Being holistic suggests a genuine sense of exploration and innovation or simply creative problem-solving.

17 Keep sharpening problem-solving skills, always dig under the surface, and build a good reputation as an insightful problem-framer or a mindful problem-solver.

18 A good question is a halfway of problem-solving.

The Endogenous and Exogenous drivers of Digitalization

With the increasing pace of change and unprecedented uncertainty, enterprises of the future are increasingly exhibiting “VUCA” characteristics in various shades and intensity. Companies have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation, in order to adapt to the new business dynamic. Organizations need to have both endogenous and exogenous drivers, both internal and external focus when it comes to lead digitalization.

Endogenous drivers:
Traditional organizations are hierarchical and mechanical, they perhaps operate OK in the considerably static industry age with the slow pace of change and information scarcity. However, it is not capable of addressing the needs of today’s more dynamic, information-explosive and complex changing world. So, it is failing, and all attempts to solve the existing challenges through the lens of the old paradigm is also failing. The “hard” issue to stifle the organizational change and business performance is that the systems, processes, and technologies many organizations are using to manage the business are becoming inefficient or outdated in this rapidly changing world. The digital convergence of devices and services are creating new business models and revenue source as most companies across industries are being forced to become technology companies and run information businesses. The soft forces such as culture or communication also need to be rejuvenated to catalyze changes. Organizations also have to tailor their management styles to make these soft business elements well mixed into organizational competency. Both these hard and soft internal focuses are more of what has been called the endogenous forces of the business. The hard forces of digitization are disruptive and push the organization to adapt to the dynamic environment. But the soft business elements can truly touch the mind and heart, and make change sustainable. Designing a highly adaptive organization, that is a sociotechnical system, is the order of magnitude more difficult than designing a mechanical or technical system. The companies must reclaim the right balance of standardization and innovation, process and flexibility; stability and change, competition and collaboration, etc. The part of this journey is also to prepare people for the new structures and to recognize this is a crucial step, talent multiplication moves from a key competitive mindset to an important and distinctive source of competitive advantage- innovation capability. Because one of the key determinants of whether an organization can move to new digital structures is the development level of the people. People have to be ready for moving to a more fluid structure and dynamic digital new normal.

Exogenous drivers:
Digital business is dynamic and expansive, with blurred functional, organizational, and geographical boundaries. The new age of digital thinking attributes value and purpose to the ecosystem, and understand that the real-world development is multifaceted, non-linear, unrepeatable, and unpredictable, with exogenous drivers which couldn't be controlled completely. The digital enterprise consists of an amalgam of socio-systems, techno-systems, bio-systems, and Econo-systems. In order to succeed in today’s fast-changing business world, harnessing the power of ecosystems is critical. You have to gain the interdisciplinary understanding via the multitude of dimensions (socio-cultural, socio-technical, socio-economic, organizational, scientific, philosophical, psychological, or artistic, etc). You can't expect an individual to fully develop such broad-based concepts, it takes the team effort, and more importantly, team coordination. Many companies have never been better positioned to engage in multi-industry collaborations. But few have broken out of the static industry box, treats customers, channel partners, suppliers, and industry ecosystem participants as active agents for co-solving crucial business problems or creating new business ideas or models, to catalyze changes and accelerate digitalization. Instead of being rigidly grouped around a specific business, ecosystems draw together mutually supportive companies from multiple industries that collectively seek to create differentiated offerings and capture value they could not reach alone.

Everything is interconnected and the business ecosystem becomes more interdependent and dynamic than ever, the all-permeating information has made every object of the digital system and nature responsive, communicative, and innovative. By understanding both these endogenous and exogenous drivers of digitalization well, businesses can make the radical shift from a silo, linear classic management style to a holistic and nonlinear management discipline.

Friday, February 23, 2018

The Monthly “12 CIO Personas” Book Tuning: CIOs as “Chief Influence Officer” Feb. 2018

Compare to the other executive positions, the CIO role continues to be shaken up, refined, reinvented and reenergized. The magic “I” of the CIO title sparks many imaginations and modern CIOs need to wear different hats and play multiple roles. Here are a set of blogs to brainstorm digital CIOs as “Chief Influence Officers.”

          


CIOs as “Chief Influence Officer”


The New Book “12 CIO Personas” Chapter 12 Introduction: The CIO as “Chief Influence Officer”? Contemporary CIOs face many leadership dilemmas: Being sustainable or disrupt? Keep status quo or being innovative? Act as a business executive or an IT manager? Traditional CIOs have been perceived as tactical IT managers, running IT as a support function to keep the lights on. Digital CIOs today must develop their leadership competency to make multidimensional influence across the organization and the digital ecosystem. There are many personas for digital CIOs today, one of the most pertinent ones is “Chief Influence Officer,” who develops influential competence to amplify leadership effect and master both business understanding and technological knowledge to practice expert power.

Digital CIOs’ Three Practices to Amplify Leadership Influence With the exponential growth of information and emerging digital technologies, CIOs will continue to be put on the front line for driving innovation and leading digitalization. They need to ensure their organizations are ready for change, space and time are made to scope, plan and execute. CIO role should be continually reinvented to fit for the new digital paradigm shift. IT leaders have to play multiple personas and leverage multidimensional management disciplines to explore the breadth and depth of the role and go deeper in order to lead forward. Here are CIOs’ three digital practices to amplify their leadership influence.

The Intellectual "VOICE" of Digital CIOs? The digital organization is a living business in the relationship with its environments, customers, suppliers, and above all enhances and supports the creative human spirit via connecting, discovery, and experimentation. IT continues to grow in importance to organizations, both operationally and as a competitive advantage. Thus, digital CIOs must raise the intellectual VOICE, not via speaking louder, but via thinking profoundly, communicating insightfully, and leading innovatively.

CIOs as "Chief Influence Officer": Three Views to Enforce CIO Leadership Influence? With overwhelming growth of information and fierce competition, now we are approaching the inflection point in which businesses are facing accelerating changes and can be disrupted even overnight. The digital CIO is no longer the tedious management role to keep the lights only now, there are many critical leadership traits in digital CIO; there’re many roles they have to play for leading IT up to the next level of organizational maturity. Here are three views CIOs can provide to enforce leadership influence.

How Can Digital CIOs Amplify Their Contemporary Leadership Voice? Due to the speed of changes and overwhelming growth of information, especially at technology arena, a CIO needs to be a dynamic person with growth mind, business acumen, profound IT understanding, with high ability to convey leadership message, manage impressions, master communications to suit situations so as to make things happen. To reinvent IT from a support function to an innovation hub and digital engine of digital organization. But more specifically, at the dawn of the digital age, how can digital CIOs amplify their contemporary leadership voice to make broad influence across digital ecosystem?

The blog is a dynamic book flowing with your thought; growing through your dedication; sharing your knowledge; conveying your wisdom, and making influence through touching the hearts and connecting the minds across the globe. The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.2 million page views with about #4300 blog posting. Among 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking and innovating the new ideas; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify diverse voices and deepen digital footprints, and it's the way to harness your innovative spirit.


The New Book “Problems-Solving” Master Introduction: Chapter V Problem-Solving Pitfalls

The business will be more successful when they realize that one of their greatest strengths will be their problem-solving capability. 

Problem-solving is both art and science. Even though you have a good intention to solve problems, perhaps lack of capabilities to define and resolve the real problem, just fix the symptom and cause more serious problems later on. Therefore, it is important to spend time on pondering what are potential pitfalls on the way to both determine the correct problem and solve it effectively. How to overcome the obstacles and avoid pitfalls to enhance problem-solving effectiveness, either individually or collectively?

Try to fix the wrong cause of a problem: A solution is nothing if the problem is not perceived comprehensively. Therefore, creating the awareness of the problem is the first step to making a solution being understood and accepted, and to realize “We can’t stay the same.” In reality, problem-solving in the majority of organizations today is woefully inadequate. Often, events and patterns are observed on the surface, and then the action is taken to fix the symptom which results from the actual cause of the problems. Until the underlying problem is addressed, the symptom will continue to return. So, trying to fix the wrong cause of a problem will waste time and resources, increase anxiety, reward mediocrity, and even encourage problem-creators. There is a shortage of effective problem-solving management which could be translated to the capacity shortage for both defining and solving the right problems.

Blindspots block the way for effective problem-solving: Each one of us has some blind spots, but some with more, some with less. The root causes of blind spots are the people’s mentality such as ego or bias, lack of knowledge or insight. In the business environment, blind spots are caused by silo thinking and homogeneous team setting. Silo mentality will cause numerous blind spots in talent, resources, processes, capacities, and capabilities. It’s important to build high performing teams with complementary thoughts, skills, and distinctive capabilities in order to fill blind spots, clear business vision, and spur creativity for either problem-solving or strategy execution. At today’s “VUCA” digital new normal, there isn’t always a right or wrong choice in any situation, and there are a lot of gray areas. Thus, it’s critical to challenge, debate, and learn the nature of each other through the aspect of dynamic and respectful dialogue to close blind spots and bridge cognitive gaps for solving today’s ever-complex problems.

Ignorance of unknown is another pitfall for problem-solving: There is known unknown and unknown unknown. Many problems are complex because you need to take the interdisciplinary approach to both understand the real problem and take the step-wise approach to solve them. Ignorance of unknown is the big pitfall for problem-solving. The “hard” sciences claim objectivity by way of structured methods and empirical practices for problem-solving; there’s also a philosophical connection between wholeness and "parts." Today’s digital workforce must have both open and growth mindset, keep updating their knowledge, enhance interdisciplinary understanding, deepen in thinking, in order to close the insight gaps and solve problems skillfully.

The business will be more successful when they realize that one of their greatest strengths will be their problem-solving capability. It's challenging to overcome barriers, avoid pitfalls, fill blind spots in order to master problem-solving and make a leap of the digital paradigm shift.

How to Develop a Comprehensve Innovation Framework

 Innovation Management needs to establish the comprehensive framework to manage innovation in a systematic way. 

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



Innovation strategy: Digital is the age of innovation. At today's modern organizations, variety, complexity, diversification, and collaboration are the characteristics of the digital innovation ecosystem. Innovation is similar to as "the sum is larger than its parts."Innovation strategy is a critical component of the business strategy. It helps diagnose the critical business issues which need to be solved creatively, set guidelines and manage innovation systematically. Innovation is costly most of the time, that is why you should really concentrate innovation on the main issues of your strategy. In general, business innovation is a management discipline. Innovation return on investment is often proportional to the risk it exposes. The realities of corporate life don't allow companies to spend all their resources on radical innovation, because of the high percentage of risks to fail. Therefore, a comprehensive innovation strategy creates a clear line of sight between the enterprise vision and how to build a balanced portfolio with mixed breakthrough innovation and incremental innovation.

Innovation process:
The innovation management is not a thing or even a state, but a management process of lining up the culture of change and creativity that people would like to take the calculated risks in experimenting a new way to do things. Innovation process 'should' enable focus on most attractive opportunities. Innovation management is just not about generating innovation/ideas, but rather the processes to take ideas to value. The “hard” issues to stifle innovation is that the systems/processes/ technology many organizations are using to capture innovation value are becoming inefficient in this rapidly changing world with the high degree of digital convenience. Organizations can be more effective in executing innovative ideas by relying less on silo functions, more on cross-functional collaboration and continuous improvement. There is a great deal of uncertainty involved in the process of innovation. Innovation process includes both idea creation and implementation. Before ideation, companies need to discover insights. After ideation, companies need to filter, prototype and validate their ideas. The right level of guidance and process is important, but the overly rigid processes or too ‘pushy’ goals will stifle innovation. Innovation processes evaluation is clear, but the process of "planned innovation" shouldn’t be too rigid. Planning in some steps is ok, but chaos to some extent is necessary.

Innovation culture: Innovation can occur anywhere in the organization, and frankly, it has to occur in every aspect of the organization. Innovation culture is a collective mindset, a way of doing things, risk-taking attitude, doing things differently, asking hard questions, failing and being able to fail again without repercussions. Innovation culture provides a mechanism for the organization to freely express ideas and for these to be built upon, then this model can greatly enhance idea generation within the business. People have to be inquisitive to ask why things are done a certain way, why people use products or services a certain way, what products or features that the customer doesn't even know they want, why certain processes are done in certain ways, etc, and overall, how to improve products/services/process/business models to delight customers. The risk is part of innovation. You want people to be able to and dare to take risks. For it is important to create a safe environment within the group and organization which encourages people to come forward with new ideas with calculated risks.

Innovation talent: Innovation is a mindset and a prerequisite to doing sustainable business these days. People are innovation masters, neither processes nor tools. To create the new idea requires not just one skill, but many, not just old experience, but the new perspective. Innovators are the round pit, doesn’t fit the square hole, they are disruptive to the status quo. Indeed, innovation is all about how to disrupt the old thinking and old way to do the things. It’s important to spot and develop innovators because they are the driving force to bring up new ideas or rejuvenate an innovative culture, and achieve the ultimate business value. Focus on individual capabilities and potential to innovate. The indicators to assess the intrinsic capacity of individuals such as interdisciplinary skills and knowledge, plasticity (fast learning). openness to experience, tolerance of ambiguity, cognitive ability and styles, intellectual engagement, creative problem-solving, ability to identify patterns, ability to make unusual connections, tendency to constantly question the status quo, capacity to adapt, emotional intelligence and risk-taking attitude. Collectively, a highly innovative team is composed of complementary mindsets and skillsets, has the inclusive and progressive traits, to embrace the diverse viewpoints and maximize the collective potential.

Innovation risk management: Digital strategies are changing frequently and innovation in its basic nature is a high-risk area; more often you are doing something that hasn't been done before. The challenge is having a framework that allows you to say when to quit or simply 'can do it ' for a while. Innovation Risk Management means stepping away from the accepted "best practice" and asking whether a fundamentally different approach would provide more flexibility, more sensitivity, and more responsiveness. The primary focus of the risk management would be to identify and control those risks that can be addressed; financing, market understanding, competitor analysis, identifying the space of opportunity, defining the scalability of the products/services, what timescale to allow before making a go/no-go decision. Innovation risk would also broadly need to consider both endogenous and exogenous drivers. From finance management perspective, consider what capital you are prepared to risk in making the innovation, never let this be so much that losing it will cripple your business, the best judgment or a qualitative approach is given for risk and innovation.

Innovation measurement: Innovation is a process, which needs to be measured for making continuous improvement. Innovation has a very low success rate, most Innovation Management initiatives are not successful and are incredibly wasteful. The problem is that the measurement in business has so often been predominantly financial in nature. The leading indicators for successful innovation are NOT financial. The key is to properly measure their success behaviors and hold them accountable.You choose the performance measurement by deciding which are seen as critical to making progress on in order to deliver more innovations. The fewer the better, but they have to be credible and relevant also in the eyes of the stakeholders. Assuming an organization believes that metrics can lead to continuous improvement and enhance innovation effectiveness, it won’t be just a matter of explicit communicating the intention behind metrics, but a matter of advancing innovation leadership effectiveness and optimizing innovation process and capability.

Innovations in the digital era are coming at seemingly much faster pace, with changes and potential disruptions. Therefore, Innovation Management needs to establish the framework to manage innovation in a systematic way. The best framework is good because of underlying data and structural elements. There lies the quandary because innovation may not have the data to back it up! Bridging innovation execution gap requires a systematic execution scenario with a fine-tuned framework, clear-defined stages, decision-making parameters, performance thresholds, metrics selections, combined with the iterative learning process and organizational structure that supports wide-ranging exploration at each stage, to pursue a mature way for achieving the great business result.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” Feb. 2/22/2018

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

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2 million page views with 4500+ 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.

To Celebrate the 4500th Blog Posting: The Thoughts and Quotes of the “Future of CIO” Blog (Part I)? Blogging is to pursue the digital communication way for envisioning, brainstorming, sharing, and debating. It’s the journey to make the continuous leadership influence and connect the dots for spurring creativity and advocating digital innovation. It’s the time to celebrate the #4500th blog posting of the “Future of CIO with all those alphabetic thoughts and quotes. Slideshare Presentation

The Strong Pillars of the Digital Organization
Digital transformation is the long journey with many bumps and curves on the way. The digital transformation means that companies need to infuse digital into every aspect of the business, expand to every dimension of the organization, shape the enterprise-wide digital capabilities and orchestrate a hyper-connected ecosystem which is interwoven with people, process, and technology, and form all important pillars to build a high-performance and high-mature digital organization.


The Monthly “Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As” Book Tuning: The Digital Board’s Composition Inquiries Feb. 2018 Modern corporate boards play significant roles in guiding businesses toward the right direction and achieve expected business results. Due to the “VUCA” characteristics -Complexity, Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and Velocity of the Digital Era, the directorship in any organization must have the agility to adapt to changes and build abilities to advise, inspire and motivate a group of people toward accomplishing shared visions and goals. Here is the monthly “Digital Boardroom” summary of the digital board’s composition inquiries.

The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Chapter 3: Creative Problem-Solving
Running businesses is an iterative continuum to solve problems large or small. Creativity needs a problem, and a creative person needs a purpose. Creative thinking and critical thinking often work in tandem for problem-solving. Collectively, innovation allows an organization to stand out and above the rest for solving problems creatively and maximizing the commercial value to the company.

The Monthly “Digital Gaps” Book Tuning: Minding Critical Thinking Gaps Feb. 2018 Digital Gaps -Bridging Multiple Gaps to Run Cohesive Business” is a guidebook to help digital leaders and professionals today identify, analyze, and mind multiple gaps with the multidisciplinary insight and holistic understanding. Today’s digital organization simply just can’t stand still., bridging the 'gap of opportunity' between where you are and want to become is a welcomed challenge, it is important to bridge communication, knowledge and insight gaps and take a stepwise approach to make a leap of digital transformation.

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.

To Celebrate 4500 Blog Posting: The Thoughts and Quotes of “Future of CIO” Blog (Part II)

Blogging is 5% of inspiration +creativity with 95% of dedication + perseverance.

Blogging is to pursue the digital communication way for envisioning, brainstorming, sharing, and debating. It’s the journey to make the continuous leadership influence and connect the dots for spurring creativity and advocating digital innovation. It’s the time to celebrate 4500 blog posting of the “Future of CIO with all those alphabetic thoughts and quotes.



N- Niche:

The leadership niche is based on leadership substance + leadership strength + leadership style + Leadership brand.

Leadership is all about future and change. Leadership now becomes more open, trans-disciplinary, influential and innovative. The digital leadership effectiveness is not based on how loud you can speak, but how profound you can influence and what’s the leadership niche you can bring to the table. Leadership niche or strength is different from leadership style, the style is often at the skin level, but strength is built underneath. The leadership niche is based on leadership substance + leadership strength + leadership style + Leadership brand. The power of effective leader depends on a number of factors, the purpose to lead, leadership intelligence, the mix of knowledge and experience, the quality of information they receive and their collective leadership ability to operate as a team.

O- Openness

A mind is like a parachute, it works best when it’s open.”

Many say an open mind is more important than talent, as the state of your mind (open or close) will directly impact on how you make decisions as well as how you judge others. The people with the beginner’s mind are more open, they naturally treat each situation with freshness and novelty, no matter how many times they’d seen it or done it before, they would enjoy exploring the new possibilities or pursue the different way of doing things. In order to change anyone’s mindset, the individual must have an open mind. Some say, "the most expensive thing anyone can own is a closed mind.” We can look at changing our own mindsets in the context of ourselves; we are all part of social systems with both individual and collective mindsets. Everyone has the ability to change their mindsets. Because every person has degrees of both open and closed mindsets in different contexts.

P - Profundity
A profound mind is like a big ocean, deep, but also open.

Back to the root of the word “profundity,” it means insightful and understanding. Climbing Knowledge-Insight-Wisdom pyramid is important steps in gaining profundity. It’s not just about knowing, but in-depth understanding; it requires a person's ability to grasp or comprehend information. Indeed, profundity is one of the crucial traits to differentiate average, mediocre, good, great or extraordinary person. Assumptions and prejudices are due to lack of deeper understanding. It is the responsibility of each individual to examine themselves and to make sure they are open to true understanding. The maturity of both individuals and an organization as a whole depends on how thoughtful they are - to make effective decisions or sound judgments; and how deeply they can go - to gain the insight or cure the root cause of both existing problems and emerging problems.

Q- Quality
The most important thing is that you need to define the quality as leadership and quality as management.

As a degree of quality is in everything people do and experience. People are always the weakest link in organizations. What is required is clarifying the purpose and engaging all the people involved working together as a team to excel in the delivery of product/service, as quality management is to help them in doing what they are doing better, easier and so on. Quality employees are the ones who can think and work independently, have excellent problem-solving skills, well disciplined, have a "customer focus," and bring positivity and wisdom to the workplace. Therefore, high-quality people should also improve the quality of products, services, and overall organizational maturity.

R - Resilience
Resilience is a property of an elastic component of a person.

Resiliency is about bouncing forward- includes bouncing back. The thinking skill of "putting things in perspective” can support the person to bounce back from disappointments and thus will provide the bigger picture for the person to move on from any kind of adverse situations. Resilience is about B.O.U.N.C.E. It’s about regaining one's footing which could be bouncing back, forwards or restructuring your life integrating the change in some way that works. It's the ability to respond to change, to recover quickly from setbacks, as well as the capacity to respond to the unexpected in a way that increases gain and/or minimizes loss. Business resilience is the business capability to make organization more risk intelligent, not just controlling, but managing it effectively. Because businesses are faced with more opportunities and risks in the digital era, being resilience is about failing fast, failing cheaper, and failing forward, also recovering more promptly.

S - Simplicity

Innovation is progress, and progress is in simplicity.
Innovation is often to make things more intuitive and easy to use. As Einstein wisely put: “Things should be as simple as possible, but no simpler.” With simplicity, what we are adding is clarity and purpose. By nature, innovators often enjoy simplicity, though they also have the complexity mindset to come out creative ideas, because creativity is the high level of thinking via integrating multiple thinking processes. Progress is in simplification, which often follows complexity. When pioneering and solving problems, initial solutions are often more complex than required, and then adoption and progress come with simplification. Unnecessary complexity arises not from nothing. Humans create, though unintentionally in most cases their own problems. Therefore, they have to untie the knots they made themselves. People complicate the simple things when they don't have the answers. The masters decode complexity and make it simple, elegant, and purposeful.

T - Transdisciplinary knowledge
Dealing with the significant challenge of digital transformation requires accelerated digital mindsets, leveraging multidisciplinary knowledge and insight.

In the “VUCA” digital new normal, organizations and human society will be confronting a number of high-complex problems in the hyper-connected world, the solutions will require integration of different sets of knowledge and fluency across multiple disciplines. The purpose of managing business via interdisciplinary discipline is to ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. But dealing with the significant challenge of digital transformation requires accelerated digital mindsets, leveraging multidisciplinary knowledge and insight, taking an end-to-end response and a structural approach. It involves applied Science (Engineering), Art (Design), principle (Philosophy), Cognition (Psychology), Social norms (Culture) and group behavior (Sociology). To engage and function in complex environments, it requires fundamentally different mindsets and paradigms such as accepting that influence is attainable, but control is not. It needs to leverage information to overcome uncertainty and unpredictability, and it takes a holistic approach to unleash the digital potential of today’s organization.

U - Uniqueness
Every person is unique, put the right people with the right capability to the right position to solve the right problems.

Every person is unique, no two snowflakes are the same. Being unique means to be authentic. Because when you always play safe, afraid of being different, you might lose the character or block your creativity. Compete with uniqueness is more effective than competing for everything. Being real is much more important than being perfect. The next step for discovering professional uniqueness is investigating what’s your strength, your passion: defining your task, things you want to do and do better than others. Self-awareness is important for the recognition of one’s strength and weakness, cognition ability, and style, intellectual engagement, creative problem-solving capabilities, personalities, innovativeness, plasticity, pattern discovery, dots connection, adaptation, and emotional intelligence. Either at individual or business level, the unique set of capabilities will help you to achieve career or business goals.

V- Versatility

The professional versatility is not just separate skills, but onion-like cohesive abilities or integral & recombinant capabilities.

Having enriched knowledge or versatile talent is foundational to create more fresh ideas in today’s sophisticated digital world. Talent is neither just about "busyness" nor linear skills, you need to keep your hands on the wheel, eyes opened, and ears to the ground. It’s harder to build the robust and coherent ability which become an integral element of their unique professional capabilities to do things differently. Talent and versatility need to be measured in both quantitative and qualitative way. Work hard and work smarter need to go hand in hand.And sometimes, spreading time on doing too many things even turns to be a distraction from building their strength based on the innate talent. The digital workforce is more dynamic and digital workplace needs to be more people-centric. The competitions between machine and humans are intensifying. Thus, building integral capabilities such as multi-dimensional thinking abilities or creativity become imperative for digital professionals. To achieve success both as an individual and an employee, it is important that you understand your work environment, understand what is required to be done, have the right resources; and include the appropriate mindset. It takes versatility to shape new, new box, especially noted for transforming old mental maps or paradigms and creating strategies that are “outside the box” of conventional thought. They embody a balance of right brain and left brain thinking. "

W -Wisdom
Wisdom has something to do with making a sound judgment.

Wisdom is the full learning cycle: Learning, unlearning and relearning. Wisdom is not knowledge; one cannot have wisdom without knowledge, but one cannot substitute wisdom for knowledge as well. Wisdom is a full awareness of the situation and applying it right. Wisdom is to be understood within this context, wisdom is the ability to learn from every experience, to be able to gather small bits of information from all sources, and apply that to current or future challenges. Wisdom mainly consists of having experience and yet knowing when to discard that experience, when you come across new knowledge, new frontiers of existing knowledge. Plus an open mind. Wisdom is a function of knowing what you don't know and keeps curiosity to know more. Knowledge tends to be linear, but wisdom is multidimensional.

X- X Factor
‘X-factor’ has been defined as ‘a variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome, and it’s a noteworthy special talent or quality.’

Digital means flow, mind flow, information flow and business flow with a change management continuum. It is a healthy business life cycle to close the gaps of the industrial age and the new digital era, and mixing the “hard” and “soft” business key factors accordingly. In order to solve business problems effectively and unlock business performance, it’s important to analyze “CRAMPS” factors.

Cost — what are the costs of the solution, are they acceptable.

Risk — what are the risks associated with the solution. Is the level of risk acceptable to the enterprise?

Reliability, Robustness part of Availability Sensitivity, depending on how you mean this, it is an aspect of Availability, Performance.

Availability — what availability is required and does the solution provide it.

Manageability — is the solution manageable, and how would it be managed.

Performance — what is the expected performance of the solution, is it within acceptable limits

Scalability — what is the scalability of the solution, is it within acceptable limits.


Y - Youth in mind

Youth in mind is less about age, more about growth mindset and learning plasticity.

Youth in mind is in strong demand because it is audacious, adaptive, aggressive and digital imperative. The mind of the older generation is usually more rigid. Their "know it all" attitude is difficult to erase because they are deep-seated with the life experiences and beliefs. In fact, youth in mind is less about age, more about the ability to learn and grow. It’s important to be equipped with a learning mind because when you stop learning, you are stagnant; especially at the age of digital, information is only a click away, but knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened. Digital professionals with growth mind can step out of their own comfort zone easily, walk the talk and lead change confidently. If you only know two colors - Black and White; then, perceptions are filtered into one of those two dimensions. You can only know what you know, but there are more dimensions which you don’t know; there’s known unknown and unknown unknown, hence, the more you know, the more you feel humbled, because even human as collective species, the things we know, compared to what we don’t know, is just the tip of iceberg.



Z - Zest
A zest for learning and growing are contagious traits for improving digital maturity.

Energy and enthusiasm do fuel your imagination and creativity. On one hand, we have the level of curiosity, desire to learn and natural ability to maintain an open and inquisitive mind; on the other hand, we have the conditions of the environment in which we operate, with all the restrictions, the needs, the gaps and pressures that might push our creative minds to soar. A passion with a good positive chain of thoughts followed by positive actions often brings good results and leapfrogs progress. Optimism is built on a positive perception or a belief linked to one’s expectations some of which may take the time to turn creative thought and ideas into the reality. Be passionate about learning, the skills you develop will help you as your career evolves, having a passion and building a career around that passion would certainly help to discover “who you are,” fuel creativity, align your focus and therefore potentially aiding you in greater success.

The Timing, Tempo, and Harmony of Digitalization

Being digital in one's business implies first going digital internally and culturally.

We live in an information abundant and technology empowered world and every day more and more technology affects the way we think, live, and work. Digitalization represents a break from the past and implies the full-scale changes in the way that the business is conducted so that simply adopting some new gadgets isn’t insufficient. It is a holistic effort and multifaceted discipline to touch every aspect of the business. The journey of digital transformation is all about weighing the following main business elements impacting change -people, process, and technology and balance the timing, tempo, and harmony of digitalization.

Timing:
The high-mature digital organizations are highly conscious about what’s happening in their environment, constantly improving the business and seeing change as an opportunity while keeping a holistic overview of the business are the core messages. It is only a matter of time. Change and the digitalization journey starts with the realization that where you are currently no longer can deliver the business objective, envision of success for your company and your shareholders, especially for the long term, and determine what the future needs to look like. It needs to have a sense of urgency because vision, decisiveness and proactive attitude are crucial to initiate changes in the marketplace. Successful organizations see the changes coming and with preplanning to overcome the resistance before it even manifests. While those businesses that wait for demand to changes are lagging behind the curve. Timing is really important, the good moment to change is when the top management senses the urgency from the strategic perspective and the bottom of hierarchy feel the pain from the daily operational lens. The change inertia is minimized via the common understanding of the necessity and imperatives of changes, grasp opportunities timely and prevent risks effectively.

Tempo:
Change and digitalization are more as a journey than a destination, the organization’s information pulse and digital tempo need to run at the right pace to keep the enterprise body circling well, keep it energetic and healthy. Monitoring the digital pulse of the organization is to help the leadership team make an objective assessment of the business’s change capability via assessing the business’s maturity traits such as adaptability, responsiveness, effectiveness, flexibility, resilience, and speed, etc. Digital is the age of people and options; it provides the opportunity to think the new approach to do things, run in a very entrepreneur way to solve business problems effectively, intensify digital with focus, present empathy to their people, shapen prioritization skills to get important things done; know when to take the gas pedal to speed up and harness innovation; and when to take the brake to control risks. Often, change will not be the straight line, there will be bumps and roadblocks along the way, thus, taking the right pace is important to strike the right balance of the change and stability, to ensure the business can both reap some quick wins and more importantly achieve the long-term strategic advantage.


The harmonies of digitalization: Many organizations are still confused digital with general technology adoption. The management and staff need to be working as high performing and creative teams, having both internal and external beliefs around how the business is a movement for ennoblement and improvement. It is the business "harmony." A business organization can only achieve high performance by taking the collaboration road. Creating a context where people can collaborate where they are empowered and respected and make collective decisions. Giving everyone a voice in how the organization and the people in it can prosper and thrive. Understanding and recognizing that everyone plays a "piece of the pie," imagine the true meaning when you say "Teamwork." Creating a context where people can collaborate where they are empowered and respected and make collective decisions is the essence of the business harmonization. The challenge for achieving the harmonies of digitalizing the business is to manage its portfolio of relevant cross-border strategic synergies and organizational interdependence, fine-tune the structure and improve changeability, empower people, engage digital talent and balance effectiveness and efficiency.

Being digital in one's business implies first going digital internally and culturally. It means the deeper you can perceive the holistic digital impact, the further you can reach the digital vision and pinnacle. Fine-tuning all important business elements and striking the right balance of timing, tempo, and harmony of changes are all crucial to make change sustainable and the journey delightful.







Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Monthly “Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As” Book Tuning: The Digital Board’s Composition Inquiries Feb. 2018

Modern corporate boards play significant roles in guiding businesses toward the right direction and achieve expected business results. Due to the “VUCA” characteristics -Complexity, Uncertainty, Ambiguity, and Velocity of the Digital Era, the directorship in any organization must have the agility to adapt to changes and build abilities to advise, inspire and motivate a group of people toward accomplishing shared visions and goals. Here is the monthly “Digital Boardroom” summary about the digital board’s composition inquiries.

               The Digital Board’s Composition Inquiries


The Digital Board’s Composition Inquiries Digital boards are heterogeneous, inquisitive, intelligent, effective, innovative and influential, with the ability to adapt to the “VUCA” digital new normal. The board competency will directly impact business competency. Board must set an example of leadership which permeates through the entire organization. An effective and efficient board can reflect, identify and mind the gaps on their own boardroom turf, they also continue to add the new blood for enforcing digital acumen in the boardroom.

The Digital Board’s Composition Inquiries (II)
Digital transformation is in every forward-thinking company’s top agenda; innovation is the light every organization is pursuing, and digitization becomes the new normal of business expansion. All of these bring the significant opportunities and responsibilities for the new breed of digital BoDs. Because the board in a high-level directorship position plays a crucial role in strategy oversight, business advising & monitoring, as well as setting key digital tones in leadership development and talent management. Here are a set of the digital board’s composition inquiries.

The New Book “Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As” Chapter 1 Introduction The Digital Board’s Composition Inquiries? Contemporary boards play the crucial directorial role in business strategy oversight, performance monitoring, business advising and policy setting. The boardroom composition will directly impact on how they lead and which tone they will set for the entire organization to follow. The question is whether there are enough people with proficient skills and expertise to do the job in the heat of today’s boardroom facing business uncertainty, rapid changes, continuous digital disruptions, and unprecedented competition.

The Digital Board’s Leadership, Composition, and Succession Inquiries The contemporary corporate board as the directorial role plays a significant role in overseeing strategy, advising corporate executives and monitoring business performance. The BoDs should also walk the talk to digitize the boardroom with strategic imperative because often the digital tone is set at the top and echo spirally to all levels of the organization. Here is a set of the digital board’s leadership, composition, and succession inquiries.

The Digital Board Composition/Refreshment Inquiries Contemporary boards play the crucial directorial role in business strategy oversight, performance monitoring, business advising and policy setting. They are also the mastermind behind the digital transformation. Not only do today’s BoDs need to have sufficient knowledge to understand the digital business ecosystem, but also they need to have the collective insight to present today and foresee the future. The matter of fact is that the changes sweeping the business are hugely disruptive and there is nowhere to hide. Leadership is all about change and directorship is about steering the business toward the right direction. From board composition and refreshment perspective, which challenges do you face, when and how do you tackle the issue of change in the boardroom? And how to build high-performance boards for today and the future?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 2.3 million page views with 4500+ blog posting in 59+ different categories of leadership, management, strategy, digitalization, change/talent, etc. The content richness is not for its own sake, but to convey the vision and share the wisdom. Blogging is not about writing, but about thinking; it’s not just about WHAT to say, but about WHY to say, and HOW to say it. It reflects the color and shade of your thought patterns, and it indicates the peaks and curves of your thinking waves. Unlike pure entertainment, quality and professional content takes time for digesting, contemplation and engaging, and therefore, it takes time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify your voice, deepen your digital footprints, and match your way to human progression.



The "Digital Boardroom: 100 Q&As" Slideshare Presentation









The New Book “Problem-Solving Master” Chapter IV: Leverage Systems Thinking in Problem-Solving

Although Systems Thinking might slow down the problem-solving scenario, it’s worth its weight in framing the right problems before solving them.

The world has become so dynamic with the exponential growth of information, it is full of opportunities and problems. Many problems do exist because they are either ill-defined or the concept cannot be adequately captured contextually. Further, there’s the problem that the same word means different things to different people because they carry different emotional baggage or have the cognitive difference. So, what’re the logical scenarios for problems diagnosing and solving? And how to leverage Systems Thinking in problem-solving?

Applying Systems Thinking to frame the problems: Systems Thinking provides a more holistic way to view the problems. It offers a better and more accurate understanding of the overall situation and problems, and hence, better defining the problems and subsequently how you should go about solving them and in what sequence. Systems Thinking also provides insight into emergent issues, both the positive emergent issues required and the negative emergent issues that come about, particularly due to the combination of parts and the interactions within the system and between the system and its environment. Systems Thinking provides the tools and methodologies to define problems under uncertainty. It helps you actually understand the problem, you need to be clear about one of the common features of systems. The way any element within a system affects the whole depends on what at least one other element is doing. Systems Thinking provides a structured process and takes consideration of the range of options.

Take systematic approaches and well-tested methodologies to solve problems:
For large and complex problems, it is often a good idea to first split problems into different categories and to assess the relative importance of the different categories for them and what could be done about it. High mature digital leaders encompass the ability to address the systems, processes, and the human elements to improve problem-solving effectiveness. Behind every problem is a relationship dynamic out of alignment, in relation to fixing root causes of problems. A high-performing culture will invariably have a management process to address this. Thus, the top management needs to have their finger on the pulse in order to steer the organization in the direction that they are able to expeditiously defuse, minimize, or eliminate some workplace problems, and create a workplace culture and climate that is conducive to that.

Preventing problems requires people/systems to analyze and predict the possibility of a problem: Risks are simply potential problems. Solving problems requires people who have excellent analytical and problem-solving skills. It is also important to integrate risk into resource prioritization and planning processes. The risk process helps the business prioritize the activities they are committed to resources in addition to serving as a cross check for anything that they may have missed or are doubling up on. It is also important to leverage Systems Thinking and tools for developing the forward-looking assessment framework which is able to identify risks and report to the board in a manner that brings about the right conversation and improve the risk management effectiveness.

Although Systems Thinking might slow down the problem-solving scenario, it’s worth its weight in framing the right problems before solving them. Digital business leaders today need to ask questions and facilitate dialogues and build the culture of collaboration to improve the effectiveness of problem-solving.

Digital CIOs’ Three Practices to Amplify Leadership Influence

Due to the speed of changes, especially in the technology arena, digital CIOs need to be the dynamic leaders with open and growth mindset.


With the exponential growth of information and emerging digital technologies, CIOs will continue to be put on the front line for driving innovation and leading digitalization. They need to ensure their organizations are ready for change, space and time are made to scope, plan and execute. CIO role should be continually reinvented to fit for the new digital paradigm shift. IT leaders have to play multiple personas and leverage multidimensional management disciplines to explore the breadth and depth of the role and go deeper in order to lead forward. Here are CIOs’ three digital practices to amplify their leadership influence.




Play the crystal ball to share the technological vision: “Keeping the lights on only” is not sufficient to run a highly effective IT organization. Digital CIOs need to be both artists and technologists in boldly imagining IT vision and the business model of tomorrow while orchestrating the digital symphony to harmonize key business factors to succeed in the business models of today. CIOs have to know how to play the crystal ball because vision is particularly important for CIOs and because nowadays information and technology are often the game changer to either leap and fail the business even overnight. The role of the CIO should be able to envision not only where a company believes it is going, but how it will get there, and how it might be missing out on opportunities or face the risks because of limitations on understanding of disruptive technology and information flow. They need to master the art of creating unique and differentiating value from piles of commoditized technologies. The future-driven IT focuses on building core business capabilities to catalyze growth and improve overall business competency and become a digital engine and innovation powerhouse of the organization.

Play the oddball to enforce innovation: Forward-look IT organizations are “digital disruptor” of their company because information technology is the disruptive force behind digital innovation.Technology changes so quickly and information grows overwhelmingly, you must first be aware of new technology before you can learn to apply it to the business. Innovative CIOs play the oddball to enforce innovation which involves both opportunities and risks. They have to deal with situations that they have not dealt with before, possess confidence and experience to be entrepreneurial. To reinvent IT as the innovation engine of the business, IT leaders have to play the oddball when necessary and develop the unique digital practices, step out of the “comfort zone,” and “we always do things like that” mentality. They need to be creative thinkers who can bring up the fresh perspective of the business and discover the better way to do things, supply differentiated solutions that contribute to both top line growth and the bottom line success of the organization. Innovation happens at the intersection of people and technology. CIOs with innovative leadership styles are the key to re-imagine IT to achieve the art of possible. Innovative IT leaders also need to encourage creativity and constructive criticism to build a highly innovative working environment to unleash collective potential.


Play the curveball to improve the business adaptability and speed: The curveball implies particularly tough issues or big obstacles, named after equally tricky baseball pitch, to introduce something unexpected or require a quick reaction or correction. Perhaps that’s also a good practice for digital CIOs to improve their digital leadership effectiveness and IT management efficiency. Compared to the business world decades ago, the speed of change is increasing, digital disruptions are frequent, information is growing exponentially. The reality is that organizations that do not respond to external environmental changes timely will lag behind the change curve and decelerate performance dramatically. Sometimes the problem is the inability to perceive a change in the environment and adapt when conditions require it. In today's volatile economy, nothing impedes the progress more than protective silos which are simply a form of bureaucratic management style designed to preserve the status quo. IT plays a critical role in breaking down information silos and building a real-time digital organization because information management is about how to leverage the right information for making right decisions timely to improve business responsiveness and speed. Technology and its associated methodologies and practices are parts of that leverage mechanism for improving the business adaptability and speed.

Due to the speed of changes, especially in the technology arena, digital CIOs need to be the dynamic leaders with open and growth mindset. They should develop their own set of leadership practices, build the reputation as the business strategists, change agents and digital advocates.