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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

CIO’s Digital Agenda XXXVI: Setting Principles to Run a Digital IT

Principles guide you through.

Principles are general rules and guidelines, intended to be enduring and seldom amended, that inform and support the way in which an organization sets about fulfilling its mission. The style of the principle should be short and recognizable. Its definition describes "what" the principle means in the language understood by stakeholders. The motivation describes "why" the principle is important to achieving the organizational mission. The implications describe "how" the principle changes behaviors.




Setting Guiding Principles to Run a High-Effective IT

  • Five Principles to Run a Digital IT-: Principles are statements of values. Things that define why one make a decision one way or another. These core decision values guide the behavior of individuals within an organization. Digital does flatten  the organizational hierarchy and blur the functional, organizational, and geographical borders in the business ecosystem, it could mean less restrictive rules or bureaucracy, but it also means the guiding principles become crucial  to be defined as core decision values and behavior guidelines. It is less about controls, but more about the clarity of  "why we make decisions the way we do” and what’re the expectations of employees' work performance.


  • Three Change Principles: Statistically, more than two-thirds of change effort fail to achieve expected result. All efforts at having other humans act as you would like to depend in large part on circumstances, the number of actions/tactical moves, action sequence, and "action coordination" vary. Therefore, change is situational, these differences have to do with who the people are, what they plan, what and HOW they execute. Although there is no “one size fits all” formula for changes, you can set principles to make Change Management more effective and cohesive.


  • The Principles and Practices to Encourage Creativity: As businesses get more cut-throat in the face of fierce competitions and unprecedented changes, this puts stress on the labor force that is not conducive to creative, experimental thinking. As a business leader, what are the common solutions to encourage creativity? Will you allow people to make mistakes? Spend time on something with no guarantee of  ROIs? Work on what interests them? Which type of work activities, roles, industries, require great deals of creativity? How do you, as leaders involve all people in creative thinking and actions? And how can you help ti improve the harvest of the creative seeds? Doesn't the real solution to innovation, creativity begin with inquiry? Would it not be prudent to focus on ensuring all levels of the organization are well founded on asking learning questions?


  • Seven Principles in Managing Agile: Project With Agile has been adopted by more organizations, there’re also many debates upon whether it causes software quality issues. "Blaming Agile" is the mentality to resist changes, or make it broader, it's still the culture issue, the collective programming of mind for the group of people to think and react. Agile isn’t the answer to all things either but it surely isn’t the problem. The point is that unlike a physical product that may not be functioning correctly and, therefore, breaks down and fails, a process or methodology like agile is people dependent. Agility is all about people and change! ?


  • Simplicity as a Principle: People are complex by nature, but to dwell on complexity is to complicate an implicate order that is naturally simple. Getting to simple is not easy for most people because they rather follow the traditions and set rules and regulations in the society. They don't bother to remove the dust around them, or want to question the unknown, or challenge the status quo, out of fear. So how to address complexity, and what's the advantage to set simplicity as a principle and live with it?

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.3 million page views with 2500+ 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 the time to attract the "hungry minds" and the "deep souls." It’s the journey to amplify your voice, deepen your digital footprints, and match your way for human progression.

How to Avoid Pitfalls in Innovation Management

Innovation is the change, change management needs to be an integral part of innovation management.

Innovation is both art and science. Innovation is a systematic way of applying creativity in the real life and business. In general, business innovation is a management discipline, and innovation management has an overall very low success rate. The reasons why failure occurs vary widely, it is no wonder why many leaders are reluctant to act on bold ideas with good business potential due to the high likelihood of failure. So more specifically, what are the pitfalls in innovation management and how to manage innovation more effectively?



Process Pitfalls: Lack of systematic processes or having overly rigid processes can both cause innovation to fail. Innovation is, generally speaking, a discipline because it is a systematic way to applying creativity in the real life and business. However, should innovation processes be standardized, or is it innovation process an oxymoron? On one side, it does take systematic processes to manage a balanced innovation portfolio from idea management to innovation implementation; from incremental innovations to radical innovations. On the other side, the term innovation process implies an openness to innovative ideas, with an accepted interface into the organization to actually develop and exploit the ideas as they come about. An obsession with the rigidity of efficiency stunts the innovation creation process. Innovation is fluid and should not be straight-jacketed. Many process innovations will be concerned with increasing and optimizing efficiency and maintaining existing skills and linkages. Efficiency and short-term goal orientation often divert focus from innovation in general; and innovation, especially radical innovation will benefit in the long range return on investment. So innovation is often dependent on business insight because you can't change an organization without insight, the organization adapts exclusively to the insight you provide to it.


Lack of Change Management: Every innovation includes change process. Consider any new idea as an innovation, mainly if such new idea will change, optimize or improve any existing technology, service, treatment, process, politics, etc...There are quite some terms that are vital for the successful creation of innovations that are misinterpreted, misunderstood, overused/misused. Too often people do not understand the nature of change, why it's critical for organizations to remain competitive, and how they're part of the change in order to realize positive outcomes. Innovation has become a buzzword to that point that those who truly understand it cannot get the real message out through the "hype" and truly implement innovative change. Not every innovation includes "technology in all its scope," but every innovation includes change process, and successful management of this change process is vital for the successful creation of innovations. It must be new, ‘new’ means it must force at least a minimum of a change process in adaptation to its target, this change process can be everything (thinking, communication, behaviour, use, etc.); the more complex the change process the “target” faces the more radical it becomes (difference between incremental and radical innovation).


Lack of talented innovators and lack of risk tolerance culture: Although due to the complexity of modern business and disruptive digital technologies, nowadays, innovation more often comes from the teamwork, not just one individual’s effort. One of the biggest pitfalls for innovation failure is the lack of cognitive ability to think new ways to do things and also organizations lack of the culture of tolerance. In addition, to TRUE sustained management support, businesses need to think hard about how their FUNCTION can be performed in other ways. It takes a combination of wacky and less risky ideas to balance out a robust innovation portfolio worth investigating. There is a myth that innovation may come out of a process and not individuals/innovators and the innovation is not properly adopted or innovated to be adopted by the target audience. Certainly, the innovation that brings out new products or spots a niche should be rewarded. Failure should not be an offense and actually, if there are not a few failures, then you are not trying hard enough. The job of management is to help when a failure happens to turn it around as a team. However, in many organizations, creativity, curiosity, trust and strong relationship with consumers, that should be leading any company's decisions, come to the bottom of priorities ladder.

Innovation processes need to be rigorous, not too rigid; innovation is the change, change management needs to be an integral part of innovation management. And last but not the least, the culture of innovation means to encourage learning and discovering, cultivate the new generations of innovators, have risk intelligence to manage both opportunity and risk accordingly. And ultimately, the business growth is accelerated by innovation, and their innovation is enabled by their ability to orchestrate people, process, and technology, to catalyze and scale up with a new capacity to sustain business prosperity.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Three Questions to Assess a Person's Critical Thinking Skills

Critical Thinking is a crucial thought process to see underneath the symptoms and dig into root causes.

Critical Thinking is the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. There is only a very small fraction of true Critical Thinker because Critical Thinking is complex. So what are the characteristics of Critical Thinking, or how to think critically? And how do you assess a person's critical thinking skills?

Do you think fast or thinking slowly? There’s time for thinking fast, and there’s time for thinking slowly. And Critical Thinking fits into the second category, you need to think slowly to digest information without bias and leverage multitude of thought processes to think thoroughly. Critical Thinking needs to combine different thinking processes, to gather a mass of information, break it apart and reconstructed with a level of accuracy projecting futuristic events, numbers, etc. Breaking the routine forces Critical Thinking on a constant basis in order to act. Often, there are two extreme states of thinking: 1) thinking too much (even Critical Thinking is not just about overwhelming thinking chaos but about cohesive understanding and skillful reasoning) and 2) thinking too little. It would be good to think critically more often than we do concern our actions, If we don't, half of our life routine part becomes "unexamined" and unnoticed. If thoughtful reactions and pro-actions are key to sustainable relationships and innovations, maybe we would benefit from discovering what in our Critical Thinking moves us beyond thinking and into transformative action.

Can you handle the thinking pairs -Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking well? Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking are ideal "Thinking Pairs." Critical Thinking evolves deep thinking process usually with Creative Thinking embedded. So experience is inside the box, Critical Thinkers live out of the box. and it’s complex thought processes involving thinking differently, or thinking out of the box, it is about breaking the rules that have been created through experience. Critical thinking is essential for making decisions based on open up with diverse viewpoint, careful and comprehensive analysis and synthesis, and getting input from a broad range of personalities and cognitive difference of people on the particular matter. It could also include imaginative or resourceful thinking. The combination is truly powerful to conceptualize, communicate, develop and execute solutions, not just based on evidence, but on trends and discovery of hidden connections.

Would you always dig into the root causes of the problems? Critical Thinking is a crucial thought process to see underneath the symptoms and dig into root causes. Problem solvers who can leverage Critical Thinking are always chasing root cause. Critical thinking requires to starting with a mentally neutral position; no biases or emotional quandary. There are only a very small fraction of true critical thinkers who can always dig through the root causes of problems. Critical Thinking needs to combine different thinking processes, to gather a mass of information, break it apart and reconstructed with a level of accuracy, projecting futuristic events, numbers, etc., Critical thinking, like Systems Thinking, allows for more holistic thinking. Because we "steer away from “conventional wisdom,” question individual, collective, social assumptions and reframe the inquiry. There are two sides to this, at least in terms of our basic epistemic goals. One is getting to the truth, the other is avoiding falsehood. So Critical Thinking is associated with the metacognitive disciplines that steer one away from believing falsehoods, more so than steering one toward the truth.

Critical Thinking requires an ability to be able to not only ask the right questions but rather absorb information forecast potentials; risks/benefits; mitigation and compare and contrast options, facts, ideas against logic and creativity. Critical Thinking is an important thinking capability for business leaders and professionals to surviving and thriving in “VUCA” digital dynamic today.

CIOs as Chief Improvement Officer: How to Leverage DevOp to Improving IT Agility

DevOp is the IT management instrument which  brings in a cultural shift to an organization to not only develop but also to maintain the application with continuous changes in place.

IT plays a significant role in building the organization’s change capability to adapt to the digital new normal. Need for agility arises due to changes in underlying assumptions. Every CIO may ask self: Is IT responsive and proactive enough to find answers and solutions in case of emerging chances? Does IT have a platform which is scalable, secure, resilient and well interconnected? For achieving agility, IT leaders should both apply the digital management philosophy based on a set of Agile principles, but also leverage DevOp and take a series of  practices to improving IT effectiveness and maturity.


Automation:  Many IT departments operate in silos with separate teams delivering separate functional tasks: backup, risk monitoring, IT asset management, user administration. Effective automation should first examine these functions and understand the connections and define any constraints in the system. Identify and remove the inefficiencies and rationalize the manual actions first. the goal for practicing DevOp is to bring both IT development teams and operation teams together to break down the silo, make continuous integration, implement test automation via the deployment of automation tools, and the real DevOps style productivity now becomes a possibility.


Standardization: Like anything else you do in business, there should be some justification for standardization or integration. Standardization should be done at the solution level and should only occur when the functional requirements for the different groups are the same or where there is a core set of functional requirements that all groups need and additional requirements are easily added without having an adverse impact on the performance of the solution for those groups that do not need these added functions. To try and standardize just for the sake of standardizing, or where doing so requires compromising on the functional or performance needs of one or more groups involved, then obviously it is not a good idea. Therefore, DevOps has the better setting for making standardization process going more smoothly because it encourages and enables cross-functional interaction and communication, and enable IT leaders and staffs to oversee functions and processes more holistically for either integration and standardization.


Adaptation: DevOps is the real thing because it lowers the technical barrier to producing the full construct; it improves the chances for many to learn about what actually "happens" upon deployment, instead of wondering what "would/will" happen. It is possible to see what enables a self-adaptive organism is an information-driven process feeding and sustaining it. DevOps explorement makes it possible to turn organizational “theories” into tangible management processes that use “relations between people” as the loom on which to create management structures and processes that support self-adaptive problem-solving, build “recombinant” business capabilities and improve business efficiency.

Innovation: DevOps at its core is all about culture and about breaking down barriers between Dev and Ops teams. It's about helping the business to be more efficient, productive and innovative in these areas. There are situations, experiences, challenges, etc. the operations face that development doesn't and vice verse. Having an understanding of both and open communication between the two, helps to foster new ideas that ultimately develop better solutions. Devops is understanding that EVERYONE works in customer service now. Devops is communication and figuring out how to make the answer to the customers' questions default to yes by tailoring their needs and provide more innovative services. Thus, DevOps helps to build a culture of innovation and customer centricity.


Experimentation: DevOps techniques and technologies allow to produce and consume full constructions of the software product at each unit of effort - so that it can be tried out more often and by more people, such that people may learn more, earlier and more often. DevOps inspires the learning culture. In addition, Agile is based on the empirical control process (develop – inspect – adapt), which is also common sense. In this way, you always assess, experiment, and respond to change, to provide the customer with added value software and business solutions


Continuous Delivery: DevOps ideas expand the focus to delivering real value quickly, DevOps is the natural result of organizations taking agility past their development processes to encompass the entire software lifecycle, including deployment and maintenance. So, in the same way, Agile teams break the silos between quality engineers and software developers, instead of the development organization throwing finished software over the fence to the operation organization, everyone retains a stake in the overall cycle. Developers work on the deployment and monitoring tools, hardware engineers are part of the original design team, etc, they work more seamlessly to make the continuous delivery.  


Transparency: DevOps breaks the invisible wall between development and operations, to open up a dialog and optimize the whole process in ways that perhaps were not possible before. The very goal is to harness integration, interaction, and innovation. Most of its practices at the end of the day are common sense approaches, but it overcomes silo thinking, change inertia and accelerate digital flow.

DevOp is the IT management instrument which  brings in a cultural shift to an organization to not only develop but also to maintain the application with continuous changes in place. Devops as a natural consequence of applying agile thinking not only to development but to the whole lifecycle of a service  and solution that has IT-components as central assets. And it’s the great practice to run a digital IT with productivity, agility, and innovation.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Three Big “WHAT”s in Change Management

Changes at any level within an organization (individual, team or organization) or across business ecosystem require intent.

Everything changes continuously and the rate of change is accelerated. Change is no longer just a one-time initiative, but an ongoing capability. Change capability is one of the strategic capabilities which underpin successful execution and move the organization from efficiency, effectiveness to agility and maturity. Besides the "Big WHYs" about the change we discussed earlier, here are three big WHAT about Change Management.


#1 What’re the top key elements in Change Management?  The most critical element is a shared VISION for the organization. Change is usually required when an organization is expanding its business, its mission, or is installing/implementing some new technology. In all these cases, a vision provides the guiding light and direction. COMMUNICATION is 'critical' to Change Management rather than the most important or only important factor. Besides communication, one in particular that jumps out is the need for STRATEGY and planning the change. Change Management research points to SPONSORSHIP as #1 in importance to successfully managing changes. Upward FEEDBACK is absolutely necessary. Then they need to communicate their understanding and the contributions they expect of their parts of the organization to their teams/ and employees. ASSESSMENT & MEASUREMENT: A change manager needs to assess and evaluate every specific scenario to create the change program success.


#2 What’re People’s Psychological Responses to Changes? There is so much psychology in openness to new ideas and perspectives, change or business transformation: There is not a one size fits all approach to addressing the different psychological responses and thereby reducing anxiety because there are different psychological perspectives. For example, there are those who think logically, others focus bigger picture, and others are a lot more emotional in their decision-making. It takes slightly different approaches, timescales, and skills to unlock the anxiety. It is all about perspective. What is more interesting is what drives people's perspective. Those lack of vision are either incentivized incorrectly to focus only on the short-term; inexperienced outside of the small field in which they operate; too focused on their own self-preservation; or have no energy or desire left to think longer term. People neither love nor hate "change," they hate to be changed. They need to figure out the big WHY about the change, and “What’s in It for Me”? The differentiator is that people embrace change if they understand the value adding to them clearly.


#3: What are driving factors and people factors in leading changes or business transformation? First, identify key driving factors for business transformation, generally speaking, the key driving factors of any business transformation are (1) Automation and standardization practices. (2) Organizational culture reinvention and (3) the transformation of data into relevant and timely information; or transform the computer systems and technical programs that are being used to take advantage of the latest digital trend; and then business transformation needs to be carried out within the company's system and apply design principle accordingly. In addition, you cannot transform the organization without considering the human factors thoughtfully, it appears as the biggest area of neglect and the major reason why there is a lack of overall improvement in the business. Change is complex and multi-faceted these days, it is more than change agent alone that are essential for transformation. There are perhaps a number of people usually internal to the business appointed by an organization to work with an external/internal Change Manager and act as the "voice of the business," and be the conduit into the business to help with communication, process, and organizational changes.

Changes at any level within an organization (individual, team or organization) or across business ecosystem require intent. In order to ensure a successful initiative and capture the full intent of the “change,” you have to both ponder the big WHY about changes and figure out some significant “WHATs” in building solid change capabilities to adapt to the new normal.

Five Focal Points in Running a Digital IT

Digital IT keeps the digital flow from top-down to bottom up; from branding on the surface to tuning the processes underneath.

Many IT organizations are accelerating from the industrial speed to the digital speed, it also needs to sharpen its image from a back office support center to a front yard of digital innovation. IT-business alignment is also shifted to IT-business engagement. But what are the emergent trends to run a highly effective digital IT, and how can IT become more customer-centric, highly innovative and agiler to adapt to rapid changes and frequent disruptions?


Self-Service business solution delivery: With the emergent SMAC digital technologies, digital IT can be more tailored to different business needs and provide the self-service delivery mode for business functions. Cloud is here to stay, and cloud solutions are becoming more mature, there is real value and every business should get their feet wet and learn what the questions or decisions are, so they can use the tools available when the need arises, but you have to consider all aspects. Tailor cloud solution to meet different business needs. Cloud has different flavors and types, Hybrid, private, and public; SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS, etc. There are important considerations such as mission criticality, integration requirements, data volumes, pricing model, and competitive differentiation required. For example, if there is a need for an application to support a business function where you have to maintain competitive differentiation, then the public nature of a cloud application may not be the best choice. Still, Cloud is a journey, it takes well planning and optimized processes to move up seamlessly.


Brand Recognition: Most of IT organizations have been perceived as a cost center and slow to change in their organization in the last couple of decades. Therefore, running a high-performing digital IT means to re-imagining IT as a digital brain of an organization and rebrand IT as a business value creator and an innovation engine. And there should always have substance behind branding message. Some CIOs are looking at the idea of creating logos and slogans not only to convey who IT is and what it can offer but also to ensure that business clients won't forget it. The key is: Branding and internal marketing campaigns can not be just puffery or publicity. If there’s no substance behind your key messages, if you cannot actually deliver the services you’re supposed to deliver – there’s no point in starting. Branding is also not something that takes time away from the fundamentals of operations, execution, and management. It is instead a methodology, a different way of looking at how you do these things and innovate the better way to get things better.


People-centric process management: Customers are at the center of a digital organization. Customer Centricity is built upon rigorous business’s capabilities and processes. In order to improve business processes, questioning the reason for the existence of the business processes in the first instance, ask the questions; Should this process even exist in the first place? Or is it an inability to imagine a different perspective that could be the big resistance to Customer Centricity taking a firmer hold? The Overly rigid process is an outcome of using rigid process approaches where they don't belong. Also, there should be enough collective experiences in any organization these days on Change Management to take the changes with systematic steps and measure the results accordingly. But often all along implementation, the same business, and user community put its complete resistance as the majority of the time, management has not made clear about their intentions and goals while embarking on such IT initiative. In very few implementations, customers are making the effort to ascertain how a "day in the life" of any worker at any level. from labor to management, will be impacted due to this IT initiative. Process approaches fit for service, but don't restrict – they should support by getting the right information to the right people at the right time.


Data-information-knowledge-insight Management: Fundamentally, IT is shifting from a technology custodian to an information steward, and to ensure the right people getting the right information at the right time in the right locations. Information and decision-making are intimately connected and interdependent. For decision-making to be effective, the decision-maker must have enough knowledge to make their decisions rich in information and significantly different from the available data. With digital flow, both data and knowledge are being convergent in terms what action ensues (for example in analytics), whereas information is divergent as the decision-making process essentially is, and knowledge is where the cultural and social context alignment or misalignment with the information that precedes it. Information is situated between data and knowledge. Knowledge is information in use, an expression of understanding relating information and experience accumulated over time. And ultimately it’s knowledge that supports the decision-making. Therefore, IT needs to manage data-information-knowledge-insight life cycle efficiently to maximize information value and improve decision-making effectiveness and achieve business results.


Working-Learning-Innovation: If the mantra of a traditional workplace is to improve the productivity of people, and then, it’s still not enough to run a digital IT, because digital is also an age of innovation, the importance of creativity for organizations is well-known. Either being a disruptor or being disrupted, innovation needs to be well embedded into the business culture, and process mechanism in order to run an IT as an innovation engine of the organization. Creativity in the workplace is fundamentally about the mental production of new ideas - not just any new ideas, but the creation of ideas that are both original and valuable to business growth. After researching what happens when business managers use lateral thinking, the requirement that creativity in the workplace also requires the deliberate creation of valuable ideas when they are needed - they need to be created on-demand. People have to be given the opportunity to be creative, they have to become empowered to work, learn and innovate.‘”Survival learning” or what is more often termed “adaptive learning” is important – indeed, it is necessary. But for a learning organization, “adaptive learning” must be joined by “generative learning,” learning that enhances your 'capacity to create.’ Because, for a learning organization, it is not enough to survive only, but for thriving, ultimately running an innovative IT organization.

Therefore, running a digital IT is not just about playing some latest technology tools or gadgets, or following the trendy practices, it has to keep digital flow from top-down to bottom up; from branding on the surface to tuning the processes underneath; from data-driven decisions style to customer-centric mentality, It is the shift from doing digital to being digital.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” 1/29/2016

Blogging is the dynamic journey of continuous growing and innovating.

The “Future of CIO” Blog has reached 1.3 million page views with 2500+ 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. It's also about the journey of continuous growing and innovating. Here is the weekly insight of the “Future of CIO” blog.





The Weekly Insight of the “Future of CIO” Blog 1/29/2016
Talent Management Brief: See Through Talent from Different Angles III , Slideshare, Video. People are always the most invaluable asset in businesses. “Hiring the right person for the right position at the right time,” is the mantra of many forward-thinking organizations. The question is how would you define the right people? How do you define wrong, average, mediocre, good, great or extraordinary person? Or put simply, for what should they be right? Traditional Performance Management focusing on measuring what an employee does (mainly being told to do) in a quantitative way is not sufficient to identify high performance or high potential, should we see through talent from different angles?

The CIO's 12 Digital Profiles: Slideshare, Blogs, Video: 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.
  • Running IT as an Innovation Engine in Digital Organizations   Organizations large or small are at the digital journey, and corporate IT is also shifting from a support center to an innovation engine, because more often information is the lifeblood, and technology is the disruptor to push the business world into the digital paradigm. Hence, for any forward-thinking organizations, IT mantra is shifting from “doing more with less,” to “doing more with innovation." But more specifically, how to run IT as an innovation engine to accelerate digital shift?

  • The Multitude of IT Management Digital IT is impacting every business unit and is becoming the very driver of business change. It is not just about the fancy new tools or the help desk with monolithic hardware, one of the fundamental goals of running a high-effective IT is to ensure the right people to get the right information at the right time to make the right decisions. From a management perspective, what are the focal points and priorities IT leaders and management  need to work on for running a high-performing organization in a systematic way?


  • Five Principles to Run a Digital IT Principles are statements of values. Things that define why one make a decision one way or another. These core decision values guide the behavior of individuals within an organization. Digital does flatten  the organizational hierarchy and blur the functional, organizational, and geographical borders in the business ecosystem, it could mean less restrict rules or bureaucracy, but it also means the guiding principles become more crucial  to be defined as core decision values and behavior guidelines. It is less about controls, but more about the clarity of  "why we make decisions the way we do” and what’re the expectations of employees' work performance.


  • How to Close the Gaps in IT Talent Management? People are always the most invaluable asset in any organization, and having the right person in the right position at the right time is always one of the biggest challenges facing any business. This is particularly true for IT, due to the changing nature of technology and abundance of information. Some fresh mindsets, new skills, or integral digital capabilities are needed every day because we live in a time of rapidly changing digital dynamic. However, people are often the weakest link in strategy execution as well, so how to identify and close the gaps in IT talent management more specifically?

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.

How to Earn and Practice “Expert Power”

The expert power has the foundation of in-depth knowledge, profound insight, and abstract wisdom, to connect the minds and win the hearts.


We step into the knowledge economy in which digital provides the new way to learn, the new possibility to explore unknowns, and the new perspectives to lead and work. Today’s digital workforces are hyperconnected and sophisticated with digital fluency. So are today’s business leaders or managers really “powerful” enough to lead them effectively? Power has many different formats; some visible, some invisible; some are earned, some are given; some are delightful, some are intimidating. There are two powers (Informational power which is about the value or importance of information and knowledge, and expert power which comes from a person’s expertise), can truly win the minds and gain the respects. But how can you earn and practice these powers, and more importantly, as a leader, how can you help to grow more experts with an open mind and learning attitude in your organization?


Strength and distinction: Knowledge is power, however, knowledge life cycle is significantly shortened, and lots of commodity knowledge are just clicks away. Thus, digital leaders and professionals need to strengthen their strength and build a unique portfolio of competency and capabilities, and practice expert power based on critical thinking and creative thinking, insight and wisdom. From the talent perspective, it’s important to encourage authenticity, purpose driven talent development and management, and discourage negative competition or unprofessionalism. Strength needs to be built via continuous practices, and competencies are interrelated with the traits and expertise. Neither one overshadows the other, they complement each other. And this is where the differentiation and selection algorithm comes in, and talent analytics can play an important role in people management. Knowledge workers, especially high professionals in digital era should learn and practice their expert power and make influence via persuasion and insight sharing proactively.


Digital footprint: Expert power is neither equal to the title you have or the certificate you hold. Your title can provide you some authority to facilitate, but can't guarantee your leadership effectiveness; your education certificate can imply you have a certain level of learning ability, but can't guarantee you still have updated knowledge, you really know how to think, or you truly have creativity skills. Nowadays, to break down stereotypical biases or any types of career ceilings, continuous delivery, and dynamic digital footprint become the very significant part of “who you are,” and digital platforms can condense your strength to amplify your expert influence. Your digital blueprint will reflect your vision, your character or personality, your expertise, and your uniqueness, not as a snapshot, but as a cohesive flow. At the era of social computing, each one of us can become the leader at our own favorite domains: the thought leader, the domain expert, the change agent, the innovator, the talent master, or the culture evangelist, you can grow and flow both horizontally and vertically, you don’t compete for the best of anything, you will just need to discover your true authentication, and you are competing via your knowledge and expertise. Digital is more open, transparent and fluid, you are what you read, and you are what you are pursuing and what your are creating!


Success/Failure Stories: Life's a journey with ups and downs, we all have a set of success and failure stories to be who we are at the moment. And both parts can build your strength and expertise if you can learn from them and share about them. Success is a byproduct of failure and application of wisdom. Success is persistent, punctual efforts with perseverance. Failure is the chance to teach you the depth of life and taste the bitterness which might also help you to get wiser. Success is picking you up when you fall or get a setback and having learned from the fall to continue on the life journey with a positive attitude and wiser mind.


Coach capability: Coaching and mentoring are going to be increasingly important now, and that’s why expert power is perhaps more powerful than other types of powers in the age of digitalization and globalization. Mentoring has always been a very integral part of an organization’s success. In the past, the share and spread of knowledge and skills could survive in isolation. However, in the new age, the faster the dissemination, the better the response. Some of this teaching have to be culturally driven by the insightful leaders and not just limited to discretionary skill. The coach/mentor can show the team how to explore their own natural skill sets, talents, and strong sides, take into account their own objectives in line with working needs. Additionally, to show them that there is always a way to earn what they dream of - if they are willing to spend the time and energy in self-development. The titles and qualifications, if well managed, are needed in every society: ensuring respect for the person who has the knowledge and expert power to coach.


Empathic Communication: Technology makes the world much smaller than ever, we are all net citizen and C (connecting) generation now, the expert power can influence and improve communication quality and effectiveness, because knowledge-insight-wisdom cycle can overcome silo mentality, and gain empathy which  is the power of understanding and imaginatively entering into another person's feelings; or the intellectual identification with vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. Knowledge and insight help to build the leadership influence power in developing the true understanding based upon trust and cognitive understanding. It’s the leadership capacity to be non-judgmental; the capacity to appreciate and communicate with respect for other people's ways; and the capacity to be flexible with tolerance for ambiguity.


The expert power has the foundation of in-depth knowledge, profound insight, and abstract wisdom, to connect the minds and win the hearts. Knowledge is the ‘power’; wisdom is the exceptionally effective use of the power. Knowledge is learned, and expert power is earned to make deep influence via the inner drive and demonstrated wisdom.

Five Aspects of Digital Strategy Management

In practice, digital strategy is a living process with iterative steps and a dynamic continuum.

The strategy is what you intend to do or accomplishes in terms of managing both resources and constraints to having the critical success factors in place and achieve the set of strategic priorities. In the strategy making process, one must also assess the environment, competitions, and other threats and opportunities and devise contingencies accordingly. With the increasing speed of changes and disruptions, digital Strategy-Execution is an ongoing continuum with iterative steps. Here are five aspects of digital strategy management.


Real-time planning: The strategy is not created in isolation, valuable and reliable real-time information about the organization must be available for the design of effective strategy. It is also crucial to make a risk assessment and constant evaluation of business environment, otherwise, you may end up having a strategic plan which is oceans apart from reality. The strategy has to suit your organization, if it is too rigid or prescriptive, it becomes a waste of time. What really matters is having a continuous dialog about the progress being made to achieve the strategic initiatives. Most executives view goal setting as an annual event, even though business is dynamic, and the business objectives can change over that 12 month period. There is nothing wrong with the annual revisiting of the goals, but goal setting should be event-driven as well whenever it is needed during the year. Thus, real-time planning is a characteristic of digital strategy. Strategy Planning becomes a "living process" with regular evaluation, scanning, listening, revisiting and potential course correction.


Multidimensional business values: Digital business is a hyper-connected and interdependent ecosystem, therefore, the business value needs to be defined via multidimensional length, including economic value, customer value, functional value, social value, etc. Too often the whole system is not considered when measuring values and success. Ask management teams to define business values in terms of outcomes they're helping the organization and customers to achieve and you will often get very tactical responses. To preserve "business value," you need to have a very clear idea of the "product" - its life cycle, the overall "value proposition," via multidimensional lenses, where it fits into the overall "product/project portfolio," the wider competitive landscape and your price/business model.


Agility: Agility is “the ability of business to adapt rapidly and cost efficiently in response to changes in the business environment.” What do you put in place or how would you then structure your business to ensure that the ability of your business to adapt rapidly. The focus is necessary to maintain or improve quality because there can be positive impacts as well as negative needs to be on capabilities for strategy management. One of the agile goals is to improve business resilience, which is also a critical business ability to fail forward and manage risks effectively. For example, some Agile organizations support and encourage the idea of highlighting "mistakes" by those who made them and actually in some ways rewarding those team members. This, in turn, reduces risks and promotes feedback, learning, and transparency. In essence, the twin goals of an Agile transformation are to increase value received and decrease risk.


Measure Leading Indicators: It’s important to keep tracking and measuring the outcome of strategy execution. There are many practical metrics and KPIs, but not every metric is created equal. The concept of leading and lagging indicators relies on an understanding of the cause-effect relationships between KPIs in the different perspectives. Leading indicators intend to measure the performance that changes ahead of the underlying strategy management cycle. For example, good process results depend upon a number of things included in the learning and growth perspective. Well trained and happy staffs are needed to make the processes work. Investment in new IT systems provides new capabilities and competencies (such as customer analytics and effective process control). Investments in leadership training affect the corporate culture and values, especially on innovation and empowerment. The learning and growth perspective are where businesses build institutional capacity and capabilities. These are longer-term investments which take multiple periods to have an effect on the financial KPIs (lagging indicators). That why they are seen as "lead indicators."


Harden the soft factors for successful strategy execution: Soft factors such as communication or culture make invisible but direct impact on seamless strategy management. More than two-thirds of strategy implementation fail to achieve the expected result, often the root causes are the soft business factors which underlining business capabilities. Most problems are systemic and require systemic solutions where people take accountability for their part in describing and solving them. Without denying the accountability of the person being asked about their performance, too often, the leader fails, explicitly or even implicitly, to acknowledge what they are accountable for in a situation or demonstrate a willingness to explore legitimate systemic issues beyond the performance, or even control of the team member that contribute to the outcome.

The purpose of strategy never changes, it’s the roadmap to achieve a vision of what organizations want to be, to achieve. But in practice, digital strategy is a living process with iterative steps and a dynamic continuum. Organizations must be proactive in keeping both short-term and long-term strategy goals in sight, and leverage the emergent digital philosophy, methodology, and tools to achieve a high-performance business result.