Elevating the Role of the CIO – Part 2 of 2


In Part 1 of this article, we discussed the requirement for a management system to assist CIO’s with generating more value. We teed up the idea of how a CIO can improve their relationship with their Board of Directors by managing technology as a business.

There is significant thought leadership originating from a group call the Technology Business Management Council (www.tbmcouncil.org) regarding these same concerns. What is a CIO’s management system and how can they implement something that is transferable from one industry to another so their peers and board might more easily grasp their world?

As a reference, check out the Technology Business Management Framework below.

tbm-council-book-framework

This framework provides a consistent language to communicate the world of technology in business terms that are industry agnostic. CIO’s are dealing with these challenges on a daily basis, and they are all implementing management systems to plan, monitor, and preside over these concepts. Imagine if each CIO were able to articulate their management system and approach to adding value using this framework? If they did, they might be closer to the CFO and Chief Counsel role standards described in PArt 1 of this article.

Further, if CIO’s were able to manage, communicate, and deliver using this standard framework, I suggest that they would change the dialog they have with their boards of directors. Think about the questions that Boards ask their CIOs. They include but are not limited to the following:

  • How are you investing in the business to create new and unique value = Innovate to Grow & Compete
  • What are you doing to control operating costs = Optimize Your Cost for Performance
  • How are you addressing risks like cybersecurity? = Transform by Enabling Agility
  • How do you compare to your peers and competitors? = Understand and Benchmark Your True Cost and Performance.
  • What is your sourcing strategy? = Position to Manage Your Supply and Demand
  • How are you improving your people? = Drive A Performance Based Culture

The framework is comprehensive enough that it is applicable to any size company in any industry in any country at any point in the life-cycle of a business (early adopters, plateau, or decline). It demystifies the business of technology using common terms understandable by multiple layers in a company from entry level through board level.

To truly explore the value of this framework a more detailed discussion regarding the decomposition of these framework elements into a service catalog and standard costs elements is needed. And, that’s exactly where the TBM Council is headed, per a recent article that can be found here.

Consider this provocative proposal: by embracing a framework like this, and establishing a management system (e.g. service catalog, cost model, etc.) under it, you will position yourself to improve your relationship with your board of directors.

The conversation has just begun! More details, perspectives and thought leadership is coming. To join the discussion, visit the TBM Council and get in the game!

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Elevating the role of the CIO – Part 1 of 2


Image representing Wired Magazine as depicted ...
Image via CrunchBase

What is Your Management System – Wired Magazine

Have you ever wondered how an organization adds new value and manages their business? How does a management team come together and exert their will on an organization so their commitment to the Board is achieved? How do they deliver increased revenue, launch new products, lower operating costs, integrate new sales channels, improve customer service, innovative solutions that create competitive advantage?

For a publicly held company, we see the financial results of these efforts via annual reports, quarterly filings, and the classic measure of stock valuation. We measure the delivery of incremental value long after it has been created within the company. So, how does the management team build the new value? There are many actions and decisions required to build a new value chain (e.g. agree on product design, service offerings, market entry strategies, etc.). The value opportunity is unveiled when the product, sales channel, or new value is deployed to the public. Often there are months, even years of work that leads up to the new creation of value. The value is created minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, and ultimately, month by month.

In the area of value creation where technology is a key driver, how does a CIO and their team contribute to this value? How do they manage their business?

Wired Magazine recently published an article that explores this question in greater detail and offers a challenge to the CIO’s of companies to build a more standardized management system. The article is available here.

In summary, the role of the CIO must mature in the coming months and years to create a more consistent and transferable management system for their companies. CIO’s need to manage technology like a business. In doing so, they will elevate themselves amongst their peers and in turn create more customer, competitive, employee, and shareholder (CCES) value.

In part 2 of this article, we’ll explore how CIO’s can unlock their relationship with their board of directors and up-level their positional ability to generate CCES value.

Decide Fast, Learn Fast, Win Fast


Ready to Unleash Your Transformation? Focus on Decision Making.

How many time has this happened to you? Its Monday morning, and you just logged into your weekly staff meeting when you get an urgent call from senior management. They want you to call them immediately, join their conference call or maybe even come to their office to discuss why your company cannot move faster with your projects, change, strategy execution, technology, process improvements, etc.? At least 3 times this month? It happens everyday, and it happened again today. The pace of your change needs to be faster. It will happen again tomorrow! So, what do you do? For starters, I propose you start with your decision making.

A company can only move as fast as they make decisions. The effectiveness of decision making is like the speedometer for your project, change initiative, strategic endeavor, etc. If decisions are slow, your transformation will be slow. If decisions are fast, your company will be able to move forward faster. Decisions create actions that translate into tasks for people in the company to complete. No decisions, no actions, no tasks, no completion.

DecideFastLearnFastWinFastIn Leading Successful Change, authors Shea & Solomon propose to change an organization you need to change behavior. They elaborate further to describe 8 levers of change, one of which they describe as decision allocation. Simply put, think of this as “who decides what, and where?” There are models available to help you structure the decision making process. I personally prefer the DACI model: Driver, Approvers, Contributors, Informed because it is simple and emphasizes accountability in the role of Driver to make the decision happen.

Before we go rushing off to “just make more decisions, faster”, lets consider some drivers behind slower decision making. When companies lack action, they are indecisive. Indecision can be caused for may reasons including but not limited to: not enough information, too much information, and unclear roles and responsibilities. Said another way, people hesitate to make decisions because they fear the decision will not have the required quality demanded by the company.

This balance of speed vs quality can be challenging. Consider the classic 2×2 above to assist with guiding actions to improve your decision making. If you find yourself with fast decision making, but low quality, focus on learning faster from your low quality decisions. If you find yourself with high quality decisions but too much time to make them, focus on deciding faster by embracing more risk.

Make no mistake, if you make decisions faster you improve your company’s ability to move forward faster. Have you heard the old saying “Win Fast, Fail Fast“? While it is very applicable in this context, I prefer “Decide Fast, Learn Fast, Win Fast”. If you make decisions faster, and they truly lack the quality you desire, engage your learning capability and dial your learnings back into a new decision to ultimately win faster.

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Gamification of Change: 4 Principles


20130119-151135.jpgImagine one day you walk into your bosses office, and she tells you that she needs you to lead the newest and biggest change initiative in the company. It’s brand new, it’s sponsored by the CEO, the board is behind it, and there is no one better than you in the company to lead the team. All the opportunity you could hope for, along with all the risk!

Where would you start? Clearly this opportunity has many challenges including the validity of the strategy / initiative, funding, schedule, scope, politics, and adoption by the stakeholders. In this post, let’s focus on that last piece adoption.

In this new role, how will you win the hearts and minds of the employees so that they embrace the change and become devout evangelists not energy-sucking vampires? Let’s consider the use of gamification to increase adoption of the change. I propose that your change management efforts are ripe for Gamification.

Wikipedia defines gamification as “the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts in order to engage users and solve problems. Gamification is used in applications and processes to improve user engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, and learning.”

Gamification has several attributes that make it perfect for your change management efforts.

It’s social. Change management efforts require thorough stakeholder analysis and comprehensive communication plans with well designed messages to address the stakeholders. All of these are required to make your initiative “become social” within your enterprise. With the advent of social media, you get a simplification of this work. Leverage social media capabilities in your change management efforts, and you are one step closer to gamifying your change.

It’s competitive. In social games there is a degree of winners and losers. A little healthy competition is frequently a good thing. However, within this context, the competition is less about “I win, you lose” and more about “We all are making progress against the goals of the initiative and racking up some points along the way!” Are you providing the opportunity for everyone to win a badge through your change? Does everyone get to accumulate points, extra rounds, extended time?

It’s rewarding. Everyone likes to win, why not give everyone a chance to cross the finish line a champion? When everyone wins a badge, a round, a race, or trophy they are a champion for a moment. After all, leading change, is not about everyone crossing the finish line at precisely the same time, it’s about building and sustaining momentum thereby moving your stakeholders closer and closer to the finish line. Reward them along the way! If it’s not clicking yet, give Foursquare a try to see if you can become the mayor of somewhere!

It’s fun! When is the last time you said to a colleague in work “Wow, that change project was a blast!! What an expereince!” Why not? Why don’t we aspire to the same experience you have playing Temple Run or Angry Birds. How might you and the team you are leading feel if their change project was just a little more like Temple Run? Let’s make it more fun for our stakeholders!

Maybe you are leading a large change initiative now as a change / project manager or sponsor. Take a bold step and consider “how can I gamify my change project?” Get on your favorite mobile device and play a game, see how you feel about it and imagine that feeling in your stakeholders. Then, try it and let me know how it goes!

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Tend to Your Goldfish


English: The fish bowl 日本語: 金魚鉢

As we turn over the calendar and enter the new year, many thoughts are focused on renewal. It is customary for our societies to set new goals and make new resolutions for the coming year. You may have already updated your goals or agreed your New Year’s resolution. Or perhaps, you have yet to finalize them. Either way, I hope you will allow some room for one more in 2013: Tend to your goldfish!

“The single greatest advantage any company can achieve is organizational health. Yet it is ignored by most leaders even though it is simple, free, and available to anyone who wants it.” – Patrick Lencioni from The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything.

Metaphorically, think of your organizational health as the water in which the fish swim, where the fish are the employees and the water is the culture or organizational health of the company. If the quality of the water degrades, what happens to the quality of the fish? What needs to be done to maintain healthy water? How frequently do you need to tend to the water? The fish? What happens to the water when you add new fish? More fish? When do you need to get a new bowl?

Let’s extend the metaphor to our favorite topic of business change. Transformations that are big, bold, and daring compel the leadership team to be equally big, bold, and daring. Great achievements require great leaders! Now, take a deep breath. The good news is that every all-star, expert, or thought leader was a novice at some point in their life. The difference is that they found something and invested in it. I believe that we all have unique value to contribute to society, your company, family, community, etc. Within the context of a transformation, your call to action for 2013 could be to create your own single greatest advantage: organizational health by tending to the goldfish!

  • It is simple: Launch an employee engagement campaign in your office, department, or team. Ignite the fire and let it grow.
  • It is free: A smile, kindness, passion for our customers, honesty with ourselves, and being genuine don’t cost us anything.
  • Available to anyone who wants it: What you give out will be returned to you two times.

Your organizational health is in your hands. Don’t settle. Be a great leader every day, by growing a healthy organizational that benefits your customers, employees, and owners! In 2013, don’t ignore this. What can you do to grow a healthy organization for your company? How will you care and feed for the fish and the fish bowl?

Create Purpose. Create Relationships. Create Engagement.


Purpose.com Pumpkinfest

 

Each of us have experiences within the context of the video below. We all volunteer, give back to our communities, or do things simply because we enjoy them. Said another way, we live our lives with purpose.

 

Our shareholders have a purpose for investing in us. Our employees have a purpose for working with us. And, our customers have a purpose for buying from us.

 

With this in mind, we are called to create the purpose for our teams in order to shape our shareholder, employee, and customer value propositions. While creating a purpose in your organization has many desirable effects, I want to focus on the correlation of purpose to relationships to engagement.

 

By creating a purpose, we create an opportunity for our teams to build a relationship with the company on a professional, personal, and even an emotional level.

 

  • Professional – A fair exchange of value for money exists. Your skills and role are matched.
  • Personal – A sense of pride comes through, where the employer offers value beyond compensation to include things like learning, attractive experiences, and shared beliefs/culture.
  • Emotional – In these situations, you likely work with people whom you consider some of your closest friends. Said another way, you likely have shared experiences in your work life that reflect relationships and experiences similar to high school or college.

 

Through purpose, you plant the seed of employee engagement that can grow to bear the fruit of professional, personal, and emotional engagement. Of course, you need more than purpose (e.g. values, culture, etc.) for the fruit to ripen, but it all starts with purpose. In turn, engagement of your teams ultimately translates into great products and customer service, thus fulfilling the stakeholder, customer, and employee value propositions mentioned above.

 

What do you do to create an environment to work together with a purpose? Start with purpose, and invest in employee engagement to position your team to delivery the best possible products and services to your customers.

 

 

Innovation is a Team Sport


 

1906 'Springboks' rugby team. (south african r...

 

Innovation is important to your company’s future. However, is innovation in your environment an “ivory tower” where a select few have a monopoly on the subject or, is innovation a team sport for you?

The short video below provides some great insight into patterns of innovation. After watching this video, I am reminded that no one company, country, division, department, team, or individual has a monopoly on innovation. Rather, innovations take time and benefit from the collision of slow hunches from multiple people. Innovation is indeed a team sport, made  up of individual players with unique value to contribute!

Keep this in mind as you go about our business within your current environment. We are all called to innovate. Be sure to bring your hunches to your management, project teams, and discussions. Your customers, employees and stakeholders deserve the benefit of your innovative thoughts.