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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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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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.

 

 

Words + Actions = Trust.


How do you create an environment of trust in your teams? Whether you have a new team or a team that has worked together for many years, how much time do you spend as a leader building trust?

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Trust should be a competitive differentiator in your team. Of course! Who would debate that statement? However, easier said than done.

Think about the last 3-4 years and the erosion of trust in our society. What feelings do these words arouse in you: Enron, Madoff, Martha Stewart, Financial Bailout?

Our opportunity as leaders of change is to create teams that inspire trust with our internal (employees, managers, colleagues) and external (customers, suppliers, partners) teammates. Try some of these ideas:

  • Create your opportunity for trust with words, then follow with action.
  • Choose to believe in your teammates and tell them that you do.
  • Model trust. Be trustworthy. Do as you say and say a you do.
  • Seek opportunities to create trust in individual, small team, and large team settings.
  • Bring teammates into your planning / actions / tasks. Let them put a fingerprint on the work of the team.
  • Delegate. Sharing responsibility with others demonstrates that you at a minimum, want to trust them.
  • Be candid and dispassionate. Honesty in communications without emotional interference can be a powerful leadership technique.
  • Have courage to be more trusting of others than they might be of you. Allow yourself to carefully demonstrate trust in others that might extend beyond your current relationship today.

To the extent that you can create a culture of trust within your teams you position your customers to consume that trust. Remember, being a customer of a company is a good mirror to what it is like to be an employee of that same company.

Talent vs Production by Herm Edwards


YouTube – Herm’s Message To Rookies.

In the United States, the NFL season is upon us, or not. I hope the owners and players come to a settlement, but that is not what I want to share today.

In preparation for the upcoming NFL season, the league held its rookie seminar to welcome the newest players into the league, a fantastic ritual to incorporate into any organization. At this year’s session (and apparently others), ex-NFL player and coach,, Herm Edwards addressed the players. The video is linked above. Herm Edwards happened to play for my hometown team, the Philadelphia Eagles. While I recognize, I might be biased in my appreciation for him, he hits the nail on the head with this excerpted speech above. I hope the NFL / ESPN posts more of this comments.

Paraphrasing…”You were born with talent. You didn’t learn it. You didn’t go to the store to get it. It was given to you.” Very true words, in my humble opinion. While I am big believer in effort, and hard work, talent is hard to overcome, particularly at the NFL level of sports. Don’t misunderstand me, effort can make up for some lack of talent. I personally believe the harder you work, the luckier you get. However, this is not the point of this discussion.

Herm hits the nail on the head by differentiating talent from production. In the NFL, this is very apparent. There are many players who were drafted in the first round including even Heisman trophy winners who never lived up to their talent. They failed to produce. In the business world, you might say “they didn’t deliver” or “they failed to execute.”

Inspired by Herm’s comments towards the end of this video, don’t let your talent under-perform. If you consider yourself talented, make sure that you are delivering results. No one ever wants these things to happen, and as leaders it your challenge to make sure this doesn’t happen. At the same time, on the flip side, don’t let talent replace performance. Talent is important. We all want to surround ourselves with talented people, but managing a highly talented team, leading them to victory takes a different leadership style than managing a team with minimal talent.

Finally, as an individual, if you find yourself “basking in the glow” of your talent, but cannot explain your results, check yourself. As a leader of teams, hire for talent and pay for results. And remember, “you play to win the game”.

 

Do you have a “hero-based” culture?


Great People Are Overrated – Bill Taylor – Harvard Business Review.

How many times have you worked in a team where, there was one or two outstanding performers who always had the answer and were the “go to” people in the team? What 5 adjectives would you use to describe the culture / character of that team?

Heroes are everywhere. The are most noticeable in professional sports. The article linked above refers to some recent examples, most notably, LeBron James of the Miami Heat. We need heroes, the kind of people who step up in crucibles of crisis to make the great play, close the difficult deal, turn around the troubled project, or deliver on the unreachable milestone.  They are very much a part of our society, and they bring limitations as well as benefits.

Are  you staffing your team with heroes? Are you picking up the highest paid free agents in an effort to boost your team? Are you building an all-star roster, or are you amassing a multi-faceted team capable of taking on just about any challenge thrown their way? The key is assembling the right balance within your team to give people a chance to be a hero, even an unsung hero. Every hero is made. This is validated by the fact that they are presented with an opportunity to shine, and they step up to make it happen. Having heroes on your team is important, but an over-reliance on them is risk. Heroes without a supporting cast, can lead to under-achievement.

Taking a lesson from the article attached, I would agree that great people, heroes, are overrated, much like betting $1M at the roulette table is overrated. For every millionaire who has won big at gambling there are hundreds of thousands who have lost. For every Mark Zuckerberg, there are millions of technical entrepreneurs who never made it. In business and in life, an over-emphasis on heroes or heroic behavior can create issues like bad team dynamics, increased costs, and an unsustainable model for success. So, how do you create a balanced team in the work place?

The triple constraint of repeatable success in the work environment is:

  1. The right balance of structure (e.g. processes and standards that enable not inhibit),
  2. The right individual people who can be, but don’t need to be a hero (e.g. individual skills and self-confidence), and
  3. The right team dynamic (e.g. a mixture of complimentary skills with individual self-awareness)

No matter what line of business you work in, your will be a better leader by establishing an environment that periodically gives people opportunities to be heroes while creating a management system that reduces the dependency on “betting it all on the roulette table.”

Do you have white knuckles?


How often do you find yourself holding on a little too tight? Do you have a “kung-fu grip” on your project, program, responsibilities, transformation, and/or life?

In a recent exchange with colleagues, we discussed this phenomenon. Enterprise transformations have pros and cons and tendency to cause white knuckles more often than not. One of the pros is the once in a lifetime journey that these endeavors provide, and one of the cons is the once in a lifetime journey that these endeavors provide!

Enterprise transformations are launched with the goal of rebuilding companies through significant change. You might think having the right goals, organizational structure, products, feasibility to meet financial commitments, partners, go to market strategy, etc. are the key to your transformation. While all these are vitally important to the end result of the transformation, I would suggest that to truly thrive in these environments, you look inside yourself and embrace your own personal change on the following 4 levels:

  1. Intellectual – What is your capacity to deal with complexity, unexpected challenges, first of a kind problems, thinking on your feet, etc.?
  2. Physical – Quite simply, how healthy are you?
  3. Emotional – How do you deal with adversity, ambiguity, self-confidence, self-doubt, self-awareness, conflict?
  4. Spiritual – What do you believe? Who do you believe in? What are your life philosophies? From where do you draw energy?

Do you know if you are holding on too tight? How? Do you know when you are squeezing the life out of your project, program, teammates, friends, family? Enterprise transformations will undoubtedly challenge your capacity across these 4 personal levels. What investments will you make to change your intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual capacity?

If this resonates with you, you may want to check out Noel Tichy‘s famous book “The Leadership Engine”. In this book he describes that each of us lead based on three concepts: Ideas, Values, and E3 (emotional energy, & edge). Noel’s model is very useful, and put into practice can help you understand your personal leadership model, which in turn will help you navigate the intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual growth offered via enterprise transformations.

No matter what leadership model, or personalization you inject into your enterprise transformation, recall that it is unacceptable for any one person in a transformation to acknowledge that the enterprise is undergoing drastic change, but not them personally.