Archives For Information Governance

Leadership & Disruption

January 12, 2015 — 1 Comment

I wrote this article for Information Age in the Summer of 2014. It was only available to print/online subscribers, but given my continued focus on Top-Down Data Leadership as a catalyst for creating a Predictive Enterprise I thought that I would share it with my blog readers. It was written for the CIO’s in the audience whom I see as an endangered species at this point.

Leadership in the Age of Disruptive Change

Leadership is a much-touted attribute, highly desired by aspiring entrepreneurs as well as within mature organizations. Much has been written about its virtues and boot camps have been created in respect to “transforming yourself into one”. However, in spite of these endeavors, few current much less future leaders/influencers have been trained in the art of “Leading during disruption”.

What is Disruption? (And yes, it has become a noun). It is the disruption of the status quo by out innovating and out executing an established standard[1]. It typically consists of new offerings that are “good enough” and at a much lower price point. A salient example of this is “the Cloud”.

Clay Christensen (Harvard Business School) launched the Age of Disruption with his seminal work “The Innovators’ Dilemma” in 1997 followed by many other writings & opinions on this subject up to the current date. His work has created a new management & planning paradigm, which has crept into almost every aspect of strategic thinking today. A new credo of “Disrupt or be disrupted” is being taught in every Business School across the globe and drives activities within every organization today.

By now you are probably asking: “How does this impact Leadership, much less in the IT domain?” Good question. IT Management today (executive and line) is all about maintaining the status quo across the enterprise while struggling to improve service levels and fight off cyber threats, while being constrained with finite resources and budget. There is little bandwidth (or money) for innovation or any incremental efforts. By definition it is an area that is prime for disruption.

There are a number of disruptive forces attacking IT Management today, not just the movement to the Cloud, which is primarily an infrastructure play. Other forces include; Big Data & Analytics, IoT, Mobility, IT Service Management, Cyber Security to name several. All of these have created a “perfect storm of disruption” for current CIO’s and IT Managers to contend with. Given that the majority of IT Leaders have grown up in a culture of building and maintaining applications and services within small to large enterprises it is no surprise that they are ill equipped to contend with the idea that their familiar world being turned on its head, in many cases by their own customers and not just by external forces in the IT vendor community. Change of belief sets and behaviors while under the duress of Disruption is not easily achieved, much less comfortable for any Leader. It requires abandoning much of what they have learned and experienced along the way and embracing new Leadership disciplines on the fly. As a result we have seen many IT Leaders exhibit a form of knee-jerk behavior where they are creating new “czar like” roles within their organizations to focus on data, analytics, security, technology, etc. while they wrestle with the complexities of disruption. This approach can provide some short-term relief from but creates leadership anarchy over time as these czars lobby for power and control.

What is required are true Transformational Leaders in IT during this time of disruption as the organization moves from a solutions-driven paradigm to an outcome-based one. In a majority of cases these leaders will come from outside of IT, with many having different career backgrounds and industry sector experience. All will have zero investment in the status quo and will be merciless to those who remain invested in it.

Leading IT in the Age of Disruption requires new leadership skills, few of which can be taught, most being learned by surviving previous waves of upheaval. Battle tested leaders and not IT bureaucrats will lead outcome driven organizations in the near future. Be prepared.

 

Some Parting Thoughts:

The IT Organization of the Future is one where services are delivered in support of strategic, tactical and operational outcomes. These services will be transparent to the organizations’ infrastructure and independent of its business model, with little interface to what many call “the legacy estate”. Few expect to see the large IT organization as it is constituted today, it having been replaced by a relationship model driven by facilitators and business advocates.

Becoming a Disruptive Leader is not a straightforward journey, no matter your background. It requires the embrace of wholesale change, the nurturing of innovative thinking and behavior and the management of outcomes rather than resources. It requires a personal transformation that many will choose not to make.

[1] A permanent or long-lasting thing.

Over the past two+ years as the vast majority of other Thought Leaders and Industry Pundits have promoted (and hyped) the notions of Big Data, Chief Data (& Analytics) Officers, Data Scientists, etc. I have proffered a new Leadership Paradigm for adoption by all CEO’s, Boards & Executive Teams to use in creating what is widely referred to as “A Predictive Enterprise”. In this new paradigm, which I refer to as “The Data Leadership Nexus” these leaders become fully accountable for “all things data & analytics”. No longer the domain of IT and its proxies, Data, Information & Analytics become Core Competencies for the Organization to leverage pervasively across all strategic activities and operational domains. Critical to achieving the benefits of The Data Leadership Nexus is engaging with the entire Organization to adapt & become a “Culture of evidence-based decision makers” who use its Core Competencies (Data, Information & Analytics) to build and sustain Competitive Advantage in every domain of applicable use.

Missing entirely from The Data Leadership Nexus strategic framework is the need for Czars, Unicorns, Griffins or other Proxies in respect to inherent accountabilities born by the CEO, Board and Senior Executive Team. In the framework; Data, Information & Analytics are not IT Functions, but essential Core Competencies for exploitation. Additionally, the Organization’s Culture, as a reflection of the CEO’s shadow in not only fully engaged in the execution of the Core Strategy, but essential to its entire success.

I wrote extensively about much of this in blog postings of 2014 (A recap can always be found here: https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/09/16/recap-the-data-leadership-nexus/ )

I promised to write a blog in late 2014 on an integrated approach to achieving the goals of The Data Leadership Nexus and in the spirit of the recent holiday season I decided to use the traditional “Twelve Days of Christmas” as a template (via Twitter). Below is my version of this classic. I hope that you enjoy it and understand the “Integrated Approach” that I was endeavoring to achieve.

On the First Day of , the Board gave the Leadership Mantle to make & pervasive across the entire Enterprise.

On the 2nd Day of the gave the Organization a powerful core strategy that leverages & as Core Competencies to achieve strategic outcomes and create sustainable competitive advantage.

On 3rd Day of the spoke to the foundation for Strategic Success: “Top-Down Leadership, an Engaged Culture & full leverage of our Core Competencies”.

On 4th Day of the Organization began its journey to becoming a Predictive Enterprise. It embraced the Four Core Strategic Constructs. (Information is an Asset, Evidence-based Decisioning, Information-driven Risk Management & Analytics-everywhere to create Competitive Advantage.

On the 5th day of the entire Enterprise (from the Top-Down) became competent in the use & exploitation of , & .

On the Sixth Day of the laid out the blueprint for Evidence-based Decision Making at all levels across the Enterprise.

On the 7th Day of the declared to all that “Building a Predictive Enterprise is a top strategic priority for our Organization.”

On the 8th Day of the Board & integrated , & into their Accountabilities.

On Ninth Day of the & the entire Senior Executive Team pledged their accountability to be -Literate Leaders.

On 10th Day of the Nexus of Top-Down Leadership, Deep Core Competencies & an Engaged Culture formed the basis of becoming a Predictive Enterprise.

On the Eleventh Day of #DataLeadership the #CEO & Board rolled-out the Organization’s five-year strategy to become a Predictive Enterprise.

On the 12th Day, the #CEO & Board declared; “2015 will be the Year of #DataLeadership” for our Organization, the first major step in evolving into a Predictive Enterprise .

I am looking forward to The Year of Data Leadership and will be writing many more postings on the topic in my Information Age (UK) (www.information-age.co.uk) monthly column, this blog & during keynote presentations outlined in my Calendar of Events on this site. I will be working vigilantly with CEO’s, Boards and Senior Executive Teams to help them use The Data Leadership Nexus to achieve competitive advantage and other strategic outcomes as A Predictive Enterprise.

Stay tuned!

2015 is shaping up to be a busy year for me already. See what I have going so far and check back often for updates and additions. In most cases I will be Tweeting and Blogging live from each conference;

Conferences:

April 2015: “PASS Business Analytics Conference 2015” – April 21, 1:00 PM, Ballroom H, – Santa Clara, CA (http://www.sqlpass.org/bac/2015/Speakers.aspx)

Leadership Track Keynote: “Embracing The Data Leadership Nexus to achieve Strategic Success”.

(“The Roles & Accountabilities that the CEO and his/her Senior Executive Team have when they embrace Top-Down Data Leadership as a management framework for Big Data & Analytics success.” )

May 2015: Information Age (UK): “SDX Leadership 2015”May 14th Central London (Location TBA) – (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sdx-leadership-2015-tickets-14651696619)

Keynote: (Title TBC)

Blog Series: (www.InfoMgmtExec.me)

Profiles in Data Leadership (multi-part)

Part 1: Governor Martin O’Malley, CEO: State of MD

Part 2: Brian Cornell, CEO, Target Corporation

Part 3…. (TBD)

Articles:

Information Age (UK): “The Decade of the Data Breach: How to Cope” (April – URL TBD)

Information Age (UK): “Why do Most Digital Transformation Programmes Fail? “(March – http://bit.ly/1zsPX5T)

IBM Big Data Hub: “The Privacy Corner” – Data Privacy Day 2015 Feature: “Some Thoughts for Privacy Day 2015” (http://ibm.co/1z6RvUY)

IBM Big Data Hub: “The Privacy Corner”. “Is Privacy Dead?” (December – (http://ibm.co/1BfBs79)

Information Age (UK):  “Personal Privacy, Internet Commerce & National Security – Can they Co-exist?” (February -http://bit.ly/1JsRU6P)

Information Age (UK): “2015: The Year of Data Leadership” (January – http://bit.ly/145Ai2Z)

Information Age (UK): “The State of Open Data” (December 2014 Issue: (http://bit.ly/1xF1HVM)

The Data Leadership Nexus (Blog):

“Leadership & Disruption” (https://infomgmtexec.me/2015/01/12/leadership-disruption/)

“The Twelve Days of Data Leadership (Summary” (https://infomgmtexec.me/2015/01/01/the-twelve-days-of-data-leadership/)

“The Data Leadership Nexus: (Recap)” (Updates throughout the month) (https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/09/16/recap-the-data-leadership-nexus/)

October & November will be frantic months of activities with a strong focus on Conferences. Check back often for updates and additions. In most cases I will be Tweeting and Blogging live from each conference;

Conferences:

Association of Change Management Professionals (ACMP): “2014 Change Connect Symposium” – October 1-2 – Microsoft Campus Commons (http://www.acmppnwnetwork.org/?page_id=326)

Digital Analytics Association (DAA): “Monster Analytics Mashup” – October 16th – Microsoft Conference Center (http://www.digitalanalyticsassociation.org/calendar_day.asp?date=10/16/2014&event=260#.VCWfF8LF-yM)

Information Age (UK): “Data Leadership 2014” – October 30th – The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel (London) (http://www.dataleadership.co.uk) :

Keynote: “Embracing The Data Leadership Nexus for Strategic Success”

UK Open Data Initiative: “ODI Summit 2014” – November 2-4 – British Film Institute (London) (http://summit.theodi.org/)

Articles:

IBM Big Data Hub: “The Privacy Corner”. “Discrimination and Other Abuses drive the Need for Ethics in Big Data” (http://ibm.co/1sKmkx0)

Information Age (UK): “Transforming into a Predictive Enterprise” (http://www.information-age.com/technology/information-management/123458506/holy-grail-big-data-becoming-predictive-enterprise)

Information Age (UK): “The State of Open Data” (November 15th (URL to be posted at time of publishing)

IBM Big Data Hub: “The Privacy Corner”. “Have we already lost the Privacy battle?” (November – Date TBD)

The Data Leadership Nexus (Blog):

“Reflections on Data Leadership 2014” (November 4th)

“How to Successfully Execute your Transformational Plan for becoming a Predictive Enterprise” (November 15th)

“The Data Leadership Nexus: (Recap)” (Updates throughout the month) (https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/09/16/recap-the-data-leadership-nexus/)

 

The Data Leadership Nexus is a path to success when it comes to realizing the numerous business benefits of Big Data and Advanced Analytics which have been extolled by so many in recent times and yet realized by so few. It is the linchpin of your Strategic Plan for building & sustaining “a culture of analytics” to foster evidence-based decisioning, deeper & broader insights, full knowledge exploitation and optimized strategic performance while making these behaviors pervasive across your entire enterprise. In my mind it is the path to realize everything data-related that we have been working on for more than 50 years now in Management Theory, Decision Science and Information Technology.

By definition: The Data Leadership Nexus is the intersection of; Top-Down Executive Leadership, A fully aligned Organizational Culture and the full exploitation of Data, Information, Analytics to create strategic outcomes, sustainable sources of competitive advantage and enterprise value within every organization that wants to become a Predictive Enterprise.

I define a Predictive Enterprise as: “The use of Predictive Capabilities driven by data, information & analytics to; optimize decision making, facilitate strategic & operational outcomes, mitigate risks and to exploit insights across the entire Enterprise”

The Data Leadership Nexus is comprised of these basic components;

  • Top-Down Leadership (by the Senior Executive Team)
  • Data, Information & Analytics
  • Organizational Culture 

Each component was discussed in detail in previous postings. They can be found using the following links;

#: Overview & Introduction:  https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/08/05/overview-the-data-leadership-nexus/

#: The Motivation behind The Data Leadership Nexushttps://infomgmtexec.me/2014/07/25/data-analytics-leadership-missing-in-action/

#: Top-Down Leadership:   https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/08/11/leadership-requirements-in-the-predictive-enterprise/

#: Organizational Culturehttps://infomgmtexec.me/2014/08/28/the-role-of-organizational-culture-in-the-predictive-enterprise/

#: Data, Information & Analyticshttps://infomgmtexec.me/2014/09/09/data-information-analytics-as-core-competencies-in-the-predictive-enterprise/

#: Additional Background Material: “Transformational Leadership for Big Data & Analytics Success” (Three-part series): 

  1. https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/06/27/transformational-leadership-for-big-data-analytics-success/
  2. https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/07/11/transformational-leadership-for-big-data-analytics-success-part-2-establishing-top-down-accountability/
  3. https://infomgmtexec.me/2014/07/20/transformational-leadership-for-big-data-analytics-success-part-3-organizational-design-cultural-adoption/

In future postings I will discuss; “How to Build & Successfully Execute your Transformational Plan for becoming a Predictive Enterprise using The Data Leadership Nexus as a Strategic Enabler”. 

I have a number of interesting Blogs, Articles and Tweet Storms coming up this month. I have listed them in chronological order. Keep an eye out for updates over the course of the month.

Blogs:

Recap: “The Data Leadership Nexus”(IMECS Blog: http://www.infomgmgexec.me)

“Data, Information & Analytics in The Data Leadership Nexus” (IMECS Blog: http://www.infomgmtexec.me)

“Privacy and The Internet of Things (IoT)” (The Privacy Corner: IBM Big Data & Analytics Hub. http://www.ibmbigdatahub.com/blog/privacy-and-internet-things 

Articles:

“The Data Leadership Nexus as a Strategy” (Information Age (UK) Magazine. http://www.information-age.com).

Tweet Storms:

Second NIST Privacy Engineering Workshop (IAPP Conference, September 15-16, 2014, San Jose, CA) – Follow #priveng for all relevant Tweets.

Conferences:

“Cyber Threat: Evolving Best Practices in Framing and Managing the Risk” (NACD – Seattle, September 23, 2014)

“Communicating Cyber Risk to the Board” – (ISACA – Seattle, September 23, 2014)

The notion of The Data Leadership Nexus has five basic components;

1.- Top-Down Leadership (by the Senior Executive Team)

2.-4.- Data, Information & Analytics

5.- Organizational Culture 

In this posting entitled,“Organizational Culture” I will discuss one of the most widely mis-understood and under appreciated elements in creating a Predictive Enterprise, that of Organizational Culture and the imperative to change it from being data & analytics illiterate to one where information & analysis is used by everyone to drive each decision and to facilitate every strategic & operational outcome.

The Culture of any Enterprise is based on the long-term strategic direction that the organization has undertaken over the course of its history and the collective experiences along the way. It is shaped daily by the actions and activities of the Leadership Team who have guided this journey. Organizational Culture is the shadow of the Chief Executive Officer (and Senior Executive Team) and is found behind every door and felt down every corridor in the Organization. It is the single thread that ties everyone together within any Organization. Given this, Organizational Culture is the most important component of The Data Leadership Nexus that must be leveraged in order to transform an organization into a true Predictive Enterprise.

As one would expect this Cultural Adoption (transformation) must be driven by the Top-Down Leadership of the CEO and his or her Senior Executive Team. We discussed in my last segment on Top-Down Leadership just how essential it is for the entire Executive Team to “walk the talk” in respect to becoming a Predictive Enterprise. This will manifest from their own competencies and acumen in data & analytics and how they position the use of them in every strategic and operational endeavor that the Organization is involved in. Their Leadership comes from these strengths and their lock-step application of the strategic constructs of;

  • “Information as an Asset”
  • “Evidence-based Decisioning”
  • “Information-driven Risk Management”
  • “Competitive Advantage through Advanced Analytics (everywhere)”

Once Top-Down Leadership has set the tone and direction for the “data & analytics way-forward” by their own personal commitments (via OBM goals) and demonstrated actions, then the Organization must address how to “adapt” the Current State Culture into the Future State model. Many Organizations would tend do apply the traditional Change Management (CM) techniques of; Communications, Training & Readiness Preparation and call it a day. In my experience this will not work by itself. Cultural Adoption is not Change Management!

Cultural Adoption requires Engagement, BootStrapping and Practical Application endeavors to augment traditional CM. It requires the Top-Down Leadership Team to directly Engage with the Organization at all levels. This is not a hierarchical exercise, where “orders from the top” can be cascaded down, but a lateral one where these leaders bring their messages directly to the Front Lines of the Organization,  while personally demonstrating to their own subordinates the commitments that they have made to the successful Transformation into a Predictive Enterprise and all that it portends for success. These Engagement efforts must be genuine and felt by all. The entire Top-Down Leadership team must be in sync working in unison towards the common goal and outcome.

In parallel with Engagement, the Organization must BootStrap everyone’s abilities & understandings as to what becoming a Predictive Enterprise entails and how each of them will play a role regardless of job description. Everyone must be on-board with the plan and approach and be actively participating in the pursuit of the transformational outcome via Training, Mentoring, Coaching & Hands-on Instruction. This will create Cultural Adoption momentum that can be sustained through the continuous application of Engagement and bolstered through the daily Practical Application of data & analytics to every decision and pursuit of operational outcomes.

Practical Application is one of the most critical activities because it intersects with Relevance. For any Culture to Adapt there must be strong Leadership, the attainment of Competencies and Understandings as to the Future State Direction, but also Relevance to them personally. Whether a Mature Enterprise or Start-up each member of the Organization must feel a sense of purpose in order to be an active member of the Culture, much less a contributor to the successful outcome of the transformation strategy. It is essential for all levels of Leadership to empower all members of their Organizational Unit to be contributors to the notion of being a Predictive Enterprise. In most cases this will require a complete re-evaluation of roles and responsibilities such that decision making and insights analytics are core to each Information Workers daily activities.

To become a Predictive Enterprise you need committed Top-Down Leadership and a Culture driven by the pursuit of a common strategy & its goals to then fully exploit your rich Data & Information Assets and Deep Analytics Capabilities. In this posting I have endeavored to provide a thin veneer of the requirements and complexities in adapting your Organizational Culture to become a Predictive Enterprise. It is one of the most significant investments in time, energy and resources but an essential one in becoming a Predictive Enterprise.

In my next installment of The Data Leadership Nexus I will explore for my readers the more familiar areas of Data, Information & Analytics, but from what most will regard as a very different perspective than other Thought Leaders.  Look forward to seeing it soon.

RL