Overcoming a Fear of Innovation Risk: Data, Prototypes, and Diversification

Innovation exhibits a contradictory nature. Innovative organizations perform better and adapt faster to a constantly changing business environment. They create new fields to play in and new standards to reach for. But innovation is also considered to be very risky and fear of failure often makes us reluctant to innovate. Can we effectively manage these risks and fears in order to implement innovative ideas?

When we take a risk, we act in spite of uncertainty and expose ourselves to danger. Most of us have an innate fear of unexpected events. Is it just a psychological issue? Should we simply practice being courageous, foster risk-taking, and thus overcome this obstacle using brute force? Or are there sound strategies innovators lean on that naturally reduce the fear of poor outcomes?

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Genuine Care at Work

Why care?

A lot is written about leadership traits such as vision, integrity, resilience, positivity, accountability, and even humility. It is my opinion that genuine care is the cornerstone of leadership and deserves a great deal more attention and reinforcement than it gets today. Genuine care epitomizes our purpose—not just in the workplace, but in all things we do. A corporate vision is only as good as the team’s genuine care for customers and employees. Integrity represents genuine care in our actions. Leaders who exercise genuine care achieve greater results, and make choices they are less likely to regret.

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The Secret Support Team for IT Leaders: Goal Closers

IT teams must constantly adjust to end-user demands, budgets, timelines, and other constraints. Such a dynamic environment requires leaders to understand how to close out on two sets of priorities at the same time: short term tasks and long term goals.

IT leaders cannot rely on direct reports who are solely task closers because they will be riding each day’s highs and lows without keeping the big picture in mind. With goal closers in place, IT leaders can trust their team to successfully complete long-term initiatives.

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How IT Can Stay in the Game Through an Economic Downturn

Depending on what you read and who you talk to, an economic downturn or outright recession may be in the works. Growth has slowed, trade is uncertain, and economic cycles inevitably cycle. What does this mean for IT organizations? And how can IT leaders help the enterprise thrive through challenging economic conditions?

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two team members looking at the head of the conference table

The Hidden Benefits of a Customer-Focused Culture

Being focused on customers isn’t a unique organizational trait. Almost everyone in business claims to be customer-focused in one form or another. Some even consider the term cliché. Inc.com contributing editor Jeff Haden cited it as culprit number 1 on his list of 10 Tired Business Clichés You Should Never Use Again.

Jeff Haden, Inc.com

Naturally, stating an intent to be customer-focused and actually being customer-focused are two different things. Sometimes the right thing for your client doesn’t align with the right thing for your organization. This is when having a customer-focused culture truly matters—when the right move is to do the hard thing in the short term for the best outcome for the client in the long term.

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pushpins on a calendar

How to Operationalize a Reorg

The term “reorg” strikes fear into the hearts of many, but it can be a healthy and productive process that positions a company for transformation, rebirth, and long-term success.

There are several moving parts and interrelated elements to consider when undergoing a reorganization. Nailing the fundamentals is critical. These include strategic alignment, executive engagement and accountability, and communication.

For the implementation team tasked with making a reorg happen on the ground, here are the 4 most important factors for making the initiative a success.

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The 3×3 Framework for Digital Transformation Alignment

To write a post on a trending topic, one would typically start with a definition, but in this case, “Digital Transformation” means different things to different people. From the Bennet Frank survey, CIOs’ Perspectives on Digital Transformations, industry analysts, and our own client engagements, we have heard the term used to describe anything from consolidating ERP systems to accepting bitcoin payments. You could attend an IT conference and listen to three Digital Transformation sessions that give contradictory advice. Practitioners in the trenches can easily get confused and overwhelmed.

So let’s break down the key components of a Digital Transformation into a systematic approach to help you focus your efforts and align expectations with top management.

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An IT Leader’s Empathy Exercise Bootcamp

Co-authored by Chris Kondracki and ChiChi Lu.

Understanding and empathizing with others helps IT leaders navigate complex business environments. Empathy enables us to better understand a situation, relate to other people, and view issues from different angles.

Here’s why it works, and how to put it in practice.

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How to Craft Business Intelligence That Drives Decisions

What makes BI meaningful?

Business Intelligence (BI) is a broad domain and is used to accomplish a variety of goals. Whether we’re talking about predictive analytics or lagging KPIs, the common thread is data visualization that drives effective decision making.

The trick is recognizing the difference between a report that has a large quantity of data versus one that has the right information.

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It Starts with Intent: Do you want a “throat to choke”—or do you want the project to succeed?

Whenever I hear the expression “one throat to choke,” it makes me cringe. The phrase, in most cases, refers to contracting with a single vendor to help with every aspect of a technology project. Another variation is, “a single wringable neck.” Either way, it sounds like an explicit threat to the vendor: If this project fails, the blame will be placed squarely on your shoulders.

In reality, if a project does fail, it is very difficult to go after a vendor. Most organizations don’t. Lawsuits are risky, costly, and time-consuming. The only practical concession you can expect from a vendor is free labor, hardware, or software. But it’s from the same vendor that botched things in the first place.

Let’s face it—setting up a one-throat engagement is not really a threat. It’s a bluff. And it stems from an attempt to outsource accountability.

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