This article is intended to help those business development executives who are dealing with CIO (Head of IT) and CDO (Head of Digital) of any large enterprise for various digital pursuits. After multiple rounds of conversations, if you are still unsure of how to navigate through them and start feeling whether they may belong to Mars and Venus, it could be your early conclusion. This read could be of some use to you…
Yes, they both not only belong to the same organisation but also very much aligned to the same business KPIs driven by top management or CEO.
Then why do they behave so differently? What’s driving their (lack of) decision or (unpredictable) behaviour ?
Before getting into the cognitive and neuroscience, let me draw a parallel.
Recently I saw my younger daughter (14 year old) working on three tasks simultaneously on her laptop. Online school assignment; watching a movie on YouTube and reading a subject related blog. Please note that she doesn’t have any mobile phone yet thereby prohibiting her multi-tasking to half. After some argument, she was able to convince me that she is comfortable enough with this arrangement of multi-tasking without affecting her grade. By the way, she has been an outstanding performer in her academics for last three years.
I have realised that this style works for all the children of her age group. Because they are Digital Natives. Their mind is conditioned from the childhood to handle parallelism, quite contrary to what we (Digital adopters) are capable of i.e. linear processing. This process aka ‘conditioning of mind’ makes us do “why” behind “what” of everything.
To understand the behaviour pattern of any IT or Business head, you need to understand what they have been learning and perfecting all these years before they stepped into their respective roles. Let’s look into their mental models little closely.
Typically, anybody working for IT team is responsible for stability, reliability and scalability of any application. Ensuring that the system is running smoothly all the times, supporting peak business transactions, not vulnerable to the outside world and ready to scale with business growth. Any IT leader (CIO) swears by these KPIs to remain in his job. He spends good portion of his day in Infra management, application deployment process, change management, TCO discussions, RCA and RCCA governance etc. His mind is conditioned over a period of time to ensure IT systems are trust worthy.
On the contrary, think of any business leader (CDO) and visualize what keeps him awake. Top line and bottom line. Figuring out ways and means to uplift revenue of existing channel and strategising about adding another revenue stream. Identifying frictions and solve for operational efficiency resulting into cost save. Applying blue sky thinking to identify untapped market opportunities to come up with new products and newer journeys for cross-sell/up-sell. Traffic to lead and lead to conversion KPIs along with SEO and SEM performance are good enough to keep any eCommerce head busy through the week. To top it all, taking any new idea to market at the speed of thought becomes his biggest bet. Business leader’s mind is conditioned to take risks and encouraged to experiment in today’s digital world.
These are two extreme ends of the same continuum. With more and newer technology penetrations such as mobility, AI, Cloud, Big data, Block chain etc., Business has even more dependency on Technology. Despite this ever increasing interdependence, why can’t they speak the same language and bring synergy for a better outcome.
Answer lies in meeting of minds. In reality, both are right in their own rights. Both have to live up to their KPIs. What they overlook sometimes is each other’s perspective.
This is precisely the role of a consultant is. Understanding the big picture of an enterprise, connect it to both sides of KPIs and bring them on common platform. Empathise with their world, their problems, use their vocabulary to make them sound familiar.
Net-net, facilitate meeting of the minds.
This is quite a daunting task, I must say. Just be aware that you are navigating between two differently conditioned mind. Soon enough, you will see a ray of hope.