Developing key relationships to enable delivery of value

A recent article in Harvard Business Review identified four elements of the playbook that differentiates organisations that deliver class-leading productivity improvement. The ability to capture value from digitisation was the first of the playbook’s elements.

Based on cross sector research by a team from McKinsey, the playbook’s other elements were “investing in intangibles”, “building a future ready workforce” and “adopting a systems approach”. It prompted us to come back to an enduring issue in our work. How does an organisation develop the ability to capture value from investing in digital technology? What should you do as CIO or senior technology leader to enable, prompt or improve your organisation’s’ ability to deliver value? Where should you start? How do you make the difference?

We have previously shared our insight on the tool we use to focus and motivate teams to deliver value, “the Personal Measurement Framework” – see  connecting to value . However, whilst the tool can and does make a difference; through the conversations it prompts and the actions that result. However, our insight is that there is something more fundamental that has to be addressed to provide the fertile ground for such tools to work.

The fundamental thing seems to be the senior executive team sharing a deep, comprehensive, non-transactional view of how digital technology works for their customers, their teams and the organisation’s stakeholders . The senior team understand the specific benefits that digital investments can deliver and the critical success factors in the delivery of benefits.

And in our experience, the foundation for that deep understanding is the CIO and their team investing time and emotion into the set of powerful connections, engagements and relationships with their colleagues both inside and outside the organisation. And the first step is to establish those relationships and importantly to never stop developing them – it’s a critical part of your work. In our view, it is the foundation for the delivery of value from investment in digital technology.

In building, developing and sustaining those critical relationships, the important steps, include:

  • Focus, identify the key players for the delivery of value through a stakeholder analysis process;
  • Invest, take time to understand what value means for each of your c-level colleagues and beyond that for customers, for your board, shareholders, make explicit the value statements and the evidence that will be used to demonstrate value delivery;
  • Challenge, identify and address the difficult questions, confront those questions with data, engage in constructive debate with colleagues to deepen the mutual understanding;
  • Deliver, take action, lead your team through delivery of changes at the appropriate frequency – anything from by the minute and the hour through to more traditional weekly or monthly reviews;
  • Don’t stop, developing these foundational relationships should not stop, it is work, it may not feel like it when you start, but in our experience it is the source of value delivery.

And in telling stories about what you do, in the language you use, putting value creation “front and centre” matters. As CIOs you have the platform of your enterprise view and awareness of the change agenda, you are extremely well placed to enable decision making based on value. As CIO, you understand value and know how your organisation can deliver. Enable your organisation make the right technology investments to deliver long term productivity gain.