Leadership & People

Positive change starts from the top. Great leadership drives teams to succeed, defines a positive culture and inspires the leaders of tomorrow. 

Much is written about what makes a good leader, and no one recipe or formula exists. The challenges facing our current and upcoming leaders vary wildly.

How teams thrive while dealing with internal politics, external ideas and failure are complex challenges every leader must learn to manage. You don’t have to do it alone.

IBRS is comprised of many ex-CIOs with a wealth of knowledge that can provide mentoring and advice to current and aspiring leaders. Our career development, networking and thought leadership resources help leaders solve problems and create workplace cultures geared towards success and satisfaction.

Conclusion: Public policy over the past decade has been considered by many as reactive with resulting implementations ineffective. In 2012, the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) published a report that reviewed the policy development approach of the Australian Government and determined that approaches could at best be considered ‘Policy on the Run’. It was the opinion of IPAA that this approach was ineffective and that a business case approach would be more effective. UCD provides evidence to support the business case approach and put the community at the centre of policy development.

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Conclusion: Learning Management Solutions, Talent Management Solutions and Performance Management Solutions are increasingly offered as Cloud-based SaaS services and are merging into a single product category: Human Capital Management. For Australian organisations, this is both a blessing and a curse. In the long term, it will lessen the need to integrate previously disparate solutions. In the short term, it means that selecting a solution to meet a specific need – say creating and delivering eLearning resources to the workforce – must factor potential future needs of the workforce and the broader issues of Human Capital Management. ICT groups need to proactively provide guidance and governance to HR around the selection of solutions for all areas of Human Capital Management.

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Conclusion: Too often the CIO or program/project executive will focus on the more tangible aspects of developing a new ICT system, bunch of processes, environments and the like only to have the new initiative fail as a result of risk averse and increasingly change weary and cynical employees1. Successful leaders need to spend increasing time and effort on getting all stakeholders on-side at all levels to implement and make sustainable positive change.

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Conclusion: Technologies which improve the efficiency of the marketing value chain will grow in importance because they can enhance productivity. The technologies are more developed and easier to access. In the mixed conditions of the current business environment squeezing more value is a basic imperative.

The constant themes of marketing, resource allocations and targeting also apply, and with better data tools and analytics it should be easier to gain insights which can be used commercially.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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Conclusion: Virtual Teams have become common in most organisations, and technology and globalisation have been the major enablers. Leaders and team participants have found themselves as participants by default and without choice.

For many, little training or education has been provided to help individuals recognise that their future work environment is going to change, and what new skills or competencies need to be developed.

To effectively utilise Virtual Teams, organisations need to develop a culture that recognises how teams will be used, what tools will be used for communication and collaboration, and education for both leaders and team members.

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Conclusion: It is easier to assess the applicant against technical skills and experience than assessing against soft skills. The time to assess soft skills is at the interview. Ask behavioural questions and recruit the more Emotionally Intelligent candidate. This applies to every recruitment position no matter how technically important the skills are.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs. 

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Conclusion: Australian governments at all levels are in the process of rethinking, reimagining and redesigning systems, process and services to improve government service delivery to an ever more demanding community. A number of government jurisdictions have or are adopting a user-centric approach to the design and delivery of a new generation of government services.

User-centric approaches such as User Centred Design puts the user at the heart of design and implementation and focuses on building products and services that are usable and useful through an approach that is inclusive and iterative.

However, simply adopting a fashionable approach under the guise of best practice alone will not provide optimal benefits and often places undue focus on the process at the expense of critical cultural and capability elements. Agencies looking to design and deliver improved government services need to also anticipate and provide for critical success factors such as: what is the most appropriate user approach, what skills and personalities should design teams include and leverage, and what behaviours should user-centric change programs support, encourage and reward to facilitate a successful user-centric program?

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Digital transformation of a business is defined as making fundamental and revolutionary changes to achieve new business goals using ICT.

Although digital disruption is now a given in every industry vertical, each business is impacted in its own distinctive ways. 

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs. 

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Conclusion: Staff remember how leaders behave and react during a crisis, rather than when the business is operating successfully. Astute leaders do not just deal with restoration and getting the business back on deck; they also support their staff during and after the crisis and can even create the potential for the organisation to be in a better state than before the crisis occurred.

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Conclusion: Too often in organisations, executives focus on the more mechanical elements of Project and Business Management but ignore the need to develop the skills of their staff and encourage them to succeed.

Team members’ salary is rarely in itself a motivator to get things done.1 Many motivational positive factors, when combined, get the results needed to get the most out of each team with minimal staff losses along the way.

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Conclusion: Technical debt is intangible and its extent hard to measure. Organisations that compromise quality for expediency to meet schedules or defer software release upgrades accumulate technical debt unwittingly.

Managers who let the debt increase and fail to reduce it could be digging an ever deeper and dry well that could cost them their jobs, leaving their successor to find the wherewithal to fill it and create valuable system assets.

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Conclusion: IT management teams that spend little time planning to grow and retain talented people will find it hard and expensive to keep pace with technology advances and business model changes. Conversely, IT management that makes every effort to retain staff are likely to be employers that attract the best people. They will do this by helping them enhance their skills and recognise their achievements.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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IBRS iQ is a database of Client inquiries and is designed to get you talking to our Advisors about these topics in the context of your organisation in order to provide tailored advice for your needs.

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Conclusion: It is widely recognised that public sector organisations do not have the same market drivers as private enterprise to be able to innovate in the same way. Drivers such as competitive forces and profit incentives stimulate and support breakthrough innovation. However, by understanding the elements that are active when breakthrough innovation occurs and reframing it within the context of the government sector, significant benefits and progress can be achieved.

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Conclusion: The use of the term ‘Digital’ as an adjective plays a particular role in both public and private sector initiatives. Like similar terms of the past, it creates a space for agreement among multiple stakeholders, even when there is a lack of universal understanding. This is useful when an initiative includes an interplay of technology and culture. It allows advocates to collapse a multitude of complex issues into a simple catch-all phrase to which everyone already agrees. However, understanding the benefit of using ‘Digital’ to gain agreement for an initiative needs to be weighed up against the potential of seeing well-intentioned initiatives implemented in unexpected ways.

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Conclusion: In a rapidly changing business environment driven by demand for enhanced client services and immediate access to business data, CIOs who can deliver what is needed will thrive. Conversely CIOs unable to meet the CEO’s and Board’s transformation objectives and leverage service providers could quickly find themselves redundant.

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Conclusion: Organisations source and procure research and advisory services for a range of reasons. The benefits of access to external research and advisory can vary widely from organisation to organisation. Today’s business and technology environment is changing in more radical and rapid ways. Organisations that fully access and embed the information and advice available from research and advisory services can enhance the problem identification and solving process, ensure staff are incorporating a broad range of information into their thinking and systematically include changing environmental information at strategic, tactical and operational decision making levels. Research and advisory can also be used to improve staff analysis and presentation skills. 

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Conclusion: Astute managers know that once a project is completed, skilled staff will be reassigned and their recall of the lessons learned and what worked and what did not is quickly lost. This is because corporate memory dissipates the longer the recall is delayed.

Apart from determining whether the objectives of the project were or were not achieved, an open and frank conversation needs to occur regarding the project’s outcomes and stakeholders need to be:

  • Brave enough to admit failures and shortcomings
  • Modest when highlighting successes
  • Generous in giving credit to all who contributed to the project’s success
  • Prepared to adopt practices and approaches that worked well
  • Comfortable in disseminating the review’s findings to all who need to know.

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Conclusion: Design thinking is increasingly being utilised by organisations in Australia and globally to create new products and services. Based on the current level of adoption by leading organisations and those investigating design thinking it could be considered the next best practice concept. However, like other best practices, it is the art of applying the technique that reaps benefits, rather than just following the process.

In other words it is the nuances that need to be considered closely and not just the elements that can be seen and touched. Understanding the elements of design thinking and, most importantly, applying the right people using the right approach with the right expectations will ensure that the results match the promise. Empathising with users, customers or consumers is the first step in the process and is critical to the success of all the effort that follows.

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Conclusion: The analysis of various and complex data sets could provide a catalyst for team collaboration. One of the challenges organisations will face in combining teams is setting out the conditions in which they will work together. Looking past obvious differences in background, or so-called professional culture, will be necessary to organise roles with the talents available.

Initially devise pilots to assess teams and roles and the value of the output. The development of data projects should produce quick benefits in terms of output and team cohesion. Understanding of the analytical insights should be shared widely in order for the benefits to reach as many within an organisation and bring change where it is needed.

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Conclusion: Organisations that fail to develop the skills of their BAs, or give them intellectually challenging roles, are in danger of losing them and their corporate memory. BAs used wisely are often the glue holding complex projects together.

Use them to elicit and simplify business requirements, develop compelling business cases and redesign business processes and the investment will reap dividends. Allocating them mundane tasks and failing to involve them in critical decision making meetings will demotivate them and give them a reason to move on.

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Conclusion: Organisations often look to their competitors for new ideas and innovations and to provide a comparison to their own operations and business direction. Public sector organisations tend to look at other public sector organisations at different levels such as local, state or federal and public sector operations in other countries. Australia generally looks to Canada and the United Kingdom for advances in public sector administration and operations.

However, there are many lessons to be learned from other sectors and industries that could have significant benefit for individual organisations. Failure to identify and harvest the lessons and ideas from other industries will place organisations at a significant disadvantage in the future.

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Conclusion: Organisations building new products and services need new tools and skills to reinvent old business offerings or build completely new business products and services. To be successful, organisations and key decision makers need to be continually assessing the environment for tools and techniques that can be introduced to assist in providing creative thinking and service design activities. Rather than focus on volumes of detailed assessments and documentation the new approach for tools and techniques is creative and visual. Combined with a culture that supports innovation and change, these tools assist organisations to confirm their service and value direction or to identify and build new value for their customers and their organisation. Having staff who have the right skills and the right aptitude to be creative will be critical even if an organisation partners with a specialist business.

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Conclusion: Most organisations have an unbalanced ICT investment portfolio where back-office systems (including ICT operations) consume more than their fair share of the ICT budget and capability. Consequently, emerging initiatives may fail to gain organisational support relevant to their potential business and organisational benefits.

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Conclusion: Progressing digital transformation strategies requires a much more holistic view of service delivery and extends beyond existing business process review and business systems improvement. Designing services that support digital transformation objectives need to look at the end to end service including customer experience. Traditional business analysis activities that captured the requirements of the business process owner and are used to implement business systems will not be adequate.

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Conclusion: To achieve workplace assimilation of new or replacement business systems, staff must be well trained and convinced it is in their best interests to become proficient operatives. For assimilation to become a reality a comprehensive workplace change management program, that includes a systems training strategy, must be developed.

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Conclusion: The standard method to assess the future is through the type and function of technologies. The starting point is the way new technologies modify processes and thereby rebalance requirements and outputs. An alternative approach is to examine how executive management will adapt to technological innovation because management maintains longstanding principles and objectives which are noteworthy in the implementation of technologies.

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Conclusion: Business leaders who have concluded that a Chief Digital Officer is required to provide a critical focus on their digital transformation plans, will find that defining the role in detail will remain an ongoing challenge because it is intensely context-sensitive.

Consequently, the first iteration of a Chief Digital Officer’s (CDO) role responsibilities, job description and person specification needs to be widely canvassed and tolerant of the ambiguity between maintaining ‘business as usual’ and a digital transformation.

A CDO role action plan is an important first step in setting and clarifying expectations.

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Conclusion: Unless the Executive holds business and IT management accountable for reporting if the benefits expected in the business case have been realised or not, they will never know whether they made the right decision to invest in the first place.

To estimate the gross benefits and costs, it is imperative the business case records not only the performance metrics when it was approved, but also those current when the business system(s), was implemented (when there is a time lag).

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Conclusion: To improve the digital maturity of an organisation the CIO must encourage a team effort from business and technical areas within their organisation as well as strategic partners in the IT industry. Laggard IT vendors should be dropped in favour of digital leaders. The CIO will also need to convince their organisation to make early investments in long term capabilities that are critical to the adoption of new digital initiatives.

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Conclusion: The Australian market presents serious problems to marketers. The situation has been foreseeable for the last two years. The situation is likely to soften further, which will constrain their capacity to seek growth.

Solutions are available and require reappraisal of strategies and objectives. Applying intelligence and the right tools should help organisations steer through the variety of conditions ahead.

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Conclusion: A high dependence on a small range of technologies can reveal and extend weaknesses in marketing strategies. Coupled with the development of mobile applications to enhance their brands, marketers have moved to one-to-one communications which entails relatively increasing marginal costs because the efficiencies of scale are discounted. The focus on metrics and CRM in order to gain a comprehensive view of customers should aim to improve marketing activity efficiency, which also includes investments.

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Conclusion: Workplace change and IT transformation projects typically bring with them more political (organisational) than technical challenges. To win support for these projects concentrate on the people by listening to their concerns and developing strategies to alleviate them. Let the technical solution stand or fall on its own merits.

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Conclusion: innovation is top of mind for many CEOs across Australia. In fact, more than 86 % recognise that they need to invest more in R&D and innovation as part of the company strategy. However, there is a significant gap between the aspirations of organisations and the reality of innovation within these companies and entities. Knowing what behaviours should be demonstrated and having a plan will improve the alignment between goals and achievements. Most CIOs are being asked to drive innovation for the business, yet innovation is still more rhetoric than substance.

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Conclusion: consumers are de facto demanding Omni-channel customer service in digital commerce for its single consistent positive experience but Omni-channel service is only an aspiration for most businesses today.

  • Viable Omni-channel technology and IT architectures exist and are rapidly emerging but insensitive, unknowing business management is the main inhibitor to adoption of Omni-channel as the universal approach and practice.
  • Omni-channel creates a bigger scaling problem in marketing and IT than most enterprises currently envisage.
  • Leading adopters are evaluating Omni-channel service as a goal, but only investing in deployments that are immediately affordable because an Omni-channel ecosystem can be endless.

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Conclusion: Some organisations succeed at innovation better than others. To do so requires insight and an ability to understand how an organisation can function differently.

Innovation requires fresh thinking and different approaches. It demands attention on the value chain and business process in order to develop alternatives that will solve old issues.

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