The ‘Five Ps’ of business (and personal) transformation
On her journey to becoming CIO at organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Hospira, and GE, Daphne Jones discovered it takes purpose, priority, preparation, performance, and perseverance for business, as well as personal, transformation to occur.
When Daphne Jones was growing up, she found that some adults in her life saw secretarial work as the extent of her career potential. Following their advice, she went to secretarial school and got a job. But she soon realized that secretarial work was not for her. So, she left, went to college, got her bachelor’s degree in three years, her MBA in one year, and joined IBM.
Having now built a successful career, which includes CIO roles at Johnson & Johnson, Hospira, and GE, Jones has conceptualized her journey in a “Five P” framework: purpose, priority, preparation, performance, and perseverance.
“These Five Ps took me from poverty, a closed and fixed mindset, to prosperity, an open and growth mindset,” says Jones. “I had to re-imagine myself differently than what I was told as a young girl. I believe there can be no transformation without re-imagination.”
In her CIO roles, Jones found that the Five Ps were as effective in driving business transformation as they were in her personal life. “How do you go from poverty, a legacy business, to digital prosperity? As CIO, how do you go from trusted operator to co-creator?” asks Jones. “The Five Ps can help you to make that change.”
Keys to driving transformation
When reflecting on purpose, Jones is reminded of Michelangelo, who said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it, and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it. I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” As a young person, Jones saw a senior executive in the marble and set it free. She asks CIOs, “As you carve out the marble of your business’s potential, what do you see? Until you can see your business’s digital potential, you do not have ‘purpose’ or a vision that will motivate others to act and achieve.”
Research on the CIO role consistently finds that most CIOs see themselves as “trusted operators,” which will not suffice in a digital world. “CIOs need to re-imagine their role as a co-creator of new business models or an instigator of advanced technologies,” she says. “In re-imagining their own purpose, CIOs can re-imagine their company’s purpose, which is not to make a product or deliver a service. It’s to create a seamless customer experience.”
Priority: Jones says, “Someone once told me to learn all I can, so I can earn all I can, so I can return all I can,” which made her think of her life in terms of seasons. “While I believe in lifelong learning, there are points in a career, for example, where most of your learning is behind you and you are in the season of ‘returning.’ When I understand the season I’m in, I am better able to prioritize,” she says.
For CIOs, “priority” is knowing what season your company is in as you prioritize your digital investments. “Is your business ready to completely re-invent with a new technology portfolio? Or are you leveraging traditional technologies for incremental innovation and simply enhancing your current business model?” asks Jones. “Are you creating new revenue streams in your primary market or moving to adjacent markets?” The second P, priority, is understanding your business strategy to figure out what digital bets you will make on behalf of your company.
Preparation: For Jones, preparation is about changing two things: your mindset and your ecosystem. A few years ago, Jones knew she wanted to join corporate boards as the next stage in her career. So, she changed her mindset to adopt a board member’s perspective, and she changed her ecosystem to include people on boards — people who were already doing what she wanted to do.
She applies the same concept to transformational leadership. “Do you know what your corporate mindset is going to be? Will it be to focus on the customer, to deliver shareholder value, to be innovative?” asks Jones. “What ecosystem do you need to achieve your digital transformation goals? What is your human capital strategy? What new partnerships do you need to develop? Are you talking to universities and start-ups — or are you trying to go it alone?”
Perform: For Jones, performance is how you deliver value. “For CIOs, the value delivery aspect of ‘perform’ is a given at this point of our careers. We must deliver. But performance cannot stand by itself,” she says. “It has to stand next to image and exposure.”
For a personal application of “perform,” Jones cites her experience securing her first board seat. “In order for me to perform on a board, I had to make sure my image reflected a thoughtful senior executive ready for governance rather than operations leadership. But I also had to increase my exposure. I told everybody I knew that I wanted to join a board. I joined board-related organizations and not-for-profit boards to build board-centric relationships.”
As a CIO, your image should be that of an ambidextrous leader and co-creator — who can help your company capture value by enhancing and exploiting your market leadership through digital and commercialization. While at the same time, you help your company create value by exploring new business models and accelerating market leadership through advanced technologies. “If your image is one of innovation and leadership, is that image being seen by the right people?” asks Jones. “Do you have enough exposure to create an impact?”
Perseverance: Jones recalls moments in her career when she was told that she did not have the right experience for a promotion, that she was not broad enough, or was too broad or did not have enough global experience. “Every time I was turned down for an opportunity, I saw it as an opportunity to learn and grow,” she says. There’s a saying that I’ve embraced and use as a metaphor for my new company. ‘Life or circumstances will try to bury us, but we must remember that we are a seed.’ A seed has a DNA that transcends what it currently looks like. When buried, CIOs must reach into our ecosystem, ensure we have the right mindset, and break through the ground we were buried in.”
“Transformation is messy and difficult. There are times when you have to pivot, but always persevere in seeking to achieve your goal,” says Jones. “When met with resistance, CIOs can use the other four Ps to keep moving forward. Remind yourself of your purpose (business goal), your priority, (investment strategy), your preparation (mindset and ecosystem), and what it takes to perform (image and exposure) to dig deep to keep moving forward.”
About Daphne Jones
Daphne Jones was most recently a senior executive and CIO – GE Healthcare Global Service for GE, as well as senior vice president, CIO, corporate officer with Hospira. Currently, Jones is forming her advisory & leadership development company – Destiny Transformations Group. She is a member of the Board of Directors for Masonite International, and AMN Healthcare. She holds an MBA from Illinois State University.
Martha Heller is CEO of Heller Search Associates, an IT executive recruiting firm specializing in CIO, CTO, CISO and senior technology roles in all industries. She is the author The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership and Be the Business: CIOs in the New Era of IT. To join the IT career conversation, subscribe to The Heller Report.