Today we are talking to Art Hu the CIO of Lenovo and we discuss Lenovo’s transition from product centric to customer and consumer centric, helping your team understand context then creating an environment where they feel empowered, and redefining what hands on means as you progress in to leadership

All of this, right here, right now, on the Modern CTO Podcast.


Mr. Arthur Hu has been Chief Information Officer of Lenovo Group Limited since August 25, 2016 and has been its Senior Vice President since June 8, 2017. Mr. Hu is responsible for the overall delivery of information services, digital technology and business transformation.

Mr. Hu serves with the business units to drive business model transformation for more competitive capabilities and oversees a portfolio of strategic initiatives to further strengthen IT management and business collaboration. He served a series of leadership positions within the Lenovo, covering IT Strategy, Information Security, Enterprise Architecture and Business Transformation and Digital Go-to-Market Solutions Delivery.

Prior to joining Lenovo in 2009, Mr. Hu was with McKinsey & Company, where he focused on high tech, strategy and technology management and operational and strategic programs to deliver transformation impact across global organizations. He served in software engineering at a variety of companies, including Amazon.

Mr. Hu holds both a Bachelors and Masters Degree of Science in Computer Science from Stanford University.



Show Notes

  • How do you get prepared for the day? Depends on where Art is – In Beijing he gets to work before traffic hits
  • Using an App Called Sleep cycle
  • Art’s history at Mckenzie and Co – Happened by accident, went with a friend to a Mckenzie dinner
  • Work hard and jump on opportunities with a dash of luck
  • Art it in China right now, Joel’s sister just moved back from Shinjin, China
  • How did you get involved with Lenovo?
  • Did your previous jobs prepare you for your current job with Lenovo? Yes and No
  • Shift from advisor to the buck stops with you. Have to be accountable
  • When you moved to china did you have to learn the language? Effectively did have to learn it. Grew up in the US
  • Urgent need + the right environment lit a fire under him to learn it when he got there
  • Variation is more in a company by company basis not
  • How a company works plays the biggest part in culture differences
  • Avoid my mistakes and make better mistakes
  • Trying to get a stronger engineering culture in place – sharing what you know – spirit behind open source
  • People’s fluency with the concepts – the more people who engage with it, the more valuable
  • What do you look for in great leaders, what stands out to you – Peacetime and Wartime Generals
  • Leadership is about getting things done, open to whatever style you bring as long as you achieve results – there are boundaries
  • Diversity is important – Don’t want a set of clones – susceptible to groupthink
  • Ability to engage the team in a way that delivers result
  • Personally would be comfortable if everyone thought like you but try to consciously find people who bring different thoughts while sharing same values and direction.
  • The best leaders can decide when to be a war time or peacetime leader – Role of CIO is a rollercoaster
  • When you need to lead to drive change vs when you need to step back and let the team operate well
  • If I need to come in and write scripts and do it, that’s what we’ll do
  • Mastery doesn’t come naturally, you have to put effort in to it.
  • The larger the company the easier it is to go in to process orientation. Sometimes you need to solve the problem regardless of the process. It’s not about blame, it’s about getting results
  • Advice for new leaders – Making the transition
  • Different levels of thinking at the different levels of management
  • Figure out how to help your engineers be productive – Figure out if that’s what you want to do.
  • Helping your team understand the context then creating the environment in which they feel empowered to be successful
  • Continuing down the spectrum it’s a question of degree. The further you get along the more you have to help other people understand context once they have context they can help people connect and buy in
  • Spend time on the people, some techies value code more than people
  • Redefine what hands on means as a Manager hands on means developing your people and making sure everyone is connected. As CIO hands on means shaping the culture and making
  • sure people have as clear a view and understanding of company strategy
  • What is Lenovo’s focus and strategy – Working on 2 major transformations
  • Transitioning from a product centric to consumer and customer centric, know who your customer is
  • Moving from single business to a multi business 2 acquisitions Motorola – IBM x86 server business
  • Going from 100% single focus to split focus is a
  • How did the companies come on board? What was the make up and who is running them?
  • Advantages of sharing technologies globally
  • Lenovo is working to change their technology more towards micro services
  • Making a significant expansion into offering full stack solutions with servers
  • What is 2 speed IT – BiModal IT?
  • Tried 2 speed at Lenovo and it separated people in to classes – created cultural tension
  • If anyone was working and thinking that they did not need to be planning in multi speed, they were going about it the wrong way.
  • You have the responsibility to customers to provide a high level of service
  • You’re only limited by your own imagination
  • Also limited by Ego – That was wrong can be very hard to say

Joel Beasley

Joel began writing code at age 13 selling his first technology by age 18 for one million dollars. In his first three transactions, he developed key relationships and began working with Investors and Chief Technology Officers collaborating and building products in Real Estate, Law, Finance, and Fitness.

Today, Joel is a Chief Technologist volgging the process of building a company LeaderBits.io. Joel is an author of the book Modern CTO a #1 New Release on Amazon and a #1 Technology Podcast with 70k active listeners. Joel has a clear vision and passion for modern technology, placing him as one of the most exciting Chief Technology Officers to watch out for.

Joel is the President of BeasleyFoundation.org a charity that designs STEM related children’s books Back to the Moon and Princess Physicist. These books are then donated to orphanages, homeless pregnant woman and in-need children. Beasley Foundation was formed in February 2017 after Joel, Mitch and Valerie lost their Mother to Leukemia after being diagnosed 6 weeks earlier. Joel and his siblings wanted to do something unique with her life insurance money and the Beasley Foundation was formed.

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