Friday, July 29, 2016

Making a Leap in Digital Transformation via Mixing Hard & Soft Elements Right

The "hard" and "soft," are not opposite, but the complementary ingredients in running a dynamic digital organization.

With the digital paradigm shift, forward-looking organizations are reimagining how to run and grow a dynamic or a "liquid" digital organization via both "hard push," and "soft pull." Hence, business managements need to make the proper adjustment as well to run an organic business with “living cells,” not just the mechanic firm composed of “hard nuts and knots.” Digital organizations as a whole are agile, flexible, dynamic and innovative. So how to make a leap in Digital Transformation via mixing hard & soft element right, and how to run, grow and transform your business effortlessly?

Mixing the hard data and the gut feeling (soft) in decision making: Digital business is complex and uncertain, decision making is more often a complex scenario.The decision makers should overcome bias which comes in many forms and is difficult to recognize if you are the decision maker. Hence, collecting necessary information is an important step in making an objective decision, Decisions are based on information and generate information. The amount of data required for a decision, and the amount of information generated by a decision, can both be measured in bits & bytes. There's soft and"human" side of decision making as well, hence, it's important to leverage intuition - the right amount of “guts,” in order to make effective decisions. Decision making is the discipline of both the "soft" art and "hard" science; gut feeling and data driven; confidence and humility; and more often than not, it takes both multi-disciplinary knowledge (hard) and light bulb type intuition (soft) to make effective decisions.

Managing a healthy portfolio with both “hard” and “soft” innovation: Innovation management means to transform novel ideas to achieve business values via creating a need for, or finding a demand for a 'pull.' Innovation is all about doing things better, differentiate yourself from your competition. Look at innovation management from the perspective of developing business-wide innovation capabilities, and the digital innovation has expanded spectrum which includes both “hard innovation” such as products/services/processes/business model innovation and soft management/culture/ communication innovation. Digital drives all sort of innovations, proactively pushing ideas on how to leverage creative thoughts (soft) and the latest technology (hard) to drive revenue growth, increase business productivity, flexibility, and agility. Innovation follows basic rules, which are adapted depending on the company's situation and ambition, in order to mix the “hard” and “soft,” elements and manage a healthy innovation portfolio with business blossom.

Managing a hard strategy enabled by “aqua” like soft business elements such as culture: The strategy is defined by vision (hard) and culture (soft). If the strategy is about growth, whatever the way you make it. A culture defines people's attitude and the organization's process. and then if there's no culture of execution, there would be no positive attitude and no good behavior. People have been the driving force of much of what mankind has accomplished. Culture is soft, but one of the most critical success factors to support strategy execution. The success factors have to filter all the way through each layer of the organization for a unified execution. Culture unifies different groups of people. First, you have to build a company culture that encourages staffs to think of new strategies to be implemented, then you've got to define a process to improve this idea by stimulating the development of it, or to shut it down as smoothly as you can, but not to discourage new ideas. Successful strategies and a successful culture are interdependent. The degree to which culture supports strategy depends on upon the degree to which culture unifies its efforts to realize critical success factors, and thus implement successful strategies. Then you'll have to define the metrics to measure the success of the strategy, whether it's a strategy concerning growth, or employees satisfaction or clients satisfaction. The success of strategy execution is the right mix of both (hard and soft).

Digital means flow, mind flow, information flow and business flow with a change management continuum. It is a healthy business life cycle to close the gaps of the industrial age and the new digital era, and mixing the “hard” and “soft” business ingredients accordingly. There is no magic formula or prescribed solution to digital transformation. To build that bridge requires enthusiasm, belief, determination, hard capabilities and soft skills, and commitment to a more responsive way of working in general and be agile to adapt to changes, to run, grow and transform the business.


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