Monday, January 11, 2016

Digital Master Tuning #123: Three Insights in Digital Strategy Management

The depth of strategy needs to capture the business insight and make clear linkage of strategy-culture-execution mapping.

In the world where everything is touched by digital technologies, businesses across sectors are on the journey to digital transformation, they should not just include the digital aspects of strategy to their strategic plans, but think deep on how to reshape the digital version of the corporate strategy. Because a digital strategy is a cross-functional effort and multidisciplinary and multidimensional planning, so what are important aspects you need to consider in crafting an insightful digital strategy and achieve it confidently?

Organizational readiness: The first step of building a good strategy is to diagnose the key issues need to be solved, and the gaps need to be bridged. High valued businesses are the ones listening to the wildest desires and needs of their potential customers. Besides gaining customer insight via analytics, it is also critical to take a deep look at the organization itself, because strategy management and change management often should go hand-in-hand to synergize strategy implementation. Too many organizations are mechanistic, control and command hierarchies. Organizational change readiness can be determined via a validated instrument, the change profile-scan. Self-diagnoses the business moods: What are the collective minds, attitude, and behaviors that you can see? Slow or unclear priorities or ineffective decision processes? A sea of bureaucracy? Poor or inconsistent communication down or across the organization? A disconnected or distant layer of management or leadership? How would you describe the prevailing mood? Lack of trust in management? Lack of clarity or direction? Unclear or rapidly execution/changing priorities? Poor communication or silo thinking? The disconnect between recognition and performance? If your organization fits these descriptions, get out fast or initiate change within. Only through an in-depth understanding of the business and beyond, a digital strategy can weave all necessary business factors such as internal communication, organizational culture, supply pipeline, customer demand and innovation to a holistic perspective and set the proper guidelines for taking actions.

Digital fluidity: Traditional strategy making is often top-down and single dimensional push. However, digital strategy is more agile, outside-in and bottom-up feedback and inclusiveness become crucial for the effectiveness of strategy-making and implementation continuum. Because Digital means flow: the energy flow, the information flow, the idea flow and the mind flow, so the view of the business ecosystem needs to become more dynamic and more adjustable. The blurring line of business border and the uncharted frontier of an organization provides both unprecedented opportunities and emergent risks, so in order to craft a living strategy, the management has to have the ability to ask the hard questions and engage in meaningful dialogue even if you do not agree with one another you can indeed agree to disagree yet, stay engaged with one another because the strategic dialogue is important, yet, the harmony is priceless. And then leverage the resource, and prioritizing the strategic goals for seamless implementation.

Contextual intelligence: Digital organizations become more complex than ever, knowledge needs to be facilitated and managed more systematically for building an insightful strategy, as well as executing it with agility. Often one of the biggest gaps in strategy management is “lost in communication,” or lack of insight sharing. Every business function speaks its own dialect, misinterpret each other, or keeps the silo mentality. Therefore, knowledge management and strategy management should also work as a pair. Create/provide a shared framework which will lead to a shared meaning, which will aid in unifying the feeling of being part of the same system, have the common understanding about the strategic focus and ensure the subcomponents of strategy (IT, talent, marketing,etc.) are integrated and the business as a whole is superior to any of its part. Now digitalization is also shortening the knowledge life cycle significantly, it doesn’t mean that knowledge is less important but more important. Knowledge alone is not sufficient, the insight is the most wanted and abstracted knowledge to “empower” a good strategy and its implementation.

Traditional strategic plans are often developed in isolation, with limited understanding and static knowledge about business context and the readiness of the current organization. With the new characteristics of digitalization such as hyper-connectivity, over-competition and interdependence, the length of strategy needs to well balance the long term vision and short term benefit with the sense of urgency; the breadth of strategy needs to go beyond silo thinking and the depth of strategy needs to capture the business insight and make clear linkage of strategy-culture-execution mapping, in order to manage strategy with effectiveness, efficiency, and agility.


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