Monday, February 27, 2017

Accelerate Digital Transformation via Reducing Unnecessary Pains

It is the time to accelerate digital transformation via reducing unnecessary pains and lubricating the process to keep change going smoothly.

As many organizations are at an inflection point in digital transformation, that transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. The goal of the digital paradigm shift should look beyond immediate symptom fixing, the focus should include the mind shift and actions designed to solve real problems, sustain performance improvement and anchor change as a new opportunity. Some say, no pains, no gains; but to be fair, it is also important to reduce unnecessary pains and speed up to ride above the change curves. Because there are so many obstacles need to overcome, and numerous pitfalls on the way; it is so important to keep the end in mind, and laser focusing on the most critical things, continue tuning the business to get digital ready.

Break down bureaucracy to reduce unnecessary pains: Due to the “VUCA” (Velocity, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) characteristics of the digital new normal, digital organization has to improve its responsiveness in adaptation to changes and accelerate its speed for grasping the business growth opportunities. It is the time to break down the organizational bureaucracy inherited from the traditional management discipline, and develop the holistic digital management practices to harness cross-functional communication and collaboration. It is also the time to break down silo thinking which creates blind spots, and often causes unnecessary complication to slow down information flow and stifle innovation; it is the time to rebuild the trust based on a clear leadership vision, in-depth business understanding, insightful communication and fresh digital management style. Because, often the roadblocks to change and business transformation include, but not limited to: Lack of direction, internal politics, current culture/blame, not aligned systems/processes, too much hierarchy or mistrust. At the emerging digital age with the nature of hyper-connectivity, non-linearity, and interdependence, overly rigid hierarchy becomes the very obstacle to stifle changes and drag down the business speed. It is the time to make things as simple as possible, not simpler, to inspire positive thinking, let talent grow, keep knowledge flow, and accelerate the business performance via making continuous deliveries.

Enforcing contextual understanding via multidimensional thinking, interdisciplinary knowledge, and structural management practice to reduce unnecessary pains: The business system is complex and the organization is contextual, without contextual understanding about people, process, and technology, the blind spots and gaps are inevitable. Hence, to manage a high-performing business as a whole, business managers need to have a contextual understanding about the interconnectivity of the business success factors underlying the surface and focus on building cohesive business capabilities. Knowledge is no doubt important but more than that is complete awareness of what is happening in the business, not just based on the visual part on the surface, but also know-how underneath, to both improve business effectiveness and efficiency, To improve effectiveness, it is important to frame the right problems to solve and solve them in the right way. Otherwise, many lagging organizations keep doing things to increase unnecessary pains or keep doing things in the old way and make their business get stuck in the lower level of maturity.  In fact, there are so many pitfalls on the way to fail the change - fear of unknown, unhealthy competition, comfort with the status quo, complacency, poor judgment, lack of big picture, or blind to a need or a path. Hence, it is the time to reduce the unnecessary pains, 'seeing' the context you are 'part' of, allows one to identify the leverage points of the system and then 'choose' the 'decisive' factors, in the attempt to achieve the set goals and make a smooth digital transformation.

It is the time to keep eyes open for the emergent digital trend, keep the mind flow via learning and equipped with a positive mentality to reduce unnecessary pains: Change is not for its sake, it is for advancement and progression, to keep the digital pulse. The negative reactions to the problems come from a state of distrust, disengagement, and dis-empowerment. People must first be open to seeing and understanding that their status quo is probably anything but positives. It is only then that there is any real potential to change anything, such as processes, business models, or technology, to open people's minds. The digital management focuses on cultivating the positive attitude with a problem-solving mindset. Just think of the time/energy/money wasted by focusing on keeping busy with the wrong causes and solving the wrong problems, etc. Hence, to embrace change requires a change of mindset at every level and an understanding that things cannot stay the same. This is the groundwork that has to be done at all levels prior to initiating major change. In today's work environment. It takes a lot of energy to break habits and outdated thought processes, but change is happening at a more rapid pace.

It is important to understand the psychology behind changes and lead change at the mentality level. It is the time to accelerate digital transformation via reducing unnecessary pains and lubricating the process to keep change going smoothly. It is also important for riding ahead of the change curve. And all these efforts take strategy and methodology. People are the weakest link, also the best reason for any changes, so make people as your CORE focal point for the digital transformation.


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