Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Organization’s Digital Fit

The digital paradigm shift is inevitable. Keeping digital fit means the fitting mindset, fitting attitude, fitting structure, and fitting speed.

The multidimensional digital transformation provides impressive advantages in terms of the speed of delivering business solutions and the ability to adapt to changes. Either be a disrupter or being disrupted, digitalization makes significant impacts on every aspect of the business from people, processes, to technology and capability both horizontally and vertically. The effects of an increasingly digitalized world are now reaching into every corner of businesses and every aspect of organizations. So, how can organizations keep digital fit and highly-responsive because nowadays digital businesses need to be fast, always “on,” highly connected, interdependent, and ultra-competitive?

People fit: People are the very purpose for change, they are often the weakest link in digital transformation as well. Organizational fit means more about growth mindset, value-adding or behavioral norms. And people need to be intentional about how they enter the role, focusing on understanding and respecting the people, culture, and history. The failure to do this is one of the biggest causes of derailment, and creator of the perception of poor-fit. From the people management perspective, the organizational fit is the good balance of the “misfit” thinking and fitting attitude. 'Fit' doesn't mean that everyone needs to have the same thought processes, the same personalities, the same preferences, or the same experiences. At the ultimate level, organizational fit means to well balance the fit (growth mindset, learning agility, good attitude, and accepted behavior) and misfit (independent thinking and creativity). Fit or Misfit" is contextual. In today’s digital new normal, the culture fit means organizations need to proactively seek different ideas and engage in healthy debating and critical thinking with diverse points of view. Where you want to look for 'fit' is in relation to the values you want to build or maintain within your team, and the kinds of behaviors that you would expect to see as a result of, or in alignment with, those values. Organizational fit, manifested in accepted and expected behavior, has a way of neutralizing differences. What is important is that everyone feels committed to the goals of the team, and is comfortable with the behavioral expectations associated with those goals. The fit is also not equal to be compliant only, as a matter of fact, ‘groupthink’ is one of the most devastating things to team performance and certainly to a team’s ability to innovate. Business leaders should keep checking to keep the team digital fit: Are you planning to build a homogeneous or heterogeneous team; a complimentary team or a competitive team? Are you hiring people who are an obvious "fit," and passing on people who are less so (at least on the surface)? The truly digital fitting people should bring positivity and diverse viewpoints, help build the culture of learning and innovation, and accelerate the digital transformation of the organization.

Growth fit: Forward-looking organizations are shifting focus from inside-out operation driven to outside-in customer focus, to keep them growth fit. They have to build a set of differentiated business capabilities to keep fit and ride above the learning curve. Processes underpin business capabilities. The strategy tells you what processes you should focus on because they are strategic to the company. It also tells you whether you are redesigning business processes to achieve changes in time, cost, quality or scope, for keeping fit. To keep processes nimble, organizations also need to prune “the weed” regularly. The approach is to implement a program that like a gardener would prune the trees to enable them to grow stronger, and nurture the valuable solutions. Keeping digital fit means you need to manage consolidation, integration, modernization, automation, innovation, and optimization and manage digital transformation in a systematic way. From an organizational structure perspective, compared to the traditional organizational structure with a rigid hierarchy, digital organizations are the "living things," that need to continually fine-tune a successful structure to improve people-centricity. And people-centricity becomes the nature of the priorities in the organization. What customers generally want is a no-nonsense, fit-for-purpose, and hassle-free solution to their needs. Fit-for-purpose," is equally true for human relationships as for solutions to other needs, as the goal for the business’s surviving and thriving.

Speed fit: Speed matters for businesses’ surviving and thriving. This is particularly true due to the increasing speed of changes and the overwhelming growth of information in the digital era. The emergence of potential opportunities for exploiting digitization is likely to follow a nonlinear pattern as the pervasiveness of an organization's digitization journey increases. How these ideas are recognized, filtered and dealt with will become a crucial factor in an organization's success in producing digitized products and services, and more importantly, enhancing its competitive business capabilities. Digital fitting organizations can accelerate their speed seamlessly to the more frequent digital disruptions, wired to change and designed for better innovation toward the long-term digital transformation. While the organization running in the industrial mode is just the sum of pieces, and getting stuck at the lower level of maturity and their functional silos compete for resources, rather than work collaboratively and seamlessly to optimize business. Digital fitting organizations have both strategic responsiveness and organizational flexibility to speed up, with the combination of an innovative culture that promotes responsiveness throughout the company. Digital leaders and professionals in these organizations have digital lenses to "seeing the whole," reach a shared understanding of the whole and become the change agent to catalyze digital transformation with the accelerating speed.

The digital paradigm shift is inevitable. Keeping digital fit means the fitting mindset, fitting attitude, fitting structure, and fitting speed. It means learning agility, innovation, and balance. “Run, grow, and transformation,” digital organizations have to keep both the balance cycle and growth cycle going well. Digital organizations need to keep evolving, renewing, and achieving the state of digital flow and business continuum.


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