Wednesday, November 1, 2017

How to Manage the Zigzag Digital Transformation Skillfully

It is the time to better understand digital evolution with zigzag patterns and harness its power to make a leap of human progress.

Organizations’ digitalization is surely a transformation journey, as it has to permeate into business vision, strategy, culture, process, and communication, etc. The digital boundary is not the straight line, and the journey for change will not be flat as well. Thus, the digital leaders need to understand their environment and playing field profoundly in order to develop a comprehensive plan for harnessing the identified opportunities and managing the zigzag digital transformation skillfully.

Digital transformation is an evolutionary path of progress, with zigzag patterns: Digital means hyperconnectivity and interdependence. The sharp line boundaries continue to diminish in the 21st century due to the occurrence of increased economic integration, blurred functional or industrial territories, characterized by the movement of people and cultures. A digital paradigm is an emerging digital ecosystem of principles, policies, and practices that set the rules and offer guidance for problem-solving or creating something new. The boundary is indeed a very broad term that encompasses all sorts of things, strict or fluid; boundaries can be good, bad, or indifferent depending on the application. This is the space for learning, an opportunity to examine your thought process, beliefs and actions, to explore unknown opportunities, to remain engaged regardless you agree or disagree the emergent concept or new, new knowledge. Digital boundary has the zigzag pattern on it, it is fluid enough to keep ideas flow and thus business flow, but also solid enough to create order from chaos, enabling responsibility-taking, problem-solving and efficiency achieving, to achieve a state of dynamic balance.

Digital strategy management is not composed of linear steps, but a zigzag iterative continuum: The traditional strategy-execution are typically implemented via linear steps, but digital strategy- execution is an iterative continuum, because of dynamic business change environment and frequent digital disruptions. Often the word “strategy” in the “industrial” lens forces organizations into silo along traditional ways of static strategy making and linear implementation. It could lead business management into silo thinking pattern and demotivate stakeholders for engaging in strategy management proactively. Both strategy and execution are the two equally important facets of the same coin. In order to reap the success in the business transformation, a clear and dynamic digital strategy is needed with proper execution through iterative steps, to make strategy execution as a dynamic continuum. Setting a strategy without a thought about the execution can really get you into trouble. Best practices to improve the success rate and lessons learned from failures are the zigzag patterns showing the progress.

Flexibility is one of the great digital traits displayed with the zigzag pattern: One of the biggest challenges in the “VUCA” digital world is the fact that we need different perspectives, different knowledge, and different ways to solve a problem. Flexibility is to embrace the different viewpoints and alternative ways to do things. Digital managers with flexibility have the right mix of skills, they are comfortable with ambiguity and respectful of processes, and they can handle zig-zag ups and downs, bumps and curves skillfully. They do not focus on hierarchy but on ideas, information, creativity, flexibility, openness, and curiosity. They can manage the flexible teams, with extensive experience, they are resolute, responsive, flexible, able to speed up to adapt to changes and figure out new ways to do things. Digital organizations with flexibility is a complex social system having attributes such as “readiness,” “ownership,” “integration,” “open communication,” customized structuring as well as developing partnerships.’

In fact, it is the time to better understand digital evolution and harness its power to make a leap of human progress. Digital leaders today should inspire changes, brainstorm the future of the organization, design the institutions and societies to be a well-balanced digital ecosystem with the abundance of energy and sustainable advantages, and manage the zigzag digital transformation skillfully.


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