Sunday, December 3, 2017

Three Radical Management Shift for Making a Leap of Digital Transformation

Digital organizations today aim to move into a more advanced stage of digital deployment by tailoring their own unique strength and business maturity.

Digital makes a profound impact from a specific function to the business as a whole, digital transformation is not a single dimensional technology adoption, but a radical management shift and multifaceted business expansion. The purpose of such radical digitalization is to make a significant difference in the overall levels of business performance and organizational maturity. Here are three radical shift for making a leap of digital transformation.

From silo to hyperconnectivity: A company is made up of silos called functions. The industrial organization with silo functional setting is to achieve a certain level of efficiency. But more often, organizations are too siloed (driven by silo thinking or overly restricted business hierarchy, etc.) to be able to relate coherently as a holistic business to the digital journey. Silo thinking creates the blind spot, it is a source of process complexity to slow information flow and stifle innovation. Silo causes cross-functional communication and collaboration gaps because business functions rely upon the cross-functional strategy, processes, and practices of the company to achieve the common goals and ensure the company as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. Without a cross-functional, end-to-end perspective across the entire enterprise, business managers and teams operate with an incomplete and relatively small view of the business ecosystem, tend to focus on their own functions or departments, stifle information flow, and hoard knowledge. Digital is about hyperconnectivity, it means to have better opportunities to connect the dots across the geographical, functional, organizational, industrial, or generational boundaries. To break down silos, digital leaders must master holistic thinking and systems thinking, they have to not only provide clear process guidelines but also see that the teams are embracing cross-functional collaboration and taking customer-centric effort as well. With dynamic business processes and the latest digital collaboration technologies and tools, the silo can be crossed over and bridged through in order for the business to run at the full speed. Silo is a universal problem facing businesses, especially for large mature organizations or our society as a whole today. From silo to connectivity is the digital paradigm shift. Digital leaders today must be able to foster a workplace that thrives on cross-functional communication, collaboration, and social interaction in building business competency. They need to have intellectual to connect the minds and touch the hearts, build trust, gain commitment and engagement, rather than just be compliant with work tasks. It is also required to ensure endurance, a persistence that mere authority can’t generate, with the goal to build a hyperconnected and interdependent digital powerhouse.

From competing to co-creating: Competition is part of the natural dynamics of life. It is part of the genetic bias of every living thing in nature as a survival-seeking mindset. But many times the competitions turn to be unhealthy egotistic "one-upmanship, superiority" battles. With today’s information abundance and digital convenience, it is important to set principles and craft business disciplines to discern the positive motivation or negative energy behind the competition and focus on the common goals we need to achieve and overcome the everyday challenges. Aristotle asserted when it is rational, the whole of all those who participate is greater than the sum of its parts. It is time to shift from unhealthy competition to co-creating new knowledge and solving problems collectively. Whether we like it or not, as long as humans are unique, their mindsets, opinions, cultures, lives, and views, etc., are equally unique and diversified. From an innovation management perspective, at team setting or the organizational scope, the collective creativity is only achieved through the diversity of thoughts. Because we all filter information differently based on our experiences, sharing ideas gives depth and shapes a well-rounded concept. Instead of trying to agree or arguing the toss, people begin to work collaboratively, clarifying, building on each other's ideas, discovering nuances and unexpected relationships, and so on, all of which enriches the thinking and contributes to a fabulously rich output. Talking and actively listening to one another also creates excitement which propels good ideas to be formed. Collective creativity is about how to use the diversity of ideas as a rich source of connectivity and relationship, to harness all the spontaneity of interaction the group is capable of and provoke breakthrough thinking to arrive at creative outcomes that would be otherwise very unlikely, to reach the stage of ideaphoria.

Form bureaucracy to fluidity: Traditional organizations have a pyramidal hierarchy with overly rigid organizational structure and processes, and traditional management practices are based on reductionist-ism principles which enforce silo thinking and business bureaucracy. In such an organizational setting, people normally 'close' the boundaries of the system, so that less energy is transferred and, therefore, the fewer changes happen in the system. Bureaucratic thinking generates negative energy which stops organizations from moving forward. Digital transformation is all about improving the business flow via dismantling bureaucracy and delayering the organizational structure. Running a real-time digital organization means high-responsiveness and high speed. The organization can approach the flow zone when the positions in its hierarchy have clear and accountable tasks. Digital knowledge flow helps to unlock latent expertise, collaborate with communities with geographically-distributed teams, and arise the opportunity to streamline information flow, idea flow and thus, the business flow. Thus, the digital organizations should be a complex, but fluid living system starting to appreciate business attributes such as readiness, ownership, integration, collaboration, customized structuring, and multifaceted partnerships.

Digital organizations today aim to move into a more advanced stage of digital deployment by tailoring their own unique strength and business maturity, make radical management shift to break down silos and bureaucracy, improve information and knowledge flow, and hopefully outstrip competitors and eventually become the high mature digital masters.


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