Sunday, April 15, 2018

How to Deal with the Sameness and Differences in Making a Leap of Digitalization

The responses to change are woefully underrated by business as keys to sustainability and success. 

The digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to explore the new possibilities and unlock their business potential. The shift to digital cuts across sectors, geographies, and leadership roles, it represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem. In reality, there is the mix of the old and new, physical and virtual solid and flow, etc. How to handle the unprecedented level of complexity, and how to deal with the sameness and differences in making a leap of digitalization.

Different Thoughts: With the abundance of information and knowledge only clicks away, we are stepping into the knowledge and digital economy. Still, many think insight is scarce nowadays. Digital is the Era of innovation. Creativity tension comes from the diversity of thoughts. Diversity is the engine for creativity and a facilitator for merging building blocks of new ideas, fresh insights, and ultimate wisdom. Thus, it’s a strategic imperative for today’s digital leaders and professionals to deal with the diversity of thoughts, be cautious about groupthink and homogeneous team setting. Either for change or digitalization, during transformation scenario, although you can change an outcome directly, its overall effect is limited. It becomes much more powerful if you first change your intention, or thinking, behind it. It is important to embrace the different viewpoints and figure out the alternative ways to do things. In such a digital economy and global climate, those businesses that are unwilling to genuinely embrace diversity will get stuck into the silo and unable to know how to tap their diverse resources and be inclusive and recognize merit and ideas. Sooner or later, they make the poor judgment, become irrelevant, will not be able to survive, let alone thrive. Because the life cycle of the business is significantly shortened compared to decades ago due to an increasing pace of changes. The transformation has to go a few inches deeper for cultivating the culture of inclusiveness which focuses on cognitive differences, skills, abilities and the wealth of ideas; as well as take steps further so that the newly acquired behaviors don’t require the same kind of effort and vigilance. Orient people and make them aware of the diversity in their organization or team, help them understand the value of harnessing the differences, and then giving them the tools and experience of how to effectively communicate, collaborate, build trust, and develop a creative team to reap the benefit from the diversity of thoughts.

Different practices: To catch up and scale up, organizations leverage the industry best practices, settling for the expediency of the ideas of someone else. However, the real problem with best practices is that sometimes it stifles creativity and innovation, works against creating competitive advantage and creates the illusion of continuous improvement. Some of those best practices only focus on process efficiency, about know-how, not get broader thought about process effectiveness. Taking a best practice from one environment into another could turn out to be the worst practice, as so-called best is now out of its benchmarking context. Finding different ways to handle the process can give a competitive advantage. When many companies adopt the same set of best practices, such “sameness” becomes the very obstacle to build the differentiated competency. If you work for "the best practice," you will be at the average. If you want a competitive advantage, you need to be different, you must be better than others. Therefore, it is critical to figure out when to pursue the “sameness” via practicing common best practices, and when to chase the “difference” via developing your own next practices, the path to digital excellence is to think more closely about business goals, set principles and build your own unique set of practices for changes and leading digitalization.

Different speed: Change is the new normal, and the speed of change is accelerating. However, different businesses, different parts of organizations, as well as different individuals, evolve digital at the different speed. The responses to change are woefully underrated by business as keys to sustainability and success. How to break through the speed bottleneck and how to synchronize to ensure that every part of the organization operates in harmony is crucial to make a digital leap. In reality, organizations today have a very busy business agenda for both short term and long term goals need to be taken care of, and emergent issues need to be taken care of. Change curves exist because these days it is pretty tough to get attention as there is so much going on. The speed issues are caused by internal politics, culture inertia, misalignment of system/process, overly rigid organizational hierarchy or centralization, functional silo, comfort zone or status quo (pass success will come to future success), lack of creativity, or ineffective management, etc. It’s important to keep tunning the underlying business structures and functions to streamline digital flow. Until business leaders come to terms with the reality that digital structure really is smarter and faster than ‘pure hierarchies,” learn how to strike the right balance of digital speed and industrial speed, to unlock business performance and achieve the higher level of business maturity.

Digital disruptions are inevitable, and digital transformation is unstoppable. To effectively respond to the digital dynamics, companies must begin thinking about ways with strategic planning to broaden their ecosystems and revenue streams while becoming more responsive and scalable, overcome the “sameness and differences” dilemmas to get digital ready.


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