Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Walk, Talk, and Make a Leap of Digitalization

Organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades and intensity. 

Digital makes a profound impact from the specific function to the business as a whole. The purpose of such radical digitalization is to make a significant difference in the overall levels of business performance and organizational maturity. However, organizations are different, they have different strength, they have different cultures, they have different structures, they compete in different markets, and they have different scales and speed. How can organizations walk the talk, talk the walk, and make a big leap of digitalization?

Walk the talk: Digital leaders’ technological vision and passion should not get confused with rushing to new technologies or think digitalization is only the single-dimensional technical extension. In a world that has been transformed by digital technologies, many overly restricted traditional organizational hierarchy become somehow obsoleted as the digital platforms blur functional, business, and even industrial territories. The 'reach and range' flexibility that now exists removes barriers that have existed in the past. The pervasive digitization requires that both business leaders and professionals rethink how things are done in organizations. Often, there is more than one road to lead the digital way. You should develop your own tailored best and next practices to experiment and explore the unique path of going digital. At the high maturity level, organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation. It is important for digital leaders to clarify accountability and responsibility by asking: “Who” can walk the talk and lead change? Who can sponsor changes, walk the talk and steer the organization in the right direction? There is a group of professionals who are responsible and accountable for “HOW” digital transformation is executed in a consistent, repeatable, and measured manner. The digital transformation is likely to follow a non-linear pattern as the pervasiveness of an organization's digitization journey increases. It is an overarching approach that has to dig underneath the surface of businesses and takes a structural way to integrate both hard and soft business elements to build long-term organizational competency.

Talk the Walk: “Talk the Walk,” in other words, means practice first, then share. Digitalization is the journey many never take before. Besides “walk the talk,” developing best practices and sharing “lessons learned” are all crucial steps for mastering changes and improving organizational responsiveness and performance. To lead change effectively, digital leaders should tell the compelling vision-empowered story to inspire teams; forecast emerging digital trends, and engage people to participate in changes. Big change requires participants to understand the "why" behind business initiatives, and for leaders to clearly communicate the goals, expectations and success criteria and to hold managers accountable. “Talk the walk” is critical because there are communication and trust gaps between management and employees; there is the “lost in translation” syndrome in cross-functional conversation, and there are all types of gaps existing at the different levels of the organization. What people really care about is what-does-this-mean-to-them. It's very important to remember that change occurs on a continuum, digital leaders need to help their audience wrap their brains around what will change, what the timeline is, what the business benefit change will bring, and what the desired outcomes of the change are. Change requires tools, training, and practices in order for the participants to feel comfortable that the service level they provide will continue or improve with the same or reduced effort and they will master change with confidence.

Make a leap: Today’s digital dynamic enables companies to leverage their various environments, or ecosystems, to chase growth opportunities and accelerate business performance. Because the ways of doing business and meeting customer expectations both tend to be more flexible than the siloed industrial age. How successful organizations can handle continuous digital disruptions depends on how fast and capable they can adapt to the ever-changing environment. In reality, even in the simplest organizations, the speed is not homogenous across the enterprise. There are speed differences between the “front office” and “back office.” Many organizations are at the inflection point of the digital transformation to speed up. Organizations can reach their strategic inflection point when they can synchronize and conduct change, and the scale of interrelations, interactions, or interrelational interactions amplified the collective capability to achieve more values for the organization with accelerated speed. It creates new opportunities for businesses that adept at executing; it is also the moment to be “paranoid” - as it is the act of inflecting or the state of being inflected. It is the moment organizations can create synergy by harmonizing all parts of the business to reach the next level of the growth cycle and make a leap of digitalization.

Organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades and intensity. It is important to well orchestrate all fundamental elements of the business: People, process, and technology into ongoing change capability, stretch out in every business dimensions, walk the talk, talk the walk, and make a digital leap effortlessly.


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