Friday, September 21, 2018

“See Through” Digital From Different Angles

Digital leaders and professionals need to perceive without bias, see through things from different angles. 

Due to the “VUCA” nature of the business dynamic, information is growing exponentially, the business complexity is unavoidable, technology disruptions are inevitable, and digital transformation is unstoppable. Insightful leaders and professionals with strong “digital awareness” can smell the differences, sense emergent opportunities, predict potential risks, see-through digital from different angles, and ride above the learning curve to make a smooth digital paradigm shift. On the opposite, the organizational management's short-sightedness, silo, and running the business in a transactional mode cause digital ineffectiveness in the long run.

See the apples/pumpkins, imagine the apple/pumpkin pies: Either individually or collectively at the business level, because none of us are stagnant, we need to continually discover “who we are,” and “who” we want our companies to be. Perception is when your eyes see something, your mind tries to explain it. With ever-changing business dynamic, digital leaders need to observe, perceive, and pay more attention to the myriad of internal, external, national or global forces that define and influence the way we do businesses these days in order to unleash the business potential and shape a clear vision of the business. Vision is the ability to zoom into the future as if it were closer. Vision is critical for today’s digital leaders because organizations nowadays have to step into the uncharted water and blurred business territories due to continuous disruptions and ever-changing business dynamic. Visionary leaders with a positive mentality can imagine the future enthusiastically, define a clear vision which articulates the destination the organization intends to get and inform the change agenda with a strong logic. They can envision the future and lead the business from the “current state” to the “future state,” based on the business’s strength and differentiated competency. To create something that you really want also means that this very thing has to be adapted to your own variety. With a clear vision, an organization is able to evolve, adapt and innovate, without fear of changes. Though implementing the strategy to reach the vision is a teamwork. if management tries to strictly impose their vision onto their people, the chances are that they'll fail. People want to contribute in their way, have their secret recipe to make the pies (pumpkin or apple) they enjoy. So it’s important to build a win win win situation - win for people, win for company stakeholder, and win for customers.

See the forest and the trees: Enterprise is the complex system, every change initiative, either at a functional level or corporate scope, has to make sure the business as a whole is more optimal than the sum of pieces; or fix the real issues without too many side effects. Digital leaders need to leverage systems thinking to check up their problem-solving scenarios by asking: What is the bigger picture here? How is your current problem/goal related to your team/ departmental/ organizational/industry context? Practice lateral, nonlinear or multi-dimensional thinking, understand people or things from different angles and be inclusive to appreciate cognitive difference and different point of view. Try to see the ‘big picture’ and take a more holistic view of the business as a system to make sure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A holistic perspective can fix the misperception by exploring multiple thought processes; willing to listen to the diverse viewpoint, zooming out to capture the bigger picture, and seeing both the forest and the trees. It is also important to take a holistic approach to solve real problems, there needs to be a better appreciation to examine a situation and understand the problem from different angles and zoom out to see the larger system and their part in the mess, in order to come out the optimal solutions.


See things underneath and around corners: The more complex the situation is, the more important to leverage critical thinking and the more different approaches and role gaming is needed to reach for in-depth understanding. Critical Thinking needs to combine different thinking processes, to gather a mass of information, break it apart and reconstructed with a level of accuracy, projecting futuristic events, and numbers, etc. Critical Thinking is a crucial thought process to see underneath the symptoms and dig into root causes and see around corners without ignoring some pieces of important information. With hyperconnected and overcomplex digital new normal, to overcome the common challenges and advance the human race, we have to really dig beneath the superficial layer, see around the corner and transcend the interdisciplinary knowledge, to get to the heart of the matter. To improve management effectiveness, the business manager has to dig through the root cause of old or emergent business issues and fix them in the right way. Individually, to break through your thinking ceilings, you need to build the solid thinking blocks, have sufficient knowledge and unique insight to observe deeper, see things underneath and see around the corner. In the organizations, digital transformation cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished, it has to be woven into communication, process, and action of the organization.

Organizations rise and fall, not on the quantum of plans and resources, but on the capabilities to manage, lead, yet most important to execute. Digital leaders and professionals need to perceive without bias, see through things from different angles. Companies that are skilled at managing complexity can gain advantages by pushing the boundaries of a more complicated business mix and pulling all-important resource to make a large digital leap.

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