Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Characteristics of Digital Management

Integral digital management competency = Holism + Interdisciplinarity + Innovation

With very nature of hyperconnectivity and interdependence, the exponential growth of information and frequent changes, the digital business today is not just working within the industry, but also permeating cross-ecosystem which is dynamic, continuous and interactive. Perhaps we need to consider the digital organization as the self-organized but interlaced and hyper-connected ecosystem. The traditional management discipline based on linear logic and reductionistic thinking is outdated somehow. Because the high mature digital organization today needs to be sophisticated enough to act intelligently and nimble enough to adapt to changes promptly. Organizations that thrive on consistency and predictability are excellent at maintaining business growth momentum by taking integrated digital management practices which are based on interdisciplinarity, holism, and management innovation experimenting.

Interdisciplinarity: The digital business dynamic is full of uncertainty, velocity, complexity, and ambiguity, fierce competitions and continuous disruptions. Organizations today are at the crossroads where the segregation or silo of business units are at a need to reach across the aisles and work with each other respectively in order to understand complex business problems holistically and solve them systematically, without causing too many side effects. Unlike the traditional organizations often being perceived as mechanical systems keep spinning; digital organizations are the living things keep growing and evolving. Thus, the linear business system perception needs to be replaced by the adaptive digital system; the mechanistic production metaphor needs to be replaced by an organic service metaphor, and the technical organizational behavior is replaced by the socio-technical business behavior. Applying interdisciplinary digital management to gain an understanding of nonlinearity as the very characteristic of the digital organization and dynamic business ecosystem could be at the tipping point for the digital paradigm shift.

Holism: Digital disruptions are inevitable, the organizational management short-sightedness, silo, and running the business in a transactional mode to “keep the lights on,” or “keep the functional wall up” will cause digital ineffectiveness for the long run. It's important to leverage systems thinking to understand the variety of business relationship and manage the business in a structural way. A holistic digital management approach is about leveraging nonlinear processes and interconnectivity between problems in a managerial context, to ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. The digital transformation is like a gigantic juggernaut puzzle with many misplaced pieces. It is important to involve not only putting different pieces together but also blending them in such a way that the emergent whole is somehow more than the sum of its parts. It means that business managers need to have a contextual understanding of the interconnectivity of both visible and invisible business success factors underlying the surface, break down silos, flatten organizational hierarchical layers, and enforce inter-organizational linkages, to improve digital management maturity.

Management innovation: Innovation, as an individual process or collective process, helps people or the organization adapt, improve, grow, integrate, and thrive. Digital innovation has a broader spectrum which includes both hard innovations such as products/service/process/ business model innovation or soft innovations such as communication innovation, culture innovation or management innovation. Management innovation means how to leverage creative thinking to innovate management processes or discipline. From an innovation management perspective, management innovation also means how to take a new angle to orchestrate a broader spectrum of digital innovations. Management innovation could change the way managers do what they do to improve the organizational capability to change or innovate. It's important to create the space for innovation dialogues and debates about why innovation is important for their organization, developing a common understanding of it, creating the necessity and motivation for it. Corporate environments with the right set of tools, structures, and mentalities, are better equipped to generate innovation within themselves, by allocating time and resource to the people in charge.

For business management, especially at senior management level, practicing digital management is about taking a holistic view, experimenting with better ways to lead and manage, applying interdisciplinary management approach for planning and taking actions, which are always based on rough estimations of what the future conditions of business execution would be. The goal is to run a highly responsive, high performance, high-innovative, and thus, high mature digital organization.


Post a Comment