Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Three Root Causes of Stalled Change or Digitalization

Digitalization represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem, with people at the center of its focus. 

Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. It is important to understand that digitalization is multifaceted. It is not a single dimensional technology adoption, but a multi-dimensional business expansion and optimization. When digitalization seems to get stalled and culture is stale, business management must ask the big "WHY" question and dig into the root cause. Because the organization’s ability to change and adaptability directly impact the organization’s long-term competency and business maturity.

Unclear vision, unclarified business objectives, or management misguidance: Digitalization is a strategic move and takes the long-range planning, this is especially important in the uncertain time today with high velocity and over-complexity. Digital leaders need to observe, perceive, and pay attention to the myriad of internal & external, visible & invisible, hard & soft forces that define and influence the way we do business these days. Without defining achievable goals and a strong plan is like driving to a destination without a precise address. When change or digitalization gets stalled, they must ask themselves those tough questions to clarify the vision, keep track of goal achieving and scrutinize management effectiveness. Vision is critical for today’s digital leaders because an effective leader needs to give people confidence on where to go and how to get there, supporting them and also stretching them to live to their full potential. With fast-paced changes, vision needs to adapt over time. Without continuous envisioning of a better future, organizations will become short-sighted, static, and even irrelevant. The well-defined business goals and objectives need to be ambitious enough to motivate people to stretch up; but also realistic to achieve the well-set goals. Any business objectives should not depend on unlikely or unpredictable market events and be based on what is most probable for the future. They need to go hand in hand with contingency planning around “what if” scenarios.

Role conflict or differing priorities: It’s important to create synergy for the digital transformation which is the large scale of changes often require mind shift and culture tuning. When different shareholders push the business to different directions, change gets stuck and digitalization is stalled. Digital leaders don't set priorities in vacuums. Rather, they'll use the enterprise's strategy and business objectives to set priorities and determine which capabilities are needed to enable the business achieving those objectives. In case the problem is due to infighting, and then a strong vision statement can frequently align differing priorities, and resolve issues. It’s also important to analyze the very reason behind those conflicts: Is it caused by silo thinking, miscommunication, lack of cross-functional understanding, or simply wrong people put in the wrong position to solve the wrong problems, etc. Sometimes the strategic misalignment is caused by the failure to translate the high-level language of business strategic goals into the tactical functional goals or objectives and then into the professional language of the various staff specialism or the specific working tasks. With blurred functional, organizational or even industrial borders, business leaders and managers need to work across-lines to find solutions that can benefit the entire business and build any ROI required to justify the business case. The rule of thumb is to ensure the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. Markets change and shift and for each company attempting to deal with these changes, there is a different path to follow.

The outdated structures, processes, and culture: Business alignment goes beyond conformity and order-taking, The digital alignment shouldn’t mean setting overly rigid business processes to stifle change or innovation. Business transformation often means you need to fine-tune the underlying organizational structures or processes to streamline business flow and rejuvenate the culture to inspire changes. Many organizations seek examples to follow rather than develop a tailored solution. Keep in mind though, what is “best” yesterday will not always be the best tomorrow. When the digitalization gets stalled, business leaders need to understand the struggles of companies, deal with business conflict, maintain and fix any imbalance in key business elements such as people, process, and technology. It requires a seamless business optimization through a serious amount of positive communication whilst continuously looking for a cost-efficient replacement of unstable or "old" processes, tighten coordination and collaboration with business partners. With emerging digital technologies, the physical organizational structure, relationships, and virtual platforms and social connections wrap around each other to ensure clear responsibility, smooth information flow, and engaged workforce who can set the right priority to accelerate changes and foster innovation.

Digitalization represents the next stage of business maturity which will improve how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem, with people at the center of its focus. There will be challenging times on the road ahead for sure. By identifying the root causes of the digital conundrum at the early stage, businesses can adapt to change and make the paradigm shift smoothly.


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