Monday, January 28, 2019

Leveraging "Sense and Sensitivity" to Experience Digital

Walkthrough “look, listen, feel, taste, and question,” stages for tuning a digital organization.

Digital transformation represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact and complexity. It is the radical change which cannot be just another thing that needs to be accomplished, it has to be woven into the collective mindsets, communications, processes, and actions of the organization. The goal for running a dynamic digital business is to create an organization where change is the norm and happens the whole time, thereby, delivering faster and increasing market share as well as improving the overall business maturity. The transformative effort needs to be undertaken as the means of getting to defined competencies to accomplish the defined business goals. There are both hard and soft factors, the art and science of Change Management. How to leverage "sense and sensitivity" to handle the ebbs and flows of change, experience digital and drive business transformation effortlessly?

Look: The digital scenery is so vivid, The inspiration happens, but it's so bright and electric, it may take great insight for the creative eyes to recognize amazing patterns and takes a lot of effort to look through, around corners and look forward. Before taking actions, start a deep observation to understand your business and its ecosystem by capturing multifaceted views, such as the “zoom out view” for capturing the holistic picture; the “zoom in view” for highlighting or prioritizing the business concerns, as well as the “diagnostic view” for solving critical business problems. For many business leaders, there is no surprise that they will see the mixed picture of “old and new,” from the mindset, business model, process or practice perspectives. Try to see more different perspectives without pushing toward the one that you think is the truth. This is an interesting and a never finished journey of connection with others. Make an objective assessment of the business stage in a life cycle of the organization, dig through the real issues which need to be addressed, and keep tuning the business to unlock its performance and maximize its potential. Digital leaders can communicate with their audience persuasively. Analogies can be noted, information and data can be supported, and connections can be spelled out. Chains of thought that can lead to those inspirations can be told as vivid stories.

Listen: Communication has occurred when the message is received and understood as a two-way street. The large scale of changes is complex, it’s important to listen to people’s feedback because often they are the cause and center of change; involve them in both change planning and process implementation, to gain insight and empathy. This is particularly important for today's business leaders and managers. Because when you are in a position of authority, you have lots of opportunities to tell, but perhaps lack the patience to listen in the right way. Like many things in this world, there are always two sides to the story. You need to listen to both for gaining the true understanding. Listen to both the “Naysayers” and “Yay sayers” when it comes to deep and far-reaching change. Listen and hear what people are saying or trying to say, even try to figure out what’s in their mind, not being said yet. Communicate carefully about the reasons for changes, and be honest about the impact, positive and negative on them as individuals. Actively listening and communicating to one another also creates excitement which propels good ideas to be formed and actions to be taken.

Feel: As the saying goes, "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." People respond in different ways to different situations. You don’t need to be the psychologist to understand people; but as the business leaders and managers, you should understand the psychology behind changes. People’s feelings need to be addressed. Either process change or technology update is the means to end, not the end itself; it must create soft touch for either engaging employees or delighting customers. For the large transformative changes, even the underlying business systems, structures or collective mindsets - culture needs to be reinvented. Often, people have no problem with change! They have “change blue” because they feel uncertain, risky, doubt or fear. It’s important for change leaders and practitioners to share their vision for changes with clarity, inspire people to think long term, make people feeling better by listening with empathy and communicating with respect. Digital dynamism consists in being able to break away from static or stale, and being fluid and proactive. Either for the individuals or the businesses, if you stick and restrict, you cannot be dynamic.

Taste: The high taste of digitalization means openness, responsiveness, innovativeness, fluidity, hybridity, high quality, and great design. Homogeneity, bureaucracy, primitiveness, and stagnation are tedious and tasteless. Digital transformation is a meaningful journey, the purpose is the salt you put on the teams for achieving common goals. The constructive criticisms which perhaps taste spicy or sour, are crucial to making continuous improvement. Running a “high taste” digital organization needs to set up the high standard, build a good strategy, engage a diverse workforce, be open to embracing diverse viewpoints, and build differentiated business competencies. High taste means high quality. High-quality enterprise is comprised of high-quality people, high-quality products/services, and high-quality business capabilities/processes, etc. High taste also means great design. Designing is about forming human-made objects to be pleasing and preferred by humans. High taste design lifts up business quality from functioning to firm to delight.

Ask: Asking questions can build consensus. Change without good reason and adding value is futile and useless. Asking questions, besides telling is an important tool to make a positive change. Asking questions is crucial to learning for everyone involved. Asking questions is a nonoffending way of making the point by understanding the point of view of another side. It can be used in multiple social interactions. However, without being able to listen with an open mind and heart, just asking questions may fall on "deaf ears," if there is not trustful relationship developed. If you do not understand their frame of reference, formulating the questions or understanding the context of the response becomes meaningless. To lead a seamless digital transformation, digital leaders need to ask deep questions for gaining an in-depth understanding of whether their organizations are well ahead of change curve or get stuck in the middle of nowhere. The key point is to use the right questions to slow down the analysis and decision-making processes by acquiring all the necessary information to make correct decisions.

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. An enterprise has to be linked to the many and varying touch points between itself and its marketplace environment. Look, listen, feel, taste, and ask, etc, are all critical steps for driving changes and leading digital transformation to reach the next level of business performance and maturity.


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