Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Overcoming Barriers on the Path of Going Digital

Digital transformation is all about improving the business flow by dismantling bureaucracy, taking an end-to-end response, and discover the viable path of going digital.

Organizations large or small are on the way of going digital, it is not an overnight phenomenon, but a well-planning journey which will not be flat. It's the bumpy road with ups and downs, curves and blocks all the way. Digital transformation is worth its weight, not just because of its high cost, but because of its high impact on the business’s long-term prosperity. It represents a break from the past, with a high level of impact. From a change management perspective, what are barriers and pitfalls on the way and how to lead change successfully?

Fear of the unknown; fear of failure: Though change is inevitable, but many organizations cannot take bold actions and move forward fast enough because of fear - fear of unknown. Most of the time, the company executives’ nervousness or procrastination stems from the fear of failure and to some extent loss of control. It takes vision, courage, and strategy for making a smooth change and the large scale business transformation. Without a clear vision, change either turns to be chaos or for its own sake. Though business leaders today can’t predict every turn or curve on the digital journey, quality information and business insight allow them to envision emerging opportunities and predict risks. Clear vision and planning help business managers navigate through velocity, uncertainty or ambiguity in a dynamic business environment and internalize change effectively. To overcome fear and build confidence into teams, there should be a credible, rational and benevolent commitment from top down of the organization, change ("why" to change, "what" should change, and "how" to change) has been communicated throughout the organization. It is also critical to take a stepwise approach by implementing substantial changes in cultural, processes, and structure, mitigating risks for leading business transformation smoothly.

Competency at all levels: From one generation to the other generation, over time things change, people are developing and growing, competition and choice are part of that evolutionary process. However, the unhealthy competition will damage the spirit of progression and innovation. Fierce competitions sometimes also result in a "wick” or evil-doing. It can create unhealthy rivalries that result in workers resenting one another or encourage unprofessional mentality or behavior. From a business management perspective, due to silo thinking and internal competitions, too often transformational change is acted on the basis of improving one part of an organization at the expense of other parts of the organization. Silo self-perpetuates when the soft elements of the organization such as leadership or culture cause change inertia, short-sightedness or unhealthy competition. Silos have individual goals, but strategic goals need to be shared and common to ensure the entire organization accomplishing the high-performance business results. Competition and collaboration are both natural in a business environment or human society, the point is to understand the special context and situations and encourage high professionalism. It is always a good start when working to build a positive working environment, understanding where each is coming from and building trust, with the goal to encourage innovation and accelerate collective human progress.

Comfort with the status quo or complacency: The world is constantly changing, and digital is all about flow. But complacency is at the heart of resistance to change. A complacency mind gets used to reacting, not being proactive. If you stick to the comfort zone too long, you might lose the “mojo” to move forward. When business leaders or managers are comfortable with the status quo, they often miss the big picture and become complacent. Some say it is not complacency that is at the heart of the resistance. It is the unknown and being afraid of new things and it will be the same for the word "complacency." Numerous changes or business transformations run, complete, and then slowly crumble away as people slowly revert to old ways of doing things, and get stuck with complacency. Once that complacency barrier is broken, people become more creative and learning agile, a positive change process can commence. They can take a proactive approach to build phenomenal long-loved transformations and make a significant difference in mindset, attitude, and aptitude.

Timing: Pace and timing are absolutely critical for innovation and change. Too slow or too fast are as much a problem as backing the wrong disruptive technology or fresh ideas. It is often said that a wrong decision taken at the right time is better than the right decision taken at the wrong time.” Timing matters. Either for driving changes or managing innovations, timing is a critical factor in the decision-making and problem-solving scenario. Many organizations which get the timing wrong are surprised when many years later, the other company gets the timing right for the same disruption the original company underachieved. Fundamentally, driving changes and running the business is a series of decisions need to be made timely for solving the right problem and push change forward. Thus, listen to your data, collect feedback and make information-based decisions to drive changes timely. With the right leaders empowered with the right information take in charge in the right place at the right time in a change management cycle or business condition, the path of digital transformation will be natural and easy.

Blind to a need or a path: With frequent disruptions and exponential growth of information, high velocity and uncertainty, business leaders today should realize that there are known unknown and unknown unknown, they have to admit that everyone including themselves have blind spots, which cannot be ignored, otherwise, they perhaps steer their organization in the wrong direction, blind to a need or a path of making smooth changes. Without self-awareness, learning the decision techniques, you will continue on the lives in blindness. The perspective of change unfolds into a wider multidimensionally systemic business continuum. It perhaps invokes further reflections of the focal scope and purpose of changes, as well as the generic perspective of running a high-performance digital business.

Digital transformation is all about improving the business flow by dismantling bureaucracy, delayering the organizational structure, leveraging multidisciplinary knowledge and insight, taking an end-to-end response, and discover the viable path of going digital.


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