Friday, May 24, 2019

Three Tough Questions Digital Leaders need to Ponder for Driving a Smooth Digital transformation

 To bridge both the perception gap and change gap, trust is key. 

The pervasive digital technology and exponential growth of information bring unprecedented opportunities and risks, many organizations are like to explore digital by following nonlinear patterns with accelerated speed. They have to strike the right balance between chaos and order, innovation and process, change and stability, etc. Business leaders need to ask tough questions, clarify the goals, and identify pitfalls on the way. At the high level of maturity, organizations have to stretch out in every business dimension for driving the full-fledged digital transformation.

Disrupting or being disrupted:
The digital era upon us means the increasing speed of change and continuous disruptions. Disrupting or being disrupted? Business leaders today need to ask themselves what’re their strategy and practices to change with the “tide.” How successful organizations can handle digital disruption depends on how fast and capable they can adapt to the ever-changing business environment. Running a digital organization in the digital era is like navigating a ship on the sea, you have to make the timely adjustment for adapting to the changing climate, otherwise, it perhaps causes fatal damages. Change is inevitable, but we should have the right dose of risk-taking appetite and we must know how far to bend. We have to engage our sixth sense to decipher when to make the change and to discern what to throw out and what to keep. It’s about planning and taking the logical steps for achieving well-defined goals to move forward with predictability. More specifically, it’s about setting out goals and working at them in a systematic way for proactively disrupting outdated mindsets, processes, technologies, or cultures. To avoid being disrupted, business leaders should be cautiously optimistic, set up a prioritization process to remove inefficiency, change things which really matter for the long-term prosperity of the business, and enable companies leveraging their various environment and ecosystems to chase growth opportunities and unlock their performance. There are systemic consequences and impacts of thinking and actions in terms of interconnections and interdependency. And this is the philosophy behind any digital transformation.

Glorifying or vilifying change agents? The mentality of people could well reflect the status of organizational maturity at a certain degree. If people are encouraged and striving to achieve the best, they are encouraged to be innovative and empowered to make changes, the organization is in good shape on making a digital leap. if most people get stuck in the comfort zone to maintain the status quo, vilify change agents, mediocrity gets rewarded, and different voices get shut off, you are perhaps at the plateau of change, even move downward or lead backward. It is very true that unless there is a disruption, people very rarely move out of their comfort zones. But growth is impossible if people are not willing to change, complacency damages culture and stifles innovation. The digital transformation happens seamlessly when changing is easier than maintaining the status quo and, more importantly, when people no longer feel threatened by it, but proactively learn and adapt to changes. Digital leaders should empower change agents, give people confidence on where to go and how to get there, motivate and stretch them to live to their full potential both individually and as a member of the team. Refine the culture of learning and change with greater transparency, take more engagement and retention initiatives, enforce training and development at every level in the organization to involve and engage, emerge and evolve, evaluate and embrace changes. How we as individuals and businesses adapt to changes defines how successful we will ultimately be.

Is IT a foresight or afterthought of strategy management: Technology is pervasive and disruptive, and the information is abundant and even overloading. Business initiatives and digital transformation today nearly always involve some form of technology implementation and information refining. IT is the linchpin of running a high-mature digital organization. However, in many short-sighted companies, IT is just a service provider and afterthought of strategy-making. Often, their strategy execution falls apart because it’s too late for a strong technical solution to be implemented in time. When this happened, the business perhaps blamed IT, enlarged the divisional gaps and decelerated business speed. IT is an afterthought perhaps also because other business executives do not feel they are part of it. Part of the “illiteracy” of management is exactly what drives their own frustrations with IT. Thus, it’s important to educate business leaders on the potential of technology but also the liabilities. To bridge both the perception gap and change gap, trust is key. IT needs to improve its transparency and build a trustful business relationship. In leading organizations, IT is the foresought and IT strategy is an integral component of business strategy. Information-based forecasting is crucial to bring both insight and foresight of the business. Through managing information well, IT allows business departments, varying stakeholders, the board and senior executives clearly see what is happening in the business, they are on the right track to becoming the forethought of the business.

Communication, collaboration, transparency, respect and change leadership are all the keys to breaking down the realities and perceptions and improving how the enterprise works and interacts with its ecosystem. It is certainly critical to put the stronger emphasis on empowering people, taking advantage of knowledge power, having thought-out planning, scrutinizing by asking tough questions, catalyzing innovations and enforcing customer centricity.


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