Friday, July 19, 2019

Tuning Key Elements to Keep Digital Fit

To keep digital fit, organizations today need to constantly fine-tune their key business elements, and see change as an opportunity. 

Digital transformation is now spreading rapidly to enable organizations of all shapes and sizes to reinvent themselves. It makes a profound impact from the specific function to the business as a whole and the entire digital ecosystem.Digital exploration is all about planning, investing, designing, developing, operating, consolidating, integrating, optimizing, and orchestrating. Here are five crucial business factors organizations have to continue tuning in order to keep digital fit and drive transformative changes successfully.

Strategy: Strategy is the compass to navigate through the journey for reaching the ultimate vision. It’s about having the critical business success factors in place and manage the constraints to achieve a set of strategic priorities. A well defined strategic plan provides direction, diagnoses crucial business issues, and outlines the preferred course of action. Due to high velocity and frequent disruptions, strategy can no longer just mean the static document sitting on the shelf, it has to evolve emergent property and make the necessary adjustments accordingly. Therefore, an effective strategy is contextual, creative and cascading. The management needs to keep tuning it and communicating it down to the different levels of the organization and create a sense of ownership. Everyone should be involved at a certain point and at a certain stage of the strategy execution.

System: The digital organization is a highly complex and dynamic living system with the very characteristics of hyperconnectivity, nonlinearity, and interdependence. Every system is a subsystem of a larger system and simultaneously it is always built up by subsystems. For example, an Information System (IS) is a business-centric system that deals with information management for collecting, storing, processing and delivering information, knowledge, and digital products or services. To build a highly functional business system, organizational hierarchy must balance the welfare, freedoms, and responsibilities of the subsystems and the total system. There should be enough central control to achieve coordination toward the goal of larger system, and there also should be enough autonomy to keep all subsystems flourishing. Therefore, fine-tuning business systems and processes are the never ending journey. Business management become more effective by monitoring the overall health of the systems and enforcing the cross-functional relationship and collaboration.

Structure: The organizational structure carries inherent business capabilities as to what can be achieved within its frame. There are both official structure and unofficial structure in the organization. The question is whether the official structure and the unofficial structure co-exist antagonistically or harmoniously. As such, presenting and fine tuning official and unofficial structures are certainly part of the  businessjourney to keep digital fit and drive transformative changes. Going forward, it may well require changing both official and unofficial structures into a hybrid structure that can improve business responsiveness and innovation in the direction you are heading. In traditional organizational structure, the business processes and structure are often formal and even overly rigid. It’s important to fine tune the structure to ensure that the digital organization is complex enough to act intelligently and nimble enough to adapt to the change promptly.

Skill: Either for individuals or organizations, to survive and thrive in today’s “VUCA” business environment, you need to keep sharpening skills and building differentiated competency, including how to channel your energy into what is expected of you. It’s important to be informative to act, be versatile for adapting to change, be intelligent to decide, be flexible to explore different solutions, be creative to thrive, and be resilient to fail forward. The management is able to identify the skills and knowledge gap, recognize really bright, energetic and positive people who have traits such as intelligence, communication, and problem-solving, etc, and develop the training to get them from where they are to where they need to be. Digital fit doesn’t just mean some linear skills or accumulated working experiences, it’s a set of dynamic and recombinant capabilities to achieve business goals or solve either existing or emerging business problems smoothly.

Style: When company boundaries are blurred and the world is so hyper-connected, who leads whom? How can leaders make influence, harness creativity and rejuvenate passion of the workforce in pursuit of competitive advantage? The substance of leadership never changes, it’s about direction and driving progressive changes. But the digital style of leadership is different from the traditional “command and control” style. Open-mindedness, inquisitiveness, collaboration, persuasiveness, flexibility, listening, empathy, inclusiveness, mentorship, entrepreneurship, etc, are the digital fitting style. The digital leaders with coach style can show the team how to explore who they are - their own natural talent, skill sets, and strength and take into account their own objectives in line with working needs. Digital fit leaders and professionals today are highly creative and speculative, embrace change and connect the dots, self-driven to achieve collective potential.

There are different types of organizations and different growth cycles in their business maturity. To keep digital fit, organizations today need to constantly fine-tune their key business elements, and see change as an opportunity while keeping a holistic overview of the company. Digital management needs to shift from linear and reductionistic to nonlinear and interdisciplinary management practices for dealing with the digital reality and becoming information savvy and people-centric.