Thursday, August 8, 2019

Improve Digital Maturity by Pursuing “Hybrid Truth”

Organizations have to keep discovering the “hybrid truth,” strike the multitude of digital balances which impact with each other in order to achieve a state of dynamic equilibrium.

Digital organizations are all about information savvy, adaptation, innovation, people-centricity, high-performance, and speed. They are expanding both horizontally and vertically. The high mature digital organizations are highly conscious about what’s happening in their environment, take a holistic understanding of relationships between parts and the whole, strike the right balance and leverage the pairs of business factors for pursuing the “hybrid truth,” to improve the overall organizational digital maturity.

Stability vs. dynamism: Digital is all about change with increasing speed. And business dynamism consists is being able to break away from being static and becoming proactive to changes. On one side, organizations need to keep their lights on, be able to run a solid business; on the other side, they have to be fluid enough to enable information and ideas flowing frictionlessly within the expanded digital ecosystem. A successful business, or any system needs to keep its greatest stability when the parasitic and collaborative elements within it find the right balance. Many companies pursue the “hybrid truth”- stability & dynamism by managing two separate but coherent delivery modes: One focuses on the fundamental management responsibility for supporting; the other drives transformative changes boldly. In fact, these companies often have a more flexible structure, with openness, adaptation, and resilience for getting digital ready.

Logic vs. creativity: Digital is the age of innovation. Creativity instills the freshness for either designing great products/services or solving problems innovatively. Creativity and logic actually are the “hybrid truth” business management today needs to discover and master in order to run a successful digital business. Logic is neither equal to conventional wisdom nor linear understanding or arithmetic rules only. In fact, business logic today is often nonlinear, you have to leverage Systems Thinking to set general management principles for understanding how the “part” is interconnected with the ”whole.” The exponential growth of information and cross-boundary communication and collaboration bring abundant ideas. But it takes logic to recognize, filter or deal with them, implement ideas and guild teams to make things happen timely and transform a vision into reality smoothly. Creativity and logic are not two completely different disciplines but they are interconnected; like the two sides of the coin to enable business leaders understanding the digital puzzle thoroughly and solve problems creatively.

Opportunity vs. risk: To survive and thrive in today’s “VUCA” reality, the business management has to keep their fingers on the pulse of business information and uprising trends which can create fresh opportunities to help the business grow and reach the next cycle of business maturity. Keep in mind though, every opportunity has risk in it, and every risk perhaps brings some opportunities as well. Thus, “opportunity vs. risk” is the “hybrid truth” companies across the vertical sectors need to handle wisely - smell and grasp growth opportunities, but also identify critical business issues and predict and prevent potential risks timely. The value of a holistic digital management could be in better decision-making, reputation-building, resilience enforcement, and risk intelligence for achieving higher than expected business results.

Collaboration vs. Competition: Humans are vehicles for societal evolution. Whether we like it or not, as long as humans are unique, their mindsets, opinions, cultures, and views, etc, are equally unique and diversified. That results in both collaboration and competition depending on the context and situations. Thus, running a successful business or building an advanced society requires dealing with the other “hybrid truth”- “collaboration vs. competition” effectively. Beside small scale team collaboration, the digital platforms and tools make mass collaboration as the new normal. On the other side, the unprecedented convenience brought by digital technologies also make the world smaller and flatter, and bring fierce competitions across the global scope. Good competition can spark innovation and lead to collective progress. But unhealthy or unprofessional competition can produce a myriad of negative externalities. “Coopetition” is a hybrid word to describe the possible solution for dealing with the “hybrid truth” effectively; it's about solving large scale problems by enabling collaboration to achieve common goals in one area but compete professionally in the other area. The ultimate goal is to improve the business relationship, engage employees, invite stakeholders for participating in broader conversations and build differentiated business competency.

Centralization vs. Decentralization: In a world that has been transformed by technology, many old and powerful hierarchies became ‘commoditized”; the functional, business, and even industrial territories are blurred. Traditional hierarchical lines are phasing out and a collective of business partners are emerging and working collaboratively to set and achieve strategic business goals synergistically. From the organizational structure perspective, the challenge for any business is to find the ‘hybrid truth (centralized vs. decentralized, physical vs. virtual) structure that helps to empower people, enforce iterative communication, and foster cross-functional collaboration to deliver better business results with accelerated speed. From the business management perspective, having too little oversight and too much decentralization leads to lack of any “system.” Too much centralization and inflexibility perhaps stifle business changes and growth. Thus, there must be enough central control to achieve coordination toward the large-system goals and enough autonomy to keep all subsystems functioning and flourish. The hybrid design allows the organization to morph as living conditions and organizational capacities change to balance welfare, freedom, and responsibilities, and allow a better fit for the business purpose.

To be a highly functional and adaptive system, companies have huge pressures to survive and thrive in today’s hyper competitive economic dynamic. Organizations have to keep discovering the “hybrid truth,” strike the multitude of digital balances which impact with each other in order to achieve a state of dynamic equilibrium. Business leaders must take the holistic discipline with mixed styles for managing everything that is necessary to get digital ready.


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