Monday, March 16, 2020

The Narratives, Retrospectives, and Perspectives of Digital Transformation

Dynamic business leaders, teams, and employees learn, reflect, and communicate via the entire set of narratives, retrospectives, and perspectives.

The digital transformation is likely to follow nonlinear patterns as the pervasiveness of the information growth and emerging digital technologies bring both risks and opportunities to contemporary businesses facing “VUCA” reality today.

Business leaders should have learning agility and understand that past experiences deeply influence how they imagine the future. They learn, reflect, and communicate via the entire set of narratives, retrospectives, and perspectives, and practice leadership influence continuously.

Narratives: The digital transformation is not an overnight phenomenon but a logical scenario and step-by-step business evolution. The success of the digital transformation will depend on the business vision and leadership competency. The inspirational digital leaders can drive changes with everyday digital narrative, the narrative -story-telling, which is a fundamental building block to a complete understanding of the complex interactions in running the digital organization.

Digital leaders also need to have cognition, communication, and influencing skills to be able to represent themselves, inspire, persuade and motivate. As modern-day storytellers, they have opportunities to advance digital transformation agendas, concepts, and ideas, and keep clarifying: What is the "story-arc" for our organization? What is our current adventure? What’s our destination? Which path should we take to overcome obstacles? Who are we, in the story? Why do we care? What type of narrative conflict perhaps we confront? Etc. The goal is to reimagine, architect, design and develop a highly innovative organization and improve the overall organizational maturity.

Retrospectives: Digital Transformation is a large scale change with step-wise improvements. It is important to leverage varying processes such as analysis, synthesis, and retrosynthesis at the different phases of change management. During the retrospective change, the business management and teams reflect on what happened in the iteration and identify actions for improvement going forward. There should always, at every turn, be a taste of better days, of continual improvement of retrospective action planning, incremental goal achieving, creative idea brainstorming, and effective change management.

The digital organizations are living systems that keep evolving and connected into the ever expanded business ecosystem. Many business leaders take the “backward” approach by leveraging the retrosynthesis scenario. It starts with what they want to see or have, reimagine the future of the business; and then, think backward from there to what the next simpler step is; and then back to what are the next simpler components, back to what they have at hand. Often they need to fine-tune the underlying organizational structures, optimize organizational processes to streamline business flow, break through the industrial constraints and limitations, build or shape recombinant business competency to improve the success rate of change management.

Perspectives: The goal of business transformation is about designing a digital organization and proactively planning the total enterprise ecosystem to either make a profit for shareholders or generate prosperity of constituencies. The digital perspective defines the business level view of the organizational ecosystem. Business leaders are pondering: Which perspectives should we consider? What perspectives are we taking that might blind us to other things we could have distinguished otherwise. What makes them (perspectives/models) what they are?

With multiple perspectives, you can always gain insight and empathy to see things from the other angle and be creative to figure out alternative solutions and better ways to do things. For example, a business architecture-led perspective helps business leaders look at the problem domain holistically, close perception and collaboration gaps, overcome obstacles and make continuous progress. The process-oriented perspective enables business management to make continuous improvements such as system optimization, process streamlining, or cost reduction, as well as process design, publication, ownership, improvement, etc. A people-centric perspective is important to evaluate people and problems objectively, apply the “simplicity and flexibility” principles to architect and design a digital organization to unleash the full business potential.

In a frictionless digital workplace, dynamic business leaders, teams, and employees have a clarified vision to think with the long-term perspective, have a passion to drive changes with everyday digital narrative and have unique competencies to orchestrate the retrospective change scenario for reaching the high level of organizational maturity.


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