Sunday, August 23, 2020

Identify and Bridge Soft Gaps to Build “Hard” Capability

Soft gaps often generate the deepest chasms and hardest challenges to drive people-centric digital transformation.

Due to rapid changes, the exponential growth of information, and continuous disruptions, modern organizations are complex systems that tend to be non-linear and hard to predict the upcoming changes and there are both promises and perils on the way to go digital. 

Besides hard barriers such as outdated infrastructure, processes, or technology, there are also quite a few “soft gaps,” which cause change inertia and stifle innovation. 

Too often, leaders are allowed to complain generically about what they mean by skill and competency gaps and they pick the symptoms, not dig through the root causes. Believe it or not, the soft is perhaps the toughest throwing the management a challenge. Forethoughtful leaders need to identify and bridge the following soft gaps, continue building and optimizing differentiated competency to achieve the desired business effect and performance results.

Confidence Gap: We slowly, but steadily move to the digital era with an abundance of knowledge and flow of information and ideas. Diversity is the hotbed of creativity. Digital professionals with confidence dare to be different, think, and work independently, well-disciplined, have effective decision-making and excellent problem-solving skills, build differentiated capabilities, and make continuous improvement. Confidence shines through character and is based on intelligence and expertise. Digital leaders today should lead by influence, not via brute force. Be confident, not arrogant. Digital professionals need to demonstrate confidence based on their fitting mindset, professional competency and have the right dose of ego. Digital professionalism in itself is a constant learning process that requires talented people to build competency and share insight to overcome common challenges.

Many times, the “soft gaps” are the real cause of numerous intricate human problems and generate negative energy in the surroundings. character and confidence often go hand-in-hand. Confident people are more comfortable to receive constructive feedback and ignore the destructive negative ones. Confident people can step out of their “comfort zone,” and are more adaptive to changes proactively. Many say that people’s intelligence is tested by their changeability, and their professional quality is also proved via their changeability. Similarly, people’s confidence is based on their knowledge, insight, and capability. “Hardening” the soft, quantifying intangible, and making "invisible visible" is the right approach to encourage true understanding and build professional confidence.

Communication Gap:
Organizations are social realities that emerge from the communication patterns of people. communication keeps the digital business flow and brings harmony. Communication, whether verbal, non-verbal, or digital, is the coordination mechanism that makes a group of people as a cohesive team to achieve more. Communication clarity directly impacts on the business effectiveness and organizational maturity. There are both hard communication barriers such as out of date processes, procedures, information technology, practices, and soft gaps such as outdated knowledge, culture, politics, or "comman&control" leadership style, etc. In many circumstances, miscommunication is caused by perception gaps because people have a different knowledge base and cognitive understanding to articulate things with symptoms such as misinterpretation, out of logic, rumor-mongering, etc. Communication gaps create business performance bottlenecks, discourage creativity, and decelerate organizational speed. 

Communication is complex because there are differences in goals and contexts, especially strategic communication. Listen, brainstorm, or question...Communication effectiveness can be improved upon when the hard barriers are broken down and soft obstacles are overcome. Bridge communication gaps by leveraging diverse viewpoints, updating knowledge, and deal with"Lost in Translation" syndrome. Keep in mind, communication is not for its own sake, It’s the tool to solve problems, and languages are the tools to make communications. The great communicators know why to communicate, what, how, when, and who to talk, and they can communicate objectively with strong logic, clarity, and understanding to solve problems either at strategic or tactical level effectively.

Trust Gap: We live in the urbanized world with hyper diversity and workforce fluidity. There is overloaded information and knowledge seems to be only a click away. But misinformation or lack of true understanding often make human society more divisive and less collaborative. Further, mistrust is also caused by a lack of contextual understanding, pre-conceptual judgment, random assumptions, or unconscious bias. The trust gap creates innovation barriers and makes businesses or society as a whole getting stuck at a low level of maturity.

In the physical or business world, most relationships are nonlinear, change is continuously happening and spiraling up in such a dynamic environment. Today’s business leaders and professionals need to be open-minded, resourceful, and learning agile, harness communication, and build trustful relationships to overcome common challenges. They need to be discerning, but not overly judgemental in managing relationships; be flexible, but not too rigid in the outlook or too static to sense changes; be truly curious about cognitive difference or culture diversity, not getting stuck with conversational wisdom. Build trustful relationships by touching the hearts and connect minds via empathy, positivity, and multidimensional intelligence.

Soft gaps often generate the deepest chasms and hardest challenges to drive people-centric digital transformation. Today's leaders and professionals should develop the full set of digital mindsets, attitudes, and competency to mind gaps, gain a contextual understanding of situations and problems, demonstrate high professionalism to come up with innovative solutions, and maximize collective human potential.