Thursday, May 6, 2021

Uncover Business Vulnerability Formulas

Many business changes or transformational efforts are symptomatic of not having a comprehensive understanding to identify business vulnerability.

The inevitable range, breadth, depth, and pace of uncontrollable factors acting on any organizations across vertical sectors mean identifying business vulnerability and constant fine-tuning are essential to improve the organizational maturity. Surely there is no one size fits all formula to manage a smooth digital transformation. 

However, it’s important to identify business vulnerability patterns, share lessons learned, deal with pitfalls, amplify the best practices and experiment with the next practices to improve business maturity.

Action without option = inflexibility:
The digital age upon us is about people, options, and innovation. People are at the center of a digital organization, being customer-centric is the ultimate goal for any forward-looking business today. Business users and consumers are selective nowadays due to the unprecedented convenience brought by digital technologies. Digital leaders need to become the “Choice Generator,” providing choices for talented employees on how they would like to get the work done; provide choices for users and customers on how to solve their issues from their lens; re-imagine the new possibilities and alternative ways to do things.

The Digital Era upon us is about people's centricity, choice, and empathy. The more customer contact points an organization has, the more difficult it is to meet and hopefully deliver on customers' expectations. Thus, it’s important to provide choices for them on how to solve their issues by listening to their feedback and improving their experience. Business management needs to overcome the tendency of micromanagement, clarify the “why” and “what” part of the business goals, but encourage the individual or the team to figure out “how” on their own, encourage creativity and enable autonomy.

Jumping to the “how” without “keeping the end in mind” = ineffectiveness: When organizations heavily focus on “how” - the action part of changes without clarifying big “why,” they lose sight of the purpose of business management. Running a business is a problem-solving continuum; frame the right questions before answering them, ensure doing the right things before doing things right, and know how to drive an iterative planning and execution continuum,

Many business changes or transformational efforts are symptomatic of not having a comprehensive understanding and taking a stepwise approach to manage transformative changes. The digital leaders who are equipped with strategic thinking can inject passion by exploring the “why” factor, make a stride toward the future and keep things on track to ensure that every process, every expenditure of time, money, energy and every assignment of resources should directly relate back to the “WHY,’ to improve organizational effectiveness and lead their organization to become a competitive differentiator,

Hierarchy without efficiency= bureaucracy: Many organizations today are running in between - the mix of old and new; the different departments or divisions within an organization have different speeds. Overly rigid organizational hierarchy perpetuates bureaucracy and causes stagnation. The organization must step out of the “comfort zone,” battle bureaucracy. Digital leaders should encourage and facilitate empowerment of their teams and develop the digital workforce to achieve the higher than expected business results.

There is silo spreading in the different layers of the organization; and the overly rigid hierarchy creates bottlenecks which prevent information flow. To improve business flexibility, flatten the overly rigid hierarchy, the hierarchy must balance the freedoms, welfare, and responsibilities of the subsystems and total system and enforce vertical accountability. A hyperconnected organization can approach the flow zone when the positions in its hierarchy have clear and accountable tasks. Business leaders do not focus on hierarchy but on ideas, information, creativity, flexibility, openness and curiosity. They can lead a flexible team with extensive experience and expertise to figure out alternative ways to do things and improve the overall business manageability.

Delegation without collaboration = silo: From top down, effective delegation improves strategic alignment and enforce management maturity. However, unclear or ambiguous delegation inevitably leads to unsatisfactory results, and further enforces silo thinking and causes business stagnation. Silo thinking sets barriers to organizational strategy management, and stifles growth and innovation. There is a logical scenario to good delegation practice. Find the right person to do the job, breaking down silos and being intentional about developing processes that encourage collaboration is a great first step in running a successful digital organization.

In many organizations with lower-level of maturity, the business is the sum of pieces, such as silo functions, incoherent processes, overly rigid hierarchy, fractal structure, or bureaucratic management style, unengaged employees, etc. To improve business maturity from functioning to delight, oogically, break down silos and be intentional about developing processes that encourage cross-functional collaboration and enforcing business flexibility. A highly adaptive organization is a system which is able to reflect its business mentality and personality, re-configure its own structure, recharge its energy, reinvent business models, and change its own behavior during the execution of its adaptation to environmental changes.

Problem-solving without comprehensive reasoning = illogic: In an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, business and social problems become over-complex and interconnected. Many problems exist because they are either ill-defined or the concept cannot be adequately captured contextually. Problems didn’t get solved through logical reasoning. People use linear logic to deal with multifaceted business dynamics, or take linear steps to handle an iterative business continuum perhaps only fix symptoms, and create more problems later on. Wise problem-solvers would ponder around: What’s exactly the root causes of problems? How is your current problem/goal related to your team/ departmental/ organizational/industry context? Practice lateral, nonlinear or multi-dimensional thinking, understand people or things from different angles and be inclusive to appreciate cognitive differences and different points of view.

There are observable behavioral changes in focus from 'better understanding of solutions” to 'better understanding of problems.” Smart problem-solving requires being close to the problem, understanding context and intangible variables, peeling back the layers to discover the real cause and address it, and seeing things from different angles to gain different perspectives. For the large scope and complex issues, it’s important to leverage Systems Thinking to understand the “scope” of the problem, see a larger system with interactive pieces and “conflict” goals; understand the interdependent pieces, provide the insight into the emergent properties, gain an accurate understanding of the overall situation and hence better defining the real problem structurally in order to solve it without cause more issues.

Today’s digital businesses are nonlinear, volatile, interdependent, uncertain, and they face fierce competition and ambiguous digital environments. Many business changes or transformational efforts are symptomatic of not having a comprehensive understanding to identify business vulnerability formulas, it’s important to refine business capabilities through a combination of talent, resources, processes, and technologies to perform a set of activities and take a stepwise approach to managing a seamless transformation.


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