Saturday, July 24, 2021


It needs to have an overarching business capability and culture of collaboration to drive business transformation effectively.

In today's digital dynamic business circumstances with “VUCA” normality, the multitude of business management disciplines such as strategy management, change management, information technology management, talent management or performance management need to be highly integrated for achieving higher than expected business results. 

In practice, one of the factors to cause business failure at the strategy implementation phase is its complexity. There is velocity in change, there is uncertainty in the business environment, and there’s ambiguity in planning-decisioning-actioning iterative cycle. It’s a journey of overcoming the following obstacles for shifting, molding, and reframing old paradigms into new ones.

Shady divide: Although sharing, collaboration are common talk from the business management, in many companies today, business tensions, frictions and conflicts, are the reality. Silo mentality and bureaucratic management style perhaps still dominate certain organizations or vertical sectors. The point is, if real ‘animosity’ exists between different divisions, there might be 'animosity' inside the middle-top management team as well, that will truly diminish the management effectiveness. Isn’t it truly "lonely at the top" or do those at the "top" purposely isolate themselves from others in their organization because they must make hard decisions at the time for strategic, legal, shareholder, or personal reasons which those downstream must accept one way or another? Too often organizations do a great job of sending out their message that enables the strategy yet they fail to ever take in any feedback. The expectation is not communicated clearly to all and is neither well understood by all stakeholders. There are decision bottlenecks due to disqualified information, redundant processes, cognitive/skill gaps, outdated decision support systems, all of which develop mistrust, increase egotism, build the wall in people's mind, and cause unnecessary pain that gets the organization stagnated.

To bridge the divide and brighten the shadiness, good managers work hard at investing in a positive relationship with their executive peers and bring people together at different layers of the organization by dismantling overly restrictive organizational hierarchy, encouraging learning, enforcing business alignment, enablement, communication, and collaboration, and improving the adaptability and maturity of the organization. Ideally, the digital organizational structure needs to be solid enough to “keep things in order,” but flexible enough to interact with the expanded digital ecosystem seamlessly. From top down, build trust. allow people (employees, customers, partners, etc,) across the interdependent business environment to share knowledge and work collaboratively for solving problems, overcoming common challenges, and emphasizing on communication, participation, relationship building and achieving.

Tough water:
Compared to the businesses operated decades ago, today’s organizations across the industrial or geography are permeated with overloading information, struggling with frequent disruptions. As a matter of fact, there isn't really much of an enterprise without the massive oceans of information that flow through the enterprise at any given split second. So business professionals need to learn how to swim in the tough water smoothly, and the leaders today need to learn how to steer their company toward the uncharted water or blurred territories skillfully.

In the long river of business forming-storming-performing-reforming, there’s information flow, communication flow, idea flow, and talent flow, etc. Business management needs to deal with such tough water thoughtfully by pondering both strategically and tactically: Do we understand each other? Do we find the time to listen to others? Does the chain of communication flow easily or does it stop at one level? Do our team or organization share ideas smoothly? Do we even pay attention to ideas from others? Can we outline ideas in a way that others can follow? Etc. Either individually or organizationally, water is tough, but do the best to keep it clear, streamline its flow for enabling a healthy life cycle, integrating diverse parts into the whole, synchronizing understanding and actions; developing a differentiated set of competencies to step into the future state effortlessly.

Pseudo-participation: Given the complexity and uncertainty of the digital business world and given the challenges of hyper-connected and interdependent dynamic ecosystems, business management needs to be dynamic as there are a lot of moving parts and misplaced puzzle pieces that need to be rebuilt or rematch to get things work seamlessly. Business management is not only about crunching numbers; but they also have to create themes, and set the tones for running a coherent organization; their commitment must be clearly and completely communicated for engagement of all stakeholders with the clarity of the strategic goals frequently. However, many process-driven companies are lacking the “freedom spirit,” and suffering from the high rate of disengagement, with pseudo-involvement symptoms. Because the management keeps pushing, but often into the wrong button, so people perhaps reluctantly change a few things, but their mentality keeps the same- to survive in the daily busyness, rather than thriving for transformative changes.

"Pseudo-involvement" is a pretense of engagement, over the long run this pseudo-involvement fails to engage employees and overcome resistance. Keep in mind, the primary reason for change failure is resistance to change while the secondary reason is the inability of leaders to deal with resistance or culture inertia effectively. Showing genuine respect for those who question change for the "right reasons" is an effective approach and is needed to help managers and employees get on board. It’s also important to make the change a habit by taking a systematic management approach, rather than just some random activities. Grand strategies are exciting and motivate people to participate in execution. To avoid pseudo-involvement system; once conceived, they should be decomposed into segments with appropriate mapping that can be accomplished by executing tactics that achieve tasks. So people can connect their daily work with the strategy of their organization and strive to make continuous delivery based on a fair design performance incentive system.

The strategy is more important to keep business navigating through the transformation journey, but the execution is more difficult due to its complexity, it needs to have an overarching business capability and culture of collaboration to manage it effectively. So the multitude of business management needs to work in an interdisciplinary manner to ensure the organization is functioning cohesively, move steadfastly and make a new paradigm shift transcendently.


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