7 Habits of Highly Effective Digital Transformations

April 22, 2016  |   Blog   |     |   Comments Off on 7 Habits of Highly Effective Digital Transformations

Despite the current obsession with Digital Transformation, most efforts will fail. Having worked with a variety of organisations across a number of industries, I’ve noticed 7 commonalities that separate successful practitioners from the rest.

Leaders in Digital Transformation:

1. Don’t care about “Digital Transformation” perse:

Of all the high performers I work with, none are shooting toward Digital Transformation as an outcome.

Without exception all of them are far too focused on building their future business to worry about transforming todays.

All of them see “Digital” as the enabler, and “Transformation” as a by-product, not the destination.

2. Have CEO’s who lead from the front and obsessively question everything:

Every single high performer I work with has a CEO who “gets” digital technology at a deep level and is absolutely obsessed in using it to realise their vision. These leaders are in the trenches at every point and have no hesitation in slaughtering sacred cows, providing it gets them closer to their ideal.

The dynamism these leaders exhibit has a flow on effect, which gives context and license to the rest of the organisation to try things for themselves and find better ways.

3. Focus on what works, not where it came from:

I was recently working with a large consumer facing business with a string of retail stores, where a floor-worker reworked their induction process, then shared the new approach with the organisation.

The solution then spread throughout the chain without any approvals from L&D, IT or HR. No one cared that the solution came from left field or that it was adopted without a formal approval, they only cared that it worked.

4. Allocate resources to pursue the ambiguous:

One of the most common traps I see organisations fall into, is in neglecting to agree on how they will finance and manage the ideation-to-commercialisation process, prior to starting.

Most future focused innovation initiatives run today are based on hypothesis and assumption, as opposed traditional projects that use business cases. For many, providing resources to an initiative founded on a hypothesis is ambiguous and represents a significant risk that they are simply not prepared to take; often resulting in the rejection of ideas that challenge the status quo.

Allocating resources up front, and acknowledging the importance of embracing ambiguity as part of this process, gives license for action.

5. Develop a portfolio of initiatives both within, and external to, the organisation:

No high performing company places all their eggs in a single basket… all of them have a portfolio of concurrent undertakings; some which will succeed and others that will fail.

High performers also realise that innovation occurs beyond the company walls so engage partners, start-ups and incubators to develop a rounded portfolio.

6. Obsess about delivering end-user value:

The end-user is the primary anchor point for all digital initiatives. Nothing is more important than maintaining an obsessive focus on adding value to, and building out, this experience – it’s the end user that defines success.

7. Don’t run change programs

Ok, this one will probably get me into all sorts of trouble, but of all the high performers I’ve worked with, not one of them has a change program for this stuff.

The obsessive focus on aligning the organisation to deliver increasing value to end-users quite naturally provides the impetus and drivers for change.

HBR has an interesting take on this one (https://hbr.org/2016/04/culture-is-not-the-culprit)

Ok, so those are my observations on the top 7, though I’m sure there are others.

What else needs to be on this list?

Scott (30 Posts)

CEO Digital Infusions

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