This is an introductory post on digital transformation. It is meant to provide you with an example of how your mind might think about framing the challenge. Transformation is a required breakthrough process that awaits modern companies.
I hope this article (and the extensive reading list I included at the bottom of this page) empower you with some knowledge and confidence to figure out how to transform yourself, your people, and your products to carve out a place for yourselves in the new economy.
Here is some advice to point you in the right direction. When you embark on this journey alongside your team, remember this:
If you ever feel lost during the process, look to either side of you and let them know you feel lost, too.
Communicate openly about everything. That beautiful place that is far off in the future…you know the place? Well, that place doesn’t have much room for pride, ego, and solo projects. We’re shedding that phase of our existence through this transformation.
Ambiguous scenarios aren’t designed to make you feel positive reinforcement. It is up to you to be self-aware of what you experience right now so that you can put the old comfort zone in a little box tucked under the desk.
Read articles that encourage you to figure things out for yourself. Unlock your fixed mindset. If you are lucky, you will live your entire life as a curious student. Analyze the complexity of transformation.
Your imagination is expected to make assumptions that you must test through experimentation and validate prior to moving forward. Validate as much as possible at each step to mitigate risk, course correct swiftly, and maintain a sustainable pace.
Check the dates of the posts you read. Concepts and frameworks are being updated, refined, iterated, and simplified within months, if not weeks, of their initial discovery.
The only constant is change.
The journey is the destination.
Get comfortable feeling like you are on your way somewhere. I do not mean to imply that we must be on the go, forever. Rather, you are assuming responsibility for catching up with the pace of evolution, getting ahead of the curve, and helping the organization of which you work get situated and established
If we’re doing things right, our quality of life, at-large, is expected to begin increasing like never before. The things we value evolve. The way we encourage our children to value certain things. The decisions we nurture them through evolve.
As our personal values begin to overlap, intertwine, and integrate with our work lives there may be some confusion about what is of greater importance.
What are your thoughts on that?
I share the following juxtaposition to help us get on the same page in regards to: (1) what is the problem, and (2) who is the customer.
What is the problem?
Until now, a business operated with itself as the center of its own universe, solving its own problems, reducing its own costs, and overtime resulted in a high-level of customer-neglect leaving a sour taste in the mouth of average Americans who just need solutions to their problems. Meanwhile…
Incumbent organizations no longer have the luxury to act, say, do, and sell what they want, when they want, to whom they want, and at what price they so desire. If products don’t solve problems that matter, they are slowly becoming obsolete as we outgrow consumer control and evolve into sophisticated beings with heightened concerns for humanity, and preservation of the human race.
Who is the customer?
This depends on who you are in the value and supply chain. To me, you are my customer. To you, your clients are your customer. It is my responsibility to advocate for your customers because I need you to successfully manage and grow your customer relationships, otherwise, if you have no customers, then I have no you.
Rather than thinking about what you can do to make your business look, seem, feel, and sound more efficient, effective, or whatever buzz words you think will manipulate a purchase decision from a confused customer, begin to open your mind to a completely new way of doing business. A completely new way of running your business. There is a catch, though, as you begin to reimagine a next generation operating model it is critical that you start by placing your customer at the center of your universe, rather than your business.
If you reach a point in the process and you can’t seem to connect with customers on the human level necessary to earn their loyalty, then you may have missed the point of why a business exists in the first place.
Design your business around the needs of your customer, not the other way around.
These decisions are what emotes through the front lines of your organization directly onto the interactions customers remember with your organization.
This is your opportunity to have a culture the reflects the personal values of yourself, the reasons why you got into this line of work, and those passionate feelings embrace each customer at every step of the journey.
Treat her so well that she can’t help but think about how incredibly valuable and important you made her feel. Make it easy for her to become the marketing department for your organization through simple words coming out of her mouth as she boasts to friends and foes of how they just have to work with you.
Look at where you fit in the larger ecosystem of your industry, and tangential industries, to identify strategic partnerships with non-competitive organizations that bring you customers and/or propose a unique value that you need to survive.
When you reach points in the process and you feel stuck, that means the only way forward is to use your imagination.
Take small steps forward. Be prepared to try different things. Settle in for the long haul.
Mistakes are a sign that you are doing it right. Each mistake means you are closer to locking down a repetitive process that you can standardize for your unique organization to continue building upon as you grow a purpose-driven company that shapes our future.
Here’s a reading list from McKinsey on transformation, customer experience, disruption, organizational agility, and a few other relevant items.
Let me know if you have questions or need feedback on any part of your process. I know how important it is to have continuous social emotional support from positive peer relationships – don’t hesitate to reach out anytime.
This list is in no particular order, or prioritized grouping. Should it have been?
- Keeping transformations on target
- Why CFOs need a bigger role in business transformation
- Sustaining momentum of a transformation
- Role of the Chief Transformation Officer
- Touchpoints to Journeys: Seeing the world as customers do
- Next Generation Operating Model for the Digital World
- Mastering the Digital Advantage in Transforming the Customer Experience
- Keys to Organizational Agility
- How to Create an Agile Organization
- Disruption Friction and Change: The Hallmarks of a True Transformation
- Do You Have the Right Leaders for Your Growth Strategies?
- The People Power of Transformations
Do you have any research on the topics?
Please, share your selections on digital transformation, organizational design, culture design, customer experience design, disruptive innovation, and any other topics you think would add value to the conversation.
My next post will contain the framework I discovered from ten years of continuous immersion and ethnographic research projects in government, education, business, and technology. My framework seems to be flexible enough to work across the sectors while inducing a collective action of collaborative partnerships and other exciting stuff.
Let’s connect on Linkedin.