The pandemic has changed the dynamics of almost every kind of business. And today, most of the business have no choice but to transform themselves through technology to reach to their customers and continue their existence. If they do not evolve, there is a real danger for the organizations to become irrelevant in the future.
Digital transformation is not a new concept. It is probably one of the most overused terms in recent times, especially during last couple of years. Every other company is either getting digitally transformed, or helping others get transformed, or both.
However, have you ever thought what does it take for companies to transform themselves and their customers?
While technology plays a major part in the transformation, even bigger part is played by the people and leaders of the organizations who are behind driving the transformation. For effective outcome, they need to have the right mindset and they should be ‘Digital transformation ready’.
“To be ready for the digital transformation, you need a huge shift in the mindset and see beyond the current problems that surround you. “
Digital transformation is often an evolutionary journey. Every company, due to their unique business context, business model and the way they operate, needs to find their own path towards their digital evolution.
Often the path is unpredictable, and the leaders and teams need to be prepared to handle any disruptions or blockers that may come along the way. This, requires a fundamental shift in the thinking and mindset of people in a way they think, act, and react.
How to think?
The people who are driving the digital transformation need to be able to see possibilities and opportunities beyond the current problems and situations they are encountering on the day-to-day basis. Being buried with today’s problems, do not help people have a right mindset to imagine a better future.
They need to handle mental complexities around the current products & services. Digital transformation is often complex and requires careful untangling of work to streamline the path of your evolution and teams and leaders should be able to understand the complexities and deal with them along the way.
Decisions play a huge role in moving things forward and the teams and leaders should be able to make decisions, often without full information or validated information, almost like taking a bet on moving in a certain direction. They should also be prepared to be bold and take risks and if the decisions go wrong, be ready to reverse them equally fast.
How to act?
Because the things can get unpredictable on the way, and the decisions could go wrong along the way, it is important for the leadership to be tolerant of the environment that seems ambiguous and often contains risks. Since the path for each company is unique and unexplored, the teams and leaders need to show high level of resilience in the face of constant change and constant ambiguity along the way.
Digital transformation is not automation. Its much beyond that and the leaders must feel comfortable and be brave challenging the status quo and think from first principles. Unless they question everything going back to the root, the impact of transformation cannot be big enough.
The teams and leaders need to be relentless in ‘getting things done’. Just having ideas and thoughts do not help in the journey. While ideas (big ideas) are important, getting things done and taking one step forward at a time is very important.
How to react?
The path towards transformation can be very long, bumpy, and full of unexpected surprises and blockers on the way. Leadership changes, organizational direction changes, business model changes, organizational politics, shifting powers between teams and ability to influence are some of the key reasons why the path can be bumpy.
The leaders and teams need to be able to adapt to the constantly changing environment around them, sense the change early and be ready before the change becomes a problem by responding to the change appropriately.
While it should be Ok to fail, learn and try again, the teams and leaders should make every possible effort to get things right first time. Sometimes getting things wrong could be catastrophic for the journey so leaders need to invest a huge amount of time to try and get things right first time.
Digital transformation is a multi-year journey and for it to be successful, the organizations need to work on transforming people and their mindset first. Nimble, flexible, and adaptable teams and leader often seize and respond to opportunities much better than others and travel the distance better than others.
Right mindset, right people and right leaders is essential for the success of your digital transformation programme and is often a difference between winners and losers in the game of business.
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