Go For It!
Nevertheless, it is time to go one step further, and to truly Go For It. Let’s take the digital transformation to the next level… “digital transformation 4.0” for those who wish to continue to count. Not to be mistaken of course with the Industry 4.0 concept launched a few years ago, which is about the digital transformation in manufacturing. In the digital transformation 4.0 world of today you need to go all in. Actively embrace the world where digital thinking is completely integrated into our lives and should become an attitude of all of us. Every time you are dealing with a problem, also think about how technology can help you in getting the resolution.
Now you might ask yourself isn’t that already the case? That is only partly true. Today, every organization is working on their digital transformation. That’s for sure. When I talk to customers no one disagrees that this is a top priority on their agenda. Several to multiple automatization projects are set up. Experiments around technical hypes are being delivered. Especially, in larger organizations, a Chief Digital Officer, or a Chief Information Officer with those responsibilities, is in place to be in charge of these projects.
But are those companies actually achieving the desired results? Not entirely. Some organizations kick-off one initiative after the other, without looking back; other organizations get paralyzed by the uncertainty that is awaiting them and don’t do anything. How do you calibrate your decisions where to invest and where not to invest? In summary, what I notice, is that digital is still too often considered to be a separate project, a separate track, next to the day-to-day ‘business as usual’ activities... Don’t take me wrong, it’s ok to have multiple velocities in your organization, it’s even recommended, but at a certain moment in time the different tracks need to come together again, on a regular basis, for all personnel within the organization, not only a happy few. Some companies even create a separate digital brand, actually acknowledging the above split, and fundamentally creating silos within the organization. Even with the best intentions, and knowing that it will shake your business to its core, the reality is that digital often remains a side-track, not delivering the desired results.
Why is that? Well, that is because we didn’t change our attitude the last couple of years. The technological complexity around us grows exponentially, and the world is changing faster than ever. It becomes very difficult to keep up. So, where do you focus on nowadays? Do you dream big or do you try to execute fast? Do you prioritize the long term innovation initiatives or do you give priority on the short term operating challenges? Do you focus on the people, or do you go for results? How do you cope with these dilemmas? Can you make choices in this long list of sometimes conflicting priorities and projects?
Frankly, we no longer have the luxury to choose today, as we no longer have the time to do one after the other. It’s about ‘both-and’ thinking today, it’s doing both at the same time, in parallel, using the power of the opposites. Unburden the operational IT AND innovate for tomorrow. Delivering results AND let people grow. With this, a new style of leadership becomes a necessity: paradoxical leadership. I can recommend the book of Ivo Brughmans where he explains this in much more detail. It allows you to deal effectively with opposite directions and dilemmas by connecting and combining opposite forces.