Transforming businesses digitally, I keep hearing is straightforward. It's always followed by a 'but', but no matter which way you slice it, it's not straightforward!
If it was straightforward, 440 of the world's leading 500 companies wouldn't have disappeared over the last 50 years.
Across the organization, some people are bought in, some people are not, some people tell you to your face and some tell you behind your back and then some people say nothing and try to carry on as if nothing will be allowed to change.
It's not just a matter of changing a few processes and systems, but it introduces new disruptive technologies, new products, customer and supplier experiences. Digital Transformation is not changing a system, re-engineering some processes and empowering people to change as this just skims the surface and will not adapt us to the new Data driven economy!
It starts with the customer, enters the buying experience, evolves the product(s), affects suppliers and lives or dies with the transforming of the human culture digitally. It's championed by the C-Suite or don't bother and it's evolved by the Cross-Functional Focus Group (CFG).
Before You "Start Your Engines"
I've been lucky enough to have met a few Managing Directors, listened to several key notes and they all say the same thing:
Step-1, before you do anything, go out, find time and learn about the new disruptive technologies associated with the 4th Industrial Revolution / Industry4.0. Once you've become intelligent in what they're there to do, go find out what your industry is already doing and has learned so far.
Step-2, share it with your fellow senior managers and agree a way forward
Step-3, locate an experienced Digital Transformation leader, who understands and has experience of a value chain , systems and culture re-engineering
Step-4, pull together the Cross-functional Focus Group
Building The Team
Pulling the right team together is vital to the success of the newly announced business transformation. A diverse range of personalities, ages and departments directly and indirectly associated with the part of or all of the business to be transformed. It’s important to find the change agents in the organization, the employees who are not satisfied with the status quo, and are keen to innovate and improve. Intelligent, well thought through enthusiasm is infectious and will build momentum as it spreads.
However, the challenge remains that many CFGs are in fact dysfunctional because when you bring people together from different departments with different cultures, different pay and goals those differences remain also in how they communicate, even when stuck in the same room around the same table!
Typically, it has been found 75% of CFGs are inefficient due to the above hurdles and it is up to the C-Suite to be involved to break down the barriers, build bridges and pull the team together early on.
The Right Ingredients
Try whenever possible to ensure each member of the CFG has a good grasp of IT combined with business process understanding and the customer-centric direction of the enterprise. Better still as they go out into the enterprise to gather requirements and ideas, they're unidentifiable as coming from IT or Operations.
Across the large enterprise there will be several CFG, and it's important to keep balance of them all, care of the governance team.
It's important the Team Leaders for each CFG are given the power to make decisions and pushed to fail-fast, learn-quicker. Of course, a "check & balance" system is required to help team break through projects, learning as they go.
When you pull together people from across the organization with differing value, beliefs and goals, conflict is inevitable and frankly healthy, as long as controlled. However, this can't be guaranteed and a conflict resolution policy should be put in place, in readiness.
Never Under-estimate The Value Of The Team
This team has the remit to change the direction, operations, infrastructure and culture of your business, so stay close to them, encourage them and look after them.
Exciting times, require an excited leader.
When putting together the CFG, we like you, like to hand-pick the ingredients - the very best leaders and team members, passionate and experienced in helping you achieve your goals
Let me know if I can help handpick you the very best