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Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 4: …The 22

Catch: the digital transformation narrative is stacked against you. 22: inaction is not an option. While the above example leans toward the extreme, it’s not uncommon. Bypassing the accepted narrative is the way forward. The mindset is so deeply entrenched that it demands a way around it in the same way a boulder demands water to flow around it. Be water.

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Resources: Digital (Human) Transformation

Digital Transformation is the inescapable buzzword for implementing & adopting software. It’s effectively positioned as a magically complex category. Mostly, it’s not. You’ve heard the quote: “if you’re not a part of the solution, there’s good money to be made in prolonging the problem.” These sources speak to a pragmatic mindset, and frankly, there isn’t a lot of good writing out there on the topic. It’s mostly a remixed sales pitch so I’ll share what’s available, do more writing of my own, and add some video. Articles Why Companies Do “Innovation Theater” Instead Of Actual Innovation by Steve Blank in Harvard Business Review People, Not […]

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Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 3: The Catch…

Resistance to change is a highly developed analog/mental muscle. We’ve been exercising it instinctively since childhood. Ask any parent about the impact of small changes to a child’s routine, and the resulting meltdown. Survival mechanisms and social conditioning are powerful – that’s why attempts at sweeping change end in catastrophe.

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Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 2: 3-Card Monte

Humans are masterful at cobbling sketchy theory into saleable packages. The internet extends this capability at massive scale because everyone is drinking from the same information fountain. It’s a side-effect that vaulted the “on-message” strategy, an established favorite of White House press secretaries, to wider application in marketing. It can give the appearance of synchronized messaging even in the absence of direct or deliberate coordination. Pack behavior dominates.

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Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 1: Change

Change is where we stumble. Digital transformation, innovation, and agility all hit human roadblocks. Only those who hammer away until they gain traction will pass them. As individuals we struggle to change habits even when our well-being is at stake.

If transformation were digital we’d all have reached nirvana using the Headspace app, peak fitness with Apple Health, and inbox-zero with Boomerang. Alas, it’s the work, not the tools, that brings results.

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Intersection: Digital Transformation & High-Context Cultures

In the rush to cement thought-leader status we are churning out valueless definitions of digital transformation, organizational agility, change and more (all part of the same chess set but that’s another story). The definitions miss their mark for simple lack of context. The context that’s missing of course – the leadership and people within a target organization. When a C-level executive from North America goes to Japan for the first time they get coaching in social interactions e.g. greetings, the exchange of business cards and gifts. If you don’t have a background in high-context cultures, either native or expat experience, this sounds crazy. If you’re […]

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The Digital Transformation Industrial Complex

Don’t get the title wrong, I’m not against big business in any sector, on any terms. They get a lot right and contribute immeasurable value in the way of goods, services, employment, R&D, social initiatives, and in extraordinary cases, customer delight. They do it all with a big targets on their backs, sometimes deserved, frequently not. The thing big organizations struggle with is simplicity. The digital transformation conversation is a perfect example. The public DX pitch is one of carefully choreographed impossible complexity where a select few claim dominance with big words, massive software investment and armies of consultants. In reality they struggle internally with […]

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A Leadership Analogy: My Father Was My High School Physics Teacher

The title is cringeworthy. What could have felt like a teen-angst debacle on steroids was in reality, a non-issue. My father taught chemistry too, and was the only teacher in the school for both subjects. I was in his class for the duration of my junior and senior years. It worked because of him, not because of me. He had a great relationship with nearly all of the kids including those who never took his classes. While I can’t speak to the exact reasons why that all worked, I can easily pinpoint some primary reasons for his masterful leadership in the classroom.   Command of […]

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It’s Not Transformation If It’s Not Sustainable

Okay, so I’ve either piqued your interest or pissed you off, and it’s good either way. So let’s begin: The competitive landscape (and peer pressure) are forcing more and more businesses headlong into ‘digital’ transformation. The result is a ‘gold-rush’ climate as consultants and digital agencies pump the idea of ‘digital transformation’ as a service offering. The caveat being these services are often one-dimensional, focusing on technology-based interactions with little to no capacity to engage with the underlying organizational culture. Worse, and critically important is the lack of academic and experiential credentials at the agency level to provide structured inquiry and meaningful insight. So what’s […]

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