As a leader it’s important to recognize that everyone is confronted with their own version of overload and are likely getting more noise than signal. The S/N ratio is one of many reasons why I argue that org-wide transformation, as a starting point, is fantasy. More on change and group dynamics here.Continue readingMore Tag
Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 8: Contradictions
Thought leaders have been selling an academic fantasy of digital transformation for decades. It doesn’t work. Here’s what does: stealthy, small scale initiatives that start with a wide berth. Determined non-conformists on a mission. Cross-pollinating, multidisciplinary teams of fewer that 5 people. Organic opt-in over forced buy-in. Controlled-environment R&D over spray & pray ‘org-wide.’Continue readingMore Tag
Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 7: A Framework For Discovery, Ignition & Growth
When it comes to change and transformation efforts I’m inclined toward an open-source ethos. In that spirit, I’m sharing my program. Here’s why.
Beginning with our first interaction it sets the stage for a discussion of the future, not the past. It opens up discovery. Not a fishing expedition for canned answers I think might open your checkbook.
Our first goal is to establish a rapport of mutual open-mindedness. Narrow-minded managers are hungry for use cases as a CYA mechanism. Receptive leaders aren’t.Continue readingMore Tag
Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 6: Cultures
Culture and relationships are the hardest part. You need to identify and develop willing lieutenants who can mobilize their people, evangelize a mindset of change, and gradually grant permission to their extended teams to evaluate and apply risk with high probability of paying dividends. Think ripple effect instead of tsunami.
Above all, recognize that culture is an output. If you want to change the culture, change the input.Continue readingMore Tag
Unpacking Transformation 2020, Part 5: Context
Asking Better Questions: Context is micro by nature and doesn’t play well in the attention economy where prescription-based marketing has seconds to set a hook. Digital transformation marketing heralds one-size-fits-all imagery, easily packaged for change-weary leaders. Context, though, is the only way to discover all of the opportunities that lie before you. Simple, not easy.Continue readingMore Tag
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.Continue readingMore Tag
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.Continue readingMore Tag
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.Continue readingMore Tag
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.Continue readingMore Tag
Unpacking Transformation 2020, Intro: Rewrite The Game
Transformation is human not digital. And it’s not a standalone category. Anyone with skin in the game understands that the alchemy of change is some combination of leadership + key people/catalysts, culture, creative permission and technology that’s unique in different industries and even across teams withing the same org.Continue readingMore Tag