With the start of the new year, many of us plan to take action and drive digital transformation forward. As we do, it’s important to also look back: what did we achieve in the prior year, what was the desired success and why did we pursue it? After looking back, we gain renewed insight and knowledge that helps us become much more able to start planning.
Above all, we should ask ourselves a few basic questions and answer them honestly:
1. How much do we believe in a digital transformation?
We all seem to know that digital transformation is taking place. However, many doubt that it is really comprehensive and profound. In the media, we hear that most larger companies engage in digital transformation. But, is this just marketing or is there a substantial change management effort taking place?
Many efforts appear to be half-hearted. Change is not recognized as what it should be – an effort that runs through all facets of the business.
If one reads studies, in particular those about the activities of German companies with regard to digitalization, there seems to be no real conviction. Many efforts appear to be half-hearted. Change is not recognized as what it should be – an effort that runs through all facets of the business. Some of these so-called change projects appear like houses that need complete refurbishment and instead just get new wallpaper.
So, we should ask ourselves how seriously we take the idea of digital transformation. Only by understanding the depth of change needed can companies meet their new goals, and by accepting that digital transformation requires us to fundamentally rethink every facet of our business can we can develop the right strategies.
2. Are we ready to rethink our vision of an entrepreneurial future?
In theory, developing strategies that are the result of an entrepreneurial vision is very familiar to us. We use these to define long-, medium- and short-term goals and derive the appropriate measures from them.
However, even the best vision has a limited lifespan. So what if our original vision no longer fits with what is necessary to make a company future-proof? Are we ready to question our ideas or to rethink our businesses from scratch? Are we able to develop a viable new concept based on what digitalization demands of us?
The challenge is to get off the known and sometimes beaten path. This is the only way to create something completely new. Innovative methods, such as design thinking, help us to leave behind ingrained thought patterns. However, our willingness to recognize and acknowledge this new need is required too!
We have to get involved in completely new risk assessments and learn to stay agile.
3. Are you ready to demolish the appearance of the security?
Entrepreneurship has always been risky. Even with excellent planning and analysis, many uncertainties remain. Nevertheless, today we use known methods to take manageable risks and adapt to future developments. Based on our experience, we have developed the ability to estimate changes and their scope.
In the age of digitalization, however, this becomes harder to do. We have to get involved in completely new risk assessments and learn to stay agile. Constantly changing circumstances and conditions make it harder and harder to gauge what will develop and how it will evolve.
Are you ready to compensate for this lack of security? Have you thought about how you can feel in control of the situation despite this?
4. What role do mistakes play in achieving digital transformation goals?
To date, business has always been about avoiding mistakes. Now everyone is suddenly talking about establishing a culture of mistakes that highlights mistakes as a valuable part of company development. And indeed, when it comes to acting and reacting quickly, attentive error handling is a crucial factor.
Today, however, it is important that we do not waste energy on hiding or fixing extra bugs. Instead, we need to focus on learning from mistakes and figuring out what did not work correctly so that we can become faster and can adapt strategies within a shorter period of time. Keep in mind that it is not easy to establish a positive corporate culture of mistakes: it requires attention and perseverance to help people break away from their established behaviors.
Consider these four questions. Then, rethink and adapt your methods and strategies to more easily achieve the goals you have in mind as you embrace 2019 digital transformation efforts.
Wishing you a HAPPY NEW DIGITALIZED YEAR!