Digital transformation: 5 uncomfortable truths in 2020

Digital transformation: 5 uncomfortable truths in 2020

Have big digital transformation plans for the year ahead? These obstacles may already be slowing your progress. Here's how to overcome them.

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4. Your organizational structure is strangling your progress.

Contemporary matrixed organizations – and the associated jumble of solid and dotted-line reporting structures – have obscured decision rights and muddled RACIs, short-circuiting organizational agility. Even flatter organizations, generally thought of as favorable for digital progress, have seen an uptick in command-and-control behaviors as unprepared leaders struggle to manage a larger number of direct reports.

What can we do?

  • Relentlessly focus on decision-making – and who truly needs to be involved. Revolving rounds of stakeholder management both drain speed out of processes and detract from customer focus. Establish clear decision-holders from the outset of any initiative and distinguish consultative input from true “thumbs up/thumbs down” decision rights.

5. People are sick of digital transformation.

Remember how you felt every time someone said “dot-com” in 2000? That’s how some people feel about “digital transformation” in 2020. It’s not just the words, though – the entire process of digital transformation has produced meaningful fatigue. The same rapid change that energizes a subset of employees has worn out most of their peers.

What can we do?

  • Catalog the change and prune where needed. How many initiatives do you have going? Do you need them all? Do you need to communicate about them all to every audience? Curate and edit the digital transformation load on any given employee.
  • Humor and empathy – rinse and repeat. When it comes to digital transformation, as Mad Magazine used to put it, “pobody’s nerfect.” Treating each other with compassion – and emphasizing comedy over tragedy – will shepherd your organization’s digital transformation over the indubitably rough waves that lie ahead.

Don’t let these five issues peck away at your organization’s ability to achieve its digital transformation goals.

[ Is your digital strategy prepared to handle the challenges of 2020? Read also: 8 digital transformation trends for 2020. ]


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