15 Nov

Leading Digital Transformation (Step 2) Build a Guiding Coalition

Guiding Coalition

Building a Guiding Coalition

Assemble a diverse alliance of enthusiastic people with power, credibility and influence to think, design and support digital transformation. This alliance is what John Kotter refers to as build a guiding coalition.

It is a Coalition and not a Team for digital transformation

Coalition is a combination or alliance, especially a temporary one between persons, factions, states, etc . This alliance has a wide representation from
  • different silos/business divisions/departments
  • diverse background and different expertise
  • different organizational levels
The digital transformation coalition mostly starts small and becomes bigger over few months.

The coalition is to guide the digital transformation

This group should have the intellectual ability to design the digital transformation. The individuals should be able to understand the need for digital transformation. They should be able to help you create strategic vision. Members will share excitement with others and make them interested in this effort. They are the change agents that will help you enlist the volunteer army for the change.
“You win by working hard, making tough decisions and building coalitions” – John Engler

Perfect candidates for digital transformation guiding coalition

  1. Early Adopters: These individuals are opinion leaders who listen to new ideas and are open to trying them. They are socially connected in the organization and have credibility. They are key to adoption of digital transformation due to credibility and influence.
  2. Executive Stakeholders: It is critical that one of the early adopters is from the executive team. Positional strength besides credibility and influence is must for digital transformation success.

Avoid these

  1. Don’t engage Innovators in this group. They are the ones who are first to embrace the change, are bright, enthusiastic and open to new ideas. Unfortunately they lack social influence and credibility. Their inclusion in this step may lead to quick death of digital transformation.
  2. Avoid late adopters or laggards until you have created few wins.

This post is part of series of post on Digital Transformation.  You can read Step #1 of Digital Transformation at http://rohitprabhakar.com/sense-urgency-digital-transformation/

10 Nov

Leading Digital Transformation (Step 1) Creating Sense of Urgency

Sense of Urgency

“Sense of urgency is not the natural state of affairs. It has to be created and recreated.”
John Kotter from his book “A sense of Urgency”
Leading Digital Transformation at any level requires an ability to create an atmosphere of urgency. An atmosphere that can motivate and keep the team focused on a daily basis. Only in that atmosphere digital transformation becomes an urgent and highly needed change.

Why to create sense of urgency?

Without a sense of urgency, desire loses its value. — Jim Rohn
 
It will spark the initial motivation to get things moving and then keep the momentum going for digital transformation.
 

Who should you work with to create sense of urgency?

Ideally you should work with the top leadership and then it should come from top to bottom. This is only possible if currently a tornado like situation exists in your company.
 
Realistically, you will have to work with early adopters both at your level and some at senior leadership level. These are people who:
  • Trust you and your motives,
  • Willing to understand your vision for digital transformation to some extent,
  • Willing to work with you and
  • Have a good influence inside the organization.
I will talk more about this group in my post next week.
 
Please don’t go overboard and try to convince everybody. Start with creating sense of urgency with few who are critical and important to your digital transformation change.
 
Objections, low trust and demotivation are common to this phase. During this phase I hear things like:
  • Someone already tried this few years ago and they failed. Good luck!
  • This is going nowhere as we have seen similar things many times.
  • This organization will never do it that way.
  • We are already invested in IT and I cannot understand why we need a digital transformation.
Thanks to such advisors as it helps me to identify them as not early adopters.
 

How to establish sense of urgency

(all examples are from digital transformation of marketing use case)
 

Only crises, potential crises or big opportunities can help create a sense of urgency.

 

Identify crises/potential crises and use data to define the threat:

Here are some of the examples that you can focus on:
  • Examine market and competitive realities: Your competitors may already focusing on digital transformation. Best place to get this data is:
  • their job sites,
  • competitive analysis platforms like SimilarWeb,
  • SEO platforms like BrightEdge,
  • conferences where your competitors may be presenting digital insights e.g. MarTech
  • Vendors in your industry as they may be also serving your competitors.
  • Risk of disruption: Do I need to talk on this topic?? A good book on this topic is Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation by James McQuivey
  • Understand and quantify the risk of privacy or legal lawsuits: At large companies organizational and data silos may lead to vulnerability from privacy lawsuits. The case for digital transformation is worth alone just to handle this risk especially if you are in the European Union.
 

Identify major opportunities and define opportunity using the power of data:

The best place for marketing teams is to start with an opportunity assessment of all your digital properties. It is easy and can be achieved in 3-6 months. Tag all your digital properties with same analytics tag so that you can understand:
  • How the traffic flows within and outside your digital ecosystem
  • Type of customers/prospects that frequent your digital ecosystem
  • Identify some high value prospects
  • Identify the associated opportunity if you are able to properly engage them across all digital properties
I have seen this analysis work wonders and can alone help you get the buy in for digital transformation from the top executives.
 
Other sources of data for identifying and defining the opportunity are surveys/voice of customer, cross sell, up sell, cost savings from platform, agency spend etc.
 
Try to focus on opportunities that needs short timeline and has a strong ROI. I will talk more about this when I write about generating short-term wins.
 
This article is Part 1 of the 8 posts that I promised to publish in my recent post:
02 Nov

8 steps to digital transformation

leading-change-and-change-management-1Digital transformation is something I am extremely passionate about and I have the privilege to do it for few great organizations. Digital transformation is less about technology but more about the change that you bring. Change to people, culture of the organization and the processes. The following is a framework that I have been successfully using to bring digital change for many years.

  1. Create a sense of urgency
  2. Build a guiding coalition
  3. Form a strategic vision and initiatives
  4. Enlist a volunteer army
  5. Enable action by removing barriers
  6. Generate short term wins
  7. Sustain acceleration
  8. Institute change

In next 8 weeks I am going to pick each one of them and share my experience as it relates to digital transformation. So stay tuned!

2 years ago I was introduced to John P Kotter’s book on leading change by my mentor who was Mr. Kotter’s student. Since then I have adopted his format as it matches what I have been using and has also given me a better structure. If you like reading books, I will not mind if you skip reading all of the  8 follow-up posts. I highly recommend his book “leading Change”.

Leading Change by John Kotter

leading change by John Kotter

26 Oct

Digital Transformation Strategy

I will not bore you with another post on what is digital transformation or digital transformation strategy. 
“The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing.”
-Douglas Engelbart

Let me help you answer the question: How to build digital transformation strategy?

Digital Transformation

Digital transformation (source: http://cpicon.com/)

One of common perceptions about digital transformation is that it is all about technology. Technology is the biggest enabler but not the only ingredient for digital transformation. Digital transformation brings huge change to people and processes that organization has adopted. Change is the biggest challenge that can derail digital transformation. Digital transformation strategy should ensure enough investment into change management.
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”
– Nathaniel Branden

4 key pillars of digital transformation strategy:

  1. People
  2. Technology
  3. Projects
  4. Processes

People

The first question that needs to be addressed well is how it will impact all stakeholders. Based on the impact build training programs to enable your workforce with skills that are required in the new environment. Ensure that the organization adopts the vision and goals of digital transformation. You may bring in fresh digital talent that can help you strike a balance between knowing your business and knowing digital.
 

Technology

I assume you already understand it well. Few recommendations:
  • Buying technology is not step #1
  • Buy technology once you are sure about condition of success for that technology
  • Your team and stakeholders should have control in selecting technology.

Projects

Before bringing in technology and enabling your workforce, digital transformation strategy should enlist projects that bring digital investment into life. Some of the high level categories that you should definitely focus on are:
  1. Understanding the customer and their journey: Customer journey is no more a vertical funnel. It is complex and convoluted due the digital age, many devices and channels. Better Customer Experience leads to better business conversions.
  2. Increasing conversion: For Marketing it can be creating more revenue or sales enablement, for HR it could be increasing quality resume submissions etc.

Processes

Digital transformation is not only applicable to your customer. Digital transformation should also enable your own workforce by digitizing the processes. This can ensure huge cost savings due to efficiencies, collaboration and reuse. Digital transformation strategy should also promote agile methodologies as it helps improving productive.
02 Sep

Leader, take your vitamins first!

IMG_8359

Today morning life gave me an opportunity to be a better leader. I learnt a lesson from my son that I will always apply to become a better leader. My 7 yr old son has been a very healthy eater since he started eating.  Lately he turned into being a picky eater, not interested in eating kids vitamins and no more love for protein shakes ( being vegetarian, shakes are the biggest source of protein for us).

Something has definitely changed! He used to love taking protein shake for lunch with his food, take his vitamins without being asked and eat almost everything that was cooked in home. Me and my wife had many conversations with him and we used many techniques to put him back into his healthy habits. All convincing has not been working since last 1 year.

Today morning, I was shocked! My son was almost ready to eat his favorite cereal and then he gets up to grab his vitamins without being asked. Day before he asked for a protein shake/smoothie when he returned from school. Since last few days he is no more a picky eater to a good extent. I have been trying to understand what is making him change especially when neither me or my wife have convinced him in last few weeks.

Actually it is me who has changed!

My son has been watching and being influenced by the change I have brought in my life. Since last few weeks I have started exercising daily, taking my vitamins and eating healthy food.  Actually I have been “Walking the walk” or “leading by example” or…… In last few weeks he has seen me drinking protein shakes. When he got up for taking his vitamins he saw me taking my vitamins with my breakfast. Finally I am practicing and not preaching and that is the change.

“An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.” – Mahatma Gandhi

This is how we really influence our teams/organizations/families/society. Knowingly or unknowingly everything we DO (and not say) is what is really replicated. One question that has not left my mind since then, do I lead my team/organization/family/… By walking the walk?

As leaders if we expect accountability we are the ones who should be accountable to our teams first. If we expect an extra effort from our team we are the ones who always have to go an extra mile. If we expect loyalty then we should be the most loyal to our teams, and the list goes on….

I hope you are a leader like that!

“Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others, as what he does from day to day to lead himself.” ~ Thomas J. Watson, Former Chairman of IBM