Leadership's Crucial Role in Digital Transformation
Digital Transformation in Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) is challenging. Leadership is the catalyst for this critical initiative. Leadership for digital transformation needs to be SMART, given the limited resources, budgets, and timelines available to typical SMBs. I have amplified this in my previous blog. Working with SMBs over the last few years, I have seen some very successful initiatives and several not-so-successful ones too.
Here are the crucial ingredients for a successful initiative, which Executive Leadership in an SMB needs to leverage:
Strategic: Digital transformation can positively impact all aspects of an organization, so picking the right candidates is critical. Typical consideration will be accretive from revenue and cost-reducing initiatives. But prioritization is key with a clear view of strategic imperatives as opposed to the 'pet project' approach.
Measurable: For competing initiatives that meet the strategic goals, the projects that have the greatest measurable impact on business. Using specific measures like Return On Investment, Internal Rate of Return and Total Cost of Ownership Reduction creates objectivity-based buy-in across the board.
Agile: Using the Agile methodology of execution with a quick-to-fail approach is key - when the rubber meets the road, sometimes perfectly planned strategic initiatives can be hard to execute and results may slip in the wrong direction. The agile approach will keep the momentum, deliver quick business results or failures that will allow pivoting to the next in line initiatives. SMBs especially cannot afford the "keep trying till you succeed" approach!
Repeatable: Building a repeatable process framework for the selection and execution of the Digital Roadmap is key. This is how an organization can gain momentum and confidence as opposed to a cowboy approach.
Teamwork: The most critical aspect is Teamwork, which determines the success of the transformation initiative. I have seen many initiatives start and land well in a Phase I form, but soon lose steam due to the exit of a key leader, as the rest of the team was not bought in. Team spirit and ownership are absolutely the difference between realizing success in digital transformation.
In the next set of blogs, I will collaborate with customers past and present to bring out examples of the SMART framework with case studies. Please provide your feedback and suggestions to my blogs - your participation will keep our conversation real! Thanks in advance.