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Let’s Get Digital?

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January 7, 2020

Ok, so maybe this week’s topic is just a play-on-words style tribute to the 80s classic:

Chief among the top business leadership resolutions for 2020 is to increase productivity through automation.  We’ve all heard horror stories about AI assistants gone wrong (ok, perhaps it’s just me!) and the caution against entering the land of digital transformation without a seasoned guide.  (seriously, it’s like climbing Mount Everest).

Yet, this week in an apropos start to the new year and new decade, we’re thinking about what it means to be both productive and profitable by leveraging digital technology improvements. 

McKinsey recently evaluated the key contributing factors to a digital transformation finding that the highest performing group of “digitized incumbents earns as much as 80 percent of the digital revenues generated in their industries.

Achieving this breakaway status is no easy task.   Research reveals organizations have a 1 in 10 chance of exceeding profitability targets, absent the following top five implementation practices, which increase the likelihood to 50%.

It seems to me, however, that these tactics have application beyond your organization’s digital transformation strategy.  Indeed, this punch-list  is surefire way to achieve success in your personal or professional goals in 2020:

Invest in Talent  & Empower People:  Though startup failure rates continue to rise, the life expectancy for your organizations is greater than the time horizon than a single employee, particularly if you fail to make intentional investments in your people. 

Your assessment of the need to expand or contract your team is directly related to the growth or impact priorities  set for the organization.  Excess capacity can lead to stagnancy and underutilization of core talent.  Conversely, high performing teams are also subject to burnout and being spread to thin.   Which roles do you need to adjust or fill this year? Why? 

Building the right team is both an art and science.  Both require identify talent that not only possesses the skill set, experience and executive function for the necessary roles within your organization, but also demonstrates alignment with the culture and values

Commit Time and Money:  This practice all boils down to one word: investment.  How much time and money have you allocated to ensure success of your 2020 endeavors? Consider adding to your 2020 budget and operational plan line items for the people and expenditures necessary to execute on your strategy for this year.  

Insights from Google’s 20% project time policy offers cogent advice on why in this equation time is equally as valuable as dollars and cents:  First, cross-functional collaboration requires additional coordinating energy (and transformative goals require a diversity of perspectives and skill sets). Secondly, the transition from idea to innovative solution requires intentional and extra effort to shift internal attitudes, behaviours and processes. 

Set Clear Priorities & Embrace Agility:  Do you have a annual framework or operational plan for 2020?  Better yet, even a flowchart?  Taking the time to identify a limited number of strategic priorities for this year will save you time, energy and heartache come Q2, Q3 or Q4.  These priorities or focus points serve as your barometer against which to measure the opportunities that arise. 

Think about it, do you want your organization to be a “Jack of all trades, master of none”? If not, then start 2020 off on the right foot by setting a clear focus point for the year and checking in to recalibrate on a quarterly, monthly or periodic basis is the difference between meeting, exceeding or failing to achieve your goals.


Leigh-Ann / Venture Cafe Miami

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