In The DX, How People Come 1st, Technology 2nd

In the DX, it’s about total focus, getting people started, gathering their belief and building momentum.

It starts with leadership and empathy across the enterprise.

People want to be proud of the company they work for and that means a vision for the future, not a defense/market protection strategy for today!

Technologies & The Future

I love all the technologies, but are we focusing on our customers and where we want to go as a business? And are we using these technologies to enable it?

Are we in the trenches of “today’s customer” or regaling what worked for them 10 or 20 years ago? Are we listening to our customers, to our suppliers and looking to the future competitive landscape, ready to 1st move and lead?

How could we use Augmented & Virtual Reality, IoT, the Digital Twin, 3D Additive Manufacturing, AI and BigData (& even Blockchain) to improve the customer experience and products for the future?

Your people need and want to know the future and that what they do will make a difference in the real world of the consumer.

People Transformation

Employees are the lifeblood of business and yet we often forget what it would be like without them. We forget that even though we have technology for every task, nothing can replace the human touch and heart. And for this reason, people drive the business and therefore digital transformation (DX).

For many years, I operated under a culture and thinking that was customer 1st, employees 2nd and me 3rd, but today in building a successful business, it has to be employees/people 1st and customer 2nd. Leaders must put employees first because people drive the DX. Technology is a critical element, but without the human element, you will quickly realize how technology is merely an enabler and not the core purpose of business and digital transformation. You cannot operate your business nor i4.0 & application technologies without people!

Speed & Agility Is Critical In The 4IR

Today’s world is driven mostly by technological evolution and globalization, and everything is changing faster. So much more is out there today that has to be handled faster or you will lose.

The obvious benefit to working quickly is that you’ll finish more stuff per unit of time. But there’s more to it than that. If you work quickly, the cost of doing something new will feel lower and you’ll be inclined to do more.

Once you’ve learnt speed as a way of living/operating you’ve built a habit; a habit that you can spread across your business/team. A team of people where standards for speed are part of your business MO. The benefits are obvious, but they can’t be overstated. With everyone and everything moving faster, innovation and efficiency go through the roof, blowing back your competition and blowing away your customers.

How We Put People 1st

While we think we understand why our employees are #1, we need to take a look at internal rules, values and processes. As part of our business /digital transformation process, it’s critical to look at these. Are your employees first? Do you really value them over profits or customers?

More Responsibility In The Flat Structure

I have long toiled with this, trying to grasp how it’s ever going to be possible in large enterprise, but at the end of the day it’s about trusting people to wanting to improve fast. You see, to me, there’s not too much that’s life threatening to your business each day. Zero tolerance is a way to fight crime, but not to build a future business.

As a result, you need to trust your employees with more responsibility. Employees that feel empowered to make their own decisions are empowered to deliver. Make them part of the i4.0 and Product Innovation shift. This isn’t just a digital initiative, it’s really the way to shape change in an organization because when employees feel part of the change, they are more likely to embrace it and spread the word. Give your employees more responsibility in the flat structure and you’ll see innovation results.

Twenty-five years ago, the great business strategist, Peter Drucker, described innovation as “…the specific instrument of entrepreneurship… the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” For many, innovation can mean optimizing innovation with great new ideas, and for others the idea may already exist with the potential to be improved into the next big thing. But without a collective innovation mentality, these ideas will struggle to come to reality in any organization.

Innovation Is About People

Within the raging torrent of technological change, we often forget that while our futures are in tech, our greater futures require the transcendence of it. The opportunities are today and tomorrow in the human elements of innovation and our creativity, intuition, imagination, emotions and ethics. In other words, the primal emotions that drive innovation and creativity, such as curiosity, thirst for knowledge, understanding …and the desire for meaning. That emotional connection to the customer sits at the heart, to create an experience like no other.

Open Door In The Flat Structure

People are all different and each one needs different timelines to change, to make it a habit! Technology is frequently introduced as a different communication channel and that’s inevitable. But not everyone can read a message and get it. Use video, voice and written communications to reach everyone. Leave your door open and listen.

Business & Digital Transformation 4.0 is technology enabled, but people led!

Product Transformation Momentum

It’s a human principle called the “Progress Principle”. It’s about making progress with meaningful work and that meaning is defined from great leaders! The more frequently your people can experience a sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creative in the long run.

A positive inner work life (mix of emotions, motivations and perceptions experienced over the course of a work day), characterized by these qualities, is fundamental in enabling higher levels of achievement, commitment and even collaboration. When you look at a positive work day or period and review the moments that shaped your perception, it was meaningful progress (however large or small) made by the individual or team that was the key factor.

Setbacks against progress created a negative inner work life. Surrounding these were ‘catalysts’ (those actions that directly support work) and ‘nourishers’ (including encouragement, respect or recognition) that contributed towards positive emotions. ‘Inhibitors’ (things that negate progress), and ‘toxins’ (things that discourage or undermine) had the opposite effect.

Agile working is designed around tangible, visible progress. Releasing early and often. Tracking speed against goals. Re-prioritising based on learning.

Building momentum is the recipe for success.

As I look around me, it’s amazing to see how every area of every business is being disrupted, be that products, people, organizational structures and operations.

No matter where you look the ground is shifting and it’s amazing to be alive when it’s all happening.

See you next week