There is a lot of talks these days about digital transformation, unfortunately I feel no real sense of emergency inside companies. But this sense of urgency is required to create momentum and provide the impetus.
Do not confuse long time and take its time
As I often write, digital transformation is a marathon and not a hundred meters race, although the difference is that one is in a continuous process. It takes time, of course, but that does not mean take its time either, it’s not synonymous. In the fable of the hare and the tortoise, the hare may well run very fast it does not catch the tortoise that finished up winning the race. Leading to the adage « to run is nothing; we must timely start. »
Once again digital change a little bit the way it works usualy. These time, turtles are losing the race. In fact, traditional businesses are still not started or just beginning. For their part, the hares timely start. These are pure players that lead the game.
So, the new adage would rather be « we must timely start and know how to run very fast as well. » Last month, I was a speaker at a ceremony for the most digital HR price, organized by the national association of HR (excellent initiative to educate a population not really leader on this topic) and situations depicted by many stakeholders, let me think that the turtles just begin to start and in addition they are far from being hares.
The slowness was even claimed by many. The subject of digital transformation is complex, it is true. Therefore, companies think they have to plan, manage, prepare … and it takes time before launching. Now we are in a world where it is increasingly impossible to control everything and plan. The change is faster and permanent. Otherwise while they adapt, others will already win, and I don’t speak only of external competitors, but getting the internal leadership inside companies as well for this type of project. Which can be planned has often a less strategic value, HR should focus more on issues with high added value where its expertise is paramount.
Apply the « think big, start small, move fast »
Yes it’s a complex topic, and it does not mean doing nonsense, but we will have to force them to leave the « command and control » approach, to let go in a process of « test and learn » through continuous improvement. And in its logic, a room for error inherent of the digital culture. Sometimes it goes beyond the « test and learn » to « fail and learn. » Companies must understand that time is against them. Get it wrong is not a problem, if you react quickly. The worst thing is not to take decision and stagnate. Companies must think big (it’s not always the case, or only in speech) and start small (which is often the case). But above all, they must move quickly and here, we are way off the mark. The new fable of the hare and the tortoise is still current.
It’s very good to think, but not too much, because as said so well a french famous director Audiard, « a seated intellectual goes less far than a walking prick ».