Get in Shape for your Digital Transformation

By Moray Hickes

Einstein said, “If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” It’s one of my favourite quotes, obviously meant to be taken with a grain of salt but I love the sentiment. I work in sales and if I can’t explain something to an exec in a short elevator pitch, then I’ve failed.

Fitness & Digital Transformation

I come up with a lot of my thoughts while on the treadmill and I realized something — Digital Transformation for organizations is a lot like getting fit and making healthy lifestyle changes. As people we’re constantly transforming and being shaped by our experiences, our environment and the general economics and experiences of life. Similar to digital transformation, you need to be open to the idea of change and evolving your routine to stay on top, progress is slow and measured but requires commitment and persistence.

Some people decide to go drastic and get cosmetic surgery, although often impressive it’s also completely unsustainable. I’d equate this with transformation through acquisition. Rather than learning how agile software development and culture works, companies acquire an agile company and integrate them into their organization. This form of transformation could have excellent results — if done right — but more often than not, the acquired organization assimilates to the culture of the parent company, rather than the opposite.

Reaching Sustainable Transformation

Fitness, similar to digital transformation, requires dedication and perseverance. There are so many fad diets and workout routines available that it’s confusing to the untrained or inexperienced eye. Many companies reach a state of Agile transformation differently. You have to understand your body or company inside and out in order to genuinely and sustainably incite achievable and long-term change.

For example, understanding your body type is like knowing your company type. How old is it? What industry is it in? Where’s it located? Your metabolism relates to how quickly and efficiently you get sh*t done. Your diet is similar to who/how you hire. Cardiovascular health equates to cash flow, liquidity, internal processes and bottlenecks. If you over exhaust by going too fast, you could suffer a heart attack.

There are just as many types of people as there are companies, but for the general population, it’s important to critically evaluate the ‘current state’ of your body from the start. Be honest with yourself. How unfit or behind are you versus what you tell people? What are your goals? Not everyone needs to be an olympic athlete.

As you get into a routine and start to progress you’ll discover what works and what doesn’t. As you get in shape, some processes or practices are no longer good enough or yield the same value as they once did. As you become more fit, so will the complexity or your regime (as in business), and it’ll require some expertise to assess what should stay or go, and always be ready to pivot or ‘change it up’.

While we burn off the corporate love handles of the enterprise it’s important to remember to build upon our strengths. Sure transformation is technically about change but it’s really about making long term healthy choices for your company, not being complacent and becoming stagnant.

About the author

Moray Hickes is a Client Principal at TribalScale.

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