Digital Transformation & Dieting, Part 1


More companies die from over-eating than from starvation – Dave Packard

David Packard

The great Dave knew a thing or two about management. Doing too much remains a common failure in Digital Transformation. “Just one more…” seems to be an almost irresistible compulsion.

And what’s the result?

Obese, lumbering Digital Transformation strategies with little hope of success. Organizations approaching diabetic coma, and alienated team members.

“One more thing? Sure, just add it to the pile!”

Or, “Okay, you pretend to give us a reasonable strategy, and we’ll pretend to do it.”

Why do otherwise smart, capable leaders behave this way?

In part, it’s a buffering effect. “We don’t really know what’s happening, so we’ll keep pressing buttons. Something is bound to work!”

Another cause is the all-too-common ignorance of the laws of Production Physics, and especially the Law of Utilization. Any asset loaded above 80% experiences exponentially increase in cycle times. In other words, your innovation pipeline turns to cement.  (More on Production Physics in future blogs.)

Yet another cause is a lack of understanding of the most important word in strategy – no

So what are the countermeasures?

A Digital Transformation Lighthouse would be an excellent first step. Our Lighthouse is our command centre, mission control, and control tower. It’s a big room whose walls tell our transformation story using simple visual tools. And an essential Lighthouse element if an Innovation Pipeline making our innovation portfolio, capacity, and utilization rates visible. Lighthouse governance comprises regular stand up meetings wherein the senior team ‘sees, knows, and acts’ together. (More on the Lighthouse and related processes in future blogs.)

Another helpful countermeasure is to retain a ‘Digital Sherpa’ – someone who has been up the mountain and knows the journey, risks, and keys to success. Your Sherpa’s guidance helps you avoid unnecessary hardship and disappointment.

Executive coaching is yet another countermeasure. Senior leaders thereby develop digital literacy and a sound Digital Strategy development process. A good coach will help you ‘get out of the building’ and go to the places where value is created – both within and outside of your organization.

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