Digital transformation was a phrase on everyone’s tongue in 2019. The pandemic soon replaced it with work from home, remote work and hybrid work. As we begin to emerge and look back, we see some organizations that flourished during the pandemic and some that did not. Many of those that did flourish have embraced digital transformation as a model for their businesses. This approach is causing organizations to rethink their strategies and embrace digital transformation as a way to not only be more resilient in the future but also to flourish.
What the companies that flourished know is that digital transformation has very little to do with technology and everything to do with you and your leadership. To be successful in the pandemic era and beyond, our businesses need different skills today and will demand these skills in the future.
Start With Journaling
Throughout history, leaders kept journals. Presidents such as John Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama kept journals. Business leaders such as Rockefeller and Branson use journals. Marie Curie tracked many of her days in a journal.
Why do so many great leaders of the past and present journal? The benefits are numerous. Journaling improves your decision-making, sharpens your clarity, reduces stress, improves resilience and provides evergreen lessons.
Form A Team Of Leaders
As a leader of a digital transformation, having a team of leaders will be essential to your success. It begins with having a strong vision of where you are going and self-awareness of your strengths and weaknesses. Then, you must have the ability to identify team members that have complementary skills to paint a picture of your vision so vivid that the members can see themselves in that vision.
As you are building your team, pay particular attention to their soft skills. These skills are essential for leaders throughout your organization. Not only must you master these skills, but you need to develop and build them throughout your team. We must build the skills of business acumen, customer focus, design thinking, systems thinking and critical thinking.
Build An Ecosystem
As you proceed on your transformation journey, you will need alliances and partnerships in order to realize your vision. The digital era requires a fresh look at vendors and partnerships. Gone are the days when we could keep our vendors at arm’s length and maintain a purely transactional relationship.
The nature of digital transformation will require quick pivots, innovation, new technologies and a customer focus. Our teams will not be able to keep pace on their own. We will need partnerships that can pivot with us. We will need new partners to help us innovate and bring us new technologies. And we will need partners that know and understand our customers. Essentially, we will need an ecosystem of partners that will be fluid — always growing and changing.
As leaders today, we are faced with incredibly complex problems. To solve them, we must have a diversity of thought, experience and culture. We must have teams that are diverse, emphasizing a culture of equity and an environment that is inclusive.
As humans develop the algorithms embedded in technology, our own biases creep into the code, datasets and, ultimately, outcomes. One of the best ways to combat this bias in your technology stack is to have diverse teams that are inclusive. Everyone has a voice. Everyone reviews the data. Everyone has a perspective that is taken into consideration when building, training and auditing the models.
Our journey of digital transformation is filled with uncertainty. We can take shelter in the status quo (and, ultimately, fail), or we can use these lessons to lead our teams and our companies into the uncertain future. We can shape and create the future through journaling, forming a team of leaders, leveraging the power of an ecosystem and instilling diversity of thought, experience and culture in our organizations.
This article was originally published on Forbes.
Jeff is the author of Amplify Your Value – Leading IT with Strategic Vision (2018) and Amplify Your Job Search – Strategies for Finding Your Dream Job (2020).
He is a sought-after speaker, author and thought leader, having led powerful teams and built successful Information Technology departments for over 30 years. Jeff’s mission is to change the face of IT, saying, “Businesses today are demanding more from their technology and their technology leaders.”
He serves on numerous boards and advisory councils including Forbes Technology Council, Indy CIO Network, and Connected World Magazine Board of Advisors. He is a fellow with the Institute of Digital Transformation.
Meet Jeff and learn more at www.JeffreySTon.com.