To lead digital transformation in your organization, you need a new way of thinking, a new way forward. And what better way to learn a new way forward than by examining the past?
That is precisely what you’ll do at The Lewis and Clark Experience: A New Way Forward from FCCS. With Lewis and Clark and their Corps of Discovery’s epic journey across the continent as a backdrop, participants take an inspiring journey of leadership growth.
It’s surprising what can be learned about Digital Transformation from the Lewis and Clark expedition more than two centuries ago. The digital leadership team from one of the largest insurance companies in the world recently completed the program and had several “ah-ha” moments, saying, “We are ready for a ‘new way forward!’” and “Thank you for creating a space for us to grow.”
The in-person Lewis & Clark Experience takes place in the scenic Columbia River Gorge at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington. Attendees participate in classroom lectures, peer discussions, individual and team activities, and outdoor challenges. Outdoor activities include hiking, an aerial park adventure, and campfire discussions.
Throughout the program, participants explore five elements instrumental to digital transformation success: Creating a Powerful Vision, Building a Team, Overcoming Obstacles, Developing Resilience, and Proceeding On in the face of burnout and distraction.
Creating a Powerful Vision
To lead the type of change necessary to transform your business into a digital organization takes visionary leadership. What makes a leader visionary? People often call someone a visionary leader only after accomplishing the seemingly impossible. Seizing the opportunity in the face of uncertainty is one aspect of visionary leadership. We discuss several other parts of it in the course.
Your vision needs to be powerful. It must align with your values and define all the opportunities and obstacles. It also must inspire your team to act when confronted with an unknown obstacle or opportunity.
As a leader, you must give others ownership of your vision and align it with their values. Yes, you may be side-by-side with them, but you cannot realize your vision alone. A vision without people realizing it is just a dream.
Building a Team
There are mountains of books about team building but think about the team it took to navigate 4,000 miles of wilderness and return. Lewis and Clark can teach a lot about creating a solid and effective team. It begins with hiring for skill and character and knowing when to hire for character and train for skill.
Consider initiating an employee development plan from Day One to put your new hires on an immediate path to success. Lewis and Clark began training the expedition members to build forts, improve their marksmanship and tracking skills, and repeatedly load and unload the boats to gain efficiency.
Just as important as initiating training from the first day on the job is defining clear expectations for how you want the job done to build a culture of accountability. Accountability begins with holding yourself to those expectations and team norms.
You may not be on an expedition across the continent, but you’ll still encounter known and unknown obstacles on your journey to transformation. Overcoming these challenges is vital to your success.
Coincidentally, the keys to overcoming obstacles in the wilderness are also the keys to overcoming barriers to your transformation. You and your team must be prepared. You should gather as much information as you can from a diverse set of perspectives. And finally, develop a culture of trust to help when you encounter unexpected challenges. You need to trust your team. Your team needs to trust you. And your team members need to trust each other.
Sometimes on your digital transformation journey, you’ll get knocked down. How you bounce back can make the difference between success and failure. You must have deep personal resilience to develop a path forward when facing a challenge. Draw inspiration from recalling how you’ve overcome past adversities.
Each team member will also need resilience, and they need resilience as a team when confronted with a challenge. They should plan a way to move forward rather than stop and wait for you – that kind of hesitation could be costly.
Digital Transformation can be challenging, and you and your team may face burnout. At times you may become distracted and lose sight of your vision. How do you maintain focus and keep your vision front and center?
At the Lewis & Clark Experience, cohorts of both emerging and seasoned leaders explore routines other business leaders use to ensure their vision is fulfilled, as well as learn the critical elements of successfully building and leading a team into an unknown future.
The Lewis & Clark Experience is part of the catalog of leadership development opportunities from the Accelerate Center powered by FCCS. FCCS provides a wide range of professional services and programs to support clients in managing their risks and accelerating their team’s growth and success.
The next Lewis & Clark Experience cohort will be September 20 – 22, 2022 in Skamania, Washington. To learn more and to register, visit The Lewis & Clark Experience.
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.
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