This is the digital age and all businesses have a digital strategy. As always some choose to lead while others are content to follow. Sounds like a classic game of strategy except it isn’t. Not anymore. Turning digital is like crossing the ocean instead of your backyard pool. Yes there’s a boat and you are on water, but most would not make it over the ocean. There is a simple reason for that, but before we get to that let’s set the stage.
The most essential difference of classic strategy and digital strategy is the speed and force of change. In the digital age classic business strategy is known as hypotheses and assumptions whereas digital strategy is being continuously shaped and sharpened by action, testing, rework and continuous improvement in the hands of the crew using real time data.
In the digital age all businesses are ventures operating in foggy waters. Success hangs on the ability to find and process relevant data and base decisions on facts instead of fiction. You can try to control data but you can never have data control you. Much like sailing, business is still a contact sport and so it’s not the data but how you react to it that matters.
Guess what, on top of having poor sight you’re having to navigate rocky waters. Will you choose a cruise ship or a fleet of speed boats? Digital strategy is driven by learning and not every boat is intended to make it over. If you choose to navigate a cruise ship one small rock might end many years of work and result in negative pay back.
Everything boils down to your team and whether it’s you steering a cruise ship or teams in a speed boat engaged hands-on. You can’t put a ship crew in a speed boat and expect it to work either. Digital strategy requires a people strategy that defines skills, culture and methods for co-working.
Why is it then that most companies fail with their digital strategy? Because despite all your best intentions, learning is still slow and linear instead of fast and iterative. Fast and iterative requires a culture built on co-working not management.
Ps. Want to learn how pioneers of work culture proof their digital strategy? Register for Tomorrow People & Culture Summit to access online community and event.