How to Survive the Analog-to-Digital Transition (Part 1): Letting Go & Gathering Feedback
Forcing digital solutions into analog processes is like pounding a round peg into a square hole. Lots of effort, sweat, blood and money often with disappointing results.
A heavy topic that I will try to simplify. I have concluded in life there are two kinds of people. Those who like and those who hate roller coasters. Why? Because roller coasters provide scary and uncertain rapid changes in elevations, speed, direction, with unanticipated curves that either make you queasy or thrill the dickens out of you. Change is scary! Gird your loins as the digital transformation roller coaster ride begins.
Analog processes are developed over a company’s lifetime and are often described in statements like, “This is how we do it at our company; We have always done it this way; It has worked for us in the past, so why change now?” Because customers and competitors have changed the rules. Often, older analog processes that are broken get new “digital–lite” bandages that hide systemic efficiency issues with a fresh coat of technology paint. So, is analog thinking dead?
Nope. People are analog, not digital by nature. How effectively a digital transformation project is implemented depends on people, not software. So why should you take a hard look at digital transformation today?
Yesterday’s pandemic was a great teacher to astute security business students. “This is the way we have always done it…” went right out the window, and in a hurry. This left those businesses that survived the wake-up call of their teams no longer in the same building, and often not having face-to-face access to their customers, with the need for digital review and approval, and facility information dramatically increased.
Digital transformation enables us to work faster, smarter, and more accurately and efficiently. Forcing digital solutions into analog processes is like pounding a round peg into a square hole. Lots of effort, sweat, blood and money often with disappointing results. Need a silver bullet?
In working with our clients over the last 24 years, we discovered one silver bullet. We recommend starting with the basics of rebuilding strong team communications that drive teamwork. Digital transformation will impact your entire company for the better. The business outcomes include higher profitability and more loyal customers. The process involves five steps that can be accomplished within four-six months.
Step 1: “Letting go of the vine,” as suggested by the Traction EOS process author, Gino Wickman, is the first big step for owners and senior management. Fear of change will make letting go of the vine much harder. My advice … rein in your fear to see the possibilities and opportunities digital transformation can deliver.
Suggestion: Gather your team and ask some questions to begin the transformation process with brainstorming. Here are some questions we use with clients.
- Has our market dynamics changed from a customer buying perspective? How?
- Did the 2020 pandemic change what our customers expect from us? How?
- Do we have systemic delivery issues that needlessly waste our time and reduce profits?
- Do our traditional processes enable/motivate or discourage our team? Our customers?
- Will our current business model and technologies attract or repel new talent hires?
Step 2: Gather and digest their feedback to understand if change is necessary to thrive vs. survive.
Survival is your fate using analog methodology. Over time, it will result in a slow descent in business revenues, increased costs and diminished profitability. Thriving will require migrating to faster, more accurate and more profitable processes that digital transformation delivers. Once you have greater team awareness, and build team consensus and clarity, it’s time to act. Procrastination is the assassin of opportunity!
Suggestion: Review your manual analog processes with some good old fashion analog team engagement. Adopt a simple but effective communication process that provides some ground rules. We use the “6 C’s of Communication method.” Ask the teams to define the various steps in their work (sales, ops, service, support). Their insights and suggestions will surprise you, trust me. Then, ask them if they had a blank sheet of paper, how would they redesign their workflows?
According to research shared by 3M, 65% of the general population are visual learners. Did you know that visual aids have been found to improve learning by up to 400%? Did you realize that we can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text? Would you guess that the average person only remembers about a fifth of what they hear? How can you leverage these statistics?
We help clients by facilitating graphical mapping of their analog processes as teams. This allows everyone to quickly learn where digital transformation can improve your business processes! Next month I will provide other helpful steps to evolve your business and engage your team.
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