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If you snooze, you lose! Accelerated adaption to Digital Transformation is required!

By Vegard Rooth– Managing Director, InterimLeder – Norway

Businesses wanting to stay in front and keep up the pace in digital transformation are required to move fast. Change and adaptability is imperative, possibly the most important, to pave the future. Those quickly adapting, win!

“Remember that change process we undertook in 1990? Those were the days!”. 

Not anymore. Times when businesses were done with change processes are gone. Technology, digitalisation and disruption is now. Digital transformation has no boundaries. Robots build cars and perform surgery. Driverless cars are trialed and have the green light. The majority, if not most, of our lives are controlled from a cloud (or a mobile device). Where we purchase and how we use the goods and its services tomorrow, are completely unknown today.

Digital transformation is happening brutally fast – what is new and revolutionary somewhere in the world yesterday, is possibly already outdated by competition tomorrow, or today for that matter. Digital innovation is happening at the speed of light (at least it feels like it) and business models are being challenged by what is termed as Digital Disruption. This riveting development not only requires rapid change and adaption of businesses, it demands cutting-edge innovation across competing technology companies. Digital disruptionhits hard on other sectors that may not be well prepared.

When will this reach my sector?

The question is somewhat outdated already!

When will digital disruption and paradigm shift to your industry and your business? Are you prepared? Do you have the right people to cope with changes, including the correct management in place? Is there enough drive and tenacity among the management and on the companys´ board to set new speed when needed?

I think it is important to raise your gaze and be prepared that “more sooner than later” digital disruption will be on your doorstep, almost no matter where you work. It can also be a good idea to have a plan for how you are going to meet the changes.

Quick adaption is a “must”

Adaptability is critical for survival in this digital age. Some manage it – others don´t. From 2000 to 2014 half the companies on the Fortune 500 list disappeared! Perhaps this is not so strange: Big businesses have a larger ship to turn around, and when change is not happening fast enough or in the right direction, they become abruptly irrelevant.

Kodak is perhaps the most famous for many examples so far, of their inability to seriously see the need for digital transition. The “digital giant”, Nokia, lost the market because they were not fast enough with their adaptability to digital innovation.

I personally remember the resistance we met in SAS when introducing automatic check-in at Gardermoen. Now we are seeing staff-free border control in countries like Australia!

Development comes by putting yourself at the forefront, instead of sitting on the fence or even trying to stop it.

First to the future

Willi Railo wrote a book with a good title «Først til fremtiden», translated to “First to the future”. It has always been a favorite of mine. The future is created, by the one that gets there first! The rest follows more or less voluntarily thereafter – until death.

It´s the mentality in this picture which, in my opinion, is important when realigning a business quickly enough to survive. Making change, and an arena for thought change, a usual activity of your business. Never stop ideas with “but we have already tried this” mentality. Encourage innovation by those who dare to speak out and think outside of the box!

I’m not saying it’s easy. Ideas and new thoughts can also be a challenge. It takes time to rethink things we are already doing, right?

Common goals within personal and leadership

What does it take to “create the future”? My advice is: good insight in current and future skills needed in your own organization, dynamic movement in the existing expertise, along with a proactive culture (“how we do it here”).

Good management is essential to create the confidence that is needed in times of restructuring. Managers who have been in battle before, know how to deal with it. Don’t be afraid to replace a distance runner with a shot putter, if it’s a shot putter you need. Dare to acknowledge who is good for what is required and use the strength of another in their area of expertise.

In conclusion, I will venture to create a formula:

Dynamic management = Dynamic company = business survival skills and safe jobs (albeit new).

Darwin is right… The most adaptable survive!

vegard.rooth@interimleder.no
Tel:   +47 23 38 38 70
Mob: +47 974 94 789
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