It’s Not Easy, Just Imperative
“In a new McKinsey Global Survey on digital transformations, more than eight in ten respondents say their organizations have undertaken such efforts in the last five years.”
“Only 16 percent of respondents say their organizations’ digital transformations have successfully improved performance and also equipped them to sustain change in the long term.”
—McKinsey & Company, “Unlocking Success in Digital Transformations,” October 2018
As noted in the 2018 McKinsey article, even digitally savvy industries have only a 26 percent success rate, versus a success rate of 4 to 11 percent for traditional industries. We will never say such a transition is easy; the McKinsey data and our personal experience agree that it’s not. The changes outlined in this book cover the gamut from measuring success, to leadership style, to capability building, to investment strategies. You will find different practices or ideas to plug into your organization’s approach to transforming. But in some way or another, your efforts need to cover all the bases we’ve mentioned—from how teams work to make collaborative decisions to embracing technology. So it’s hard. What other choice do you have?
There is a telling phrase in the second quote from the McKinsey article: “and also equipped them to sustain change in the long term.” Only 16 percent of the respondents to McKinsey’s survey reported success at improving performance and sustaining it. Another 7 percent improved performance, but could not sustain it. One key question addressed in this book is “How can we adapt fast enough?”—a question that is related to sustainability. Fast enough isn’t a one-time goal, but one that continues into the future. Transformation is not a one-shot deal as many organizational changes are—it will be a continuing process of evolution. Sustainability makes the transformation process even harder.
From the very outset, the agile movement was about mindset much more than practices. The same is true for EDGE. For example, Chapter 4, Building a Value-Driven Portfolio, is about building a Lean Value Tree and developing Measures of Success. Similar practices to these have been used by managers for many years. However, building these artifacts using a particular mindset—one that thinks of customer value first, that values short iterations and quick feedback, that is more comfortable with evolving rather than planning solutions, that revels in being part of an autonomous team—makes a huge difference in how these practices are implemented. In turn, a key goal of this book is to provide you with a contextual framework to not only adopt for yourself but also to use to help change the mindset of your colleagues. If you don’t change your mindset, none of these practices will help achieve the digital transformation you seek.