‘Go ’til I say Stop!” – the 8th tip.
We’ve passed the period when CEOs are questioning the value of a digital team. But how do you integrate such a foreign phenomenom into the organisation?
There’s a very good article by McKinsey & Co (‘The seven traits of effective digital enterprises’) on the next stage of the revolution. The point here is that the internet has forced us to change the way we think; not just about customers, but all relationships.
McKinsey & Co identifies ‘The 7 habits of highly effective digital enterprises’:
- Be unreasonably aspirational – “…if your targets aren’t making the majority of your company feel nervous, you probably aren’t aiming high enough.”
- Acquire capabilities – “…lateral hiring is required in the early stages of a transformation to create a pool of talent…”
- ‘Ring fence’ and cultivate talent – “Digital talent must be nurtured differently…”
- Challenge everything – “Think of Apple’s transformation from struggling computer maker into (among other things) the world’s largest music retailer…”
- Be quick and data driven – “Twelve-month product-release cycles are a relic. Organizations need to move to a cycle of continuous delivery and improvement…”
- Follow the money – “…more than just finding new revenue streams; it’s also about creating value by reducing the costs of doing business.”
- Be obsessed with the customer – “This mind-set is what enables companies to go beyond what’s normal and into the extraordinary.”
The 8th, I think, is:
‘Go ‘til I say Stop’, don’t ‘Stop ‘til I say go’
‘Go ‘til I say stop’ grants freedom to practitioners to try what hasn’t been tried before, ethically, legally, prudentially, collegiately. What leaders must do is impose boundaries as we progress, not before we start. I guess it’s a bit like driving a car at night; we don’t know what’s ahead but let’s stay within some white lines as we navigate the next bend.
Gone are the days of the old Position Description stipulating what is required in a job – ‘Stop ’til I say Go’. This is a change in management behaviour. We don’t know where the digital revolution is taking us, so how can we say ‘Stop ’til we say Go’ when we don’t really know where we are heading.
Besides, we expect our digital team to have much more awareness of the potential of social and digital tools than anyone else in the office, especially as the required expertise to stay relevant and up-tp-daye changes weekly.
We’re not proposing silly freedoms. We’re providing constructive boundaries on ‘what not to do’.
This means a Position Description becomes shorter, but harder to write. And it will tend to evolve as we go.
Food for thought?