By Helena M. Herrero Lamuedra
In a world disrupted by new technologies, the change we are witnessing is fundamentally societal. The pace of disruption and the variety of stimuli that humans are exposed to -most of the time generating a level of noise without precedent- is wide, and sometimes ephemeral.
In this environment, leaders are still expected to conduct their organizations to success. And the biggest “aha” moment relies in realizing that the greatest gap to bridge is in their own brain.
When executives, that achieved their reputation -and their wealth- doing things right -that’s why they are where they are- face the crossroad of doing things differently, the first reaction may be paralysis, and the second, rejection. The pain derived from changing “who we are and how we do things” needs to be considered and included: it doesn’t arise because change is wrongly approached, it is the core of the change process -the obstacle and, at the same time, the opportunity.
When leaders are able to connect and give space to their own discomfort with change, they are able to better grasp what is at stake in their organizations -that are, no more and no less, a human collective that needs to face its own journey.
Shifting from a place of “expert” to a place of “learner” is one of the first steps. Easier said than done, this shift implies a revamping of the concept of power. If power if not concentrated at the top of the pyramid and the leader is not the only one holding information and decision, what is the result? Well, the result is called “crowdsourcing”: acknowledging the wisdom of the many to solve extremely complex and multidimensional problems requires leveraging diversity of though, as well as a good dose of conflict as the engine that will question limits and explore the fringes. And ultimately will mobilize the organization to embrace new and different ways of being and doing.
Once leaders get their feet wet in this paradigm, as a domino effect, other things are possible, such as redefining: what are our company’s assets? how we make money? what is needed to convert fixed costs into variable? who is our client and what is her/his purpose? are we ubiquitous enough? are we making decisions in silos, pretending that one person/ team/ department/ organization can solve multi-layered needs? can we partner with our competitors? it’s an integrated ecosystem a more sustainable response to an everchanging reality? what is the skillset and experience we need to produce different results?
There are million things to sort out and, thanks to many front-runners, many tools to leverage in the quest to realizing what is possible. And, last but not least, digital transformation (like any transformation, for that matter) is an inner job!