One of the Greatest Difficulties in Driving Digital Growth

Manage digital growth actively - every single day.

One of the greatest difficulties in driving digital growth is consistency. Your daily business must be geared towards digital growth for the long term. This is particularly challenging for managers and employees from traditional industries.

Consistency may not sound like a ground-breaking concept. But in eight out of ten cases, a lack of it hampers growth.

My discussions with CEOs and executives have shown me that many struggle to adjust their daily business activities to a digital world.

The task of planning and implementing measures to advance digital growth is often perceived as a burden.

The result:

Digitalization projects that get off to a good start tend to stall after a few weeks. The temptation of familiar patterns of thought and behavior is simply too big.

This is not necessarily an issue of laziness. The familiar is simply more comfortable and easier to trust. It is one of the few remaining analog invariables in our new, fast, digital world.

CEOs and managers need to understand: if you do not set an example “from above”, you will have a hard time conveying new methods to your employees.

Unfortunately, many think of digital transformation programs in terms of final states rather than ongoing processes.

In other words

When a …

  • digitally controlled machine has been installed,
  • seminar about digitalization has been completed,
  • new website has been launched,
  • social-media profile has been set up,

the digital transformation of the company is considered done.

In a few individual cases, this might work. But it seems unwise to rely on it for the development of new markets and the future of entire companies.

Go beyond your daily business routine

How can you consistently prime your daily business for sustainable digital growth?

First step: dismantle typical patterns of thought and behavior. Platitudes must not come between your company and its digital future. Do away with thoughts along the lines of: “We sell machines, not software.” Or: “We need to take care of business first.” Success in our digital world depends on agility and continuity. You need to put these attitudes into practice. “Since yesterday” is better than “from tomorrow.”

Second step: make your daily business more agile and focus on value creation. This applies to all units of your company. It is the task of each individual employee, from CEOs down to trainees. Take product development as an example. Teams with “digital DNA” do not develop their products and services in isolation, tucked away in their ivory tower. They integrate (potential) clients into the developmental process at an early stage, using digital platforms. Digital tools are an integral component of their workflows. They help them take maximal advantage of their development budgets and achieve excellent results.

Third step: measure, measure, measure. Measure the implementation of your digital strategy. Measure the success of your operative steps. I am not just talking about individual KPIs, such as faster production times, website traffic or lead generation numbers. I am talking about a holistic view of the digital business scenario: what is the actual proportion of your value creation activities and their impact on the business model? You can manage digital growth sustainably during your day-to-day business if you incorporate it into your company’s balance score card.

Fourth step: view digital growth as an ongoing process. Not as a state. Traditional organizations that understand this key characteristic of successful digital companies and implement it well achieve continuous improvement. They use the Lean Startup methodology – PLAN, BUILD, MEASURE, LEARN, OPTIMIZE – to get the most out of the data they collect. They optimize their processes for efficiency and make their products marketable faster. This agility is immediately reflected in the performance of their company and its employees. Both in the long term and in their day-to-day business.

Companies that face these challenges head on can be extremely successful in the digital world. Their most important task is to manage digital growth actively – every single day.

Cover image: SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock.com

Mike Flache

Mike Flache

Mike Flache is an entrepreneur and angel investor. Together with talented teams, he builds digital businesses worldwide. As a recognized thought leader, Mike collaborates with Fortune 500 companies, startups, and institutions. The analysts of Onalytica named him as one of the top-10 global influencers in the field of digital transformation.

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