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How to make digitization not just a buzzword

Digital transformation is no longer just a buzzword when a visionary leader is in charge. Inspiration, speed of decisions, and good maneuvering are essential qualities of a visionary leader for a successful digital transformation.
Visionary leadership: How to make digitization not just a buzzword
Even the best business must develop continually
Even the best business must develop continually
Slow decisions are a dead-end for the development
Slow decisions are a dead-end for the development
A visionary leader digitizes his company properly
A visionary leader digitizes his company properly
Permanence and stability are desirable properties for business. However, if they are overestimated, it becomes a trap and a dead-end for the development of the organization. When the business model has been established and is working well, it ceases to develop and then - ceases to meet the current requirements, making the company stagnate.

Modernization must be constant and thoughtful. But who can be the driver of this type of enhancement?
Some people, along with leadership qualities, have the flexibility of thinking and strategic vision. They are visionary leaders - and they are the key to the ongoing development of the business, uniting the whole enterprise around their vision and engaging the team.

Large organizations relying on long-term planning and predictability and well-established decision-making cycles need a new approach and learn how to decide and move quickly, even without 100% confidence in the result. Because of the growing competition, only those organizations that can precisely foresee the future state of the market have a chance to survive. Only visionary leaders can benefit from the pioneer's advantage. For instance, in the challenge of digital transformation, companies without visionary leadership have lagged far behind, and ineffective attempts at digitization have only wasted their time and resources.

According to the Deloitte study, companies with higher digital maturity were more likely to report benefiting from each turnaround of digital changes, and among those benefits were increased efficiency, better quality of the product, better customer experience, profit growth, and higher employee engagement. Despite the widespread demand for digital transformation, a study by Bain and Company found that only 12% of all corporate changes achieve their goals. The differences between the leaders and the laggards are quite clear and defined.

1. Fast decision-making and execution

Visionary leaders make decisions and implement them quickly enough to stay ahead of the market. Survey data shows that speed matters in three situations: quick decision-making, implementation of ideas, and having an IT organization or partner that can work as fast as it needs to.

2. Planning flexibility and the right to make a mistake

Quick decision-making is more beneficial when combined with flexibility and the ability to adjust and change plans. Forward-thinking leaders make decisions and then act, realizing that the work may require several times to change its direction. The right to make a mistake gives managers the ability to take risks and move fast. In one of his letters Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, wrote to his shareholders: “If you’re good at course correcting, being wrong may be less costly than you think, whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure.”

Companies that can move quickly and then adapt have the best chance of success in the future, which is not predetermined, and to form this future themselves.
Even the best business must develop continually
Even the best business must develop continually
Slow decisions are a dead-end for the development
Slow decisions are a dead-end for the development
A visionary leader digitizes his company properly
A visionary leader digitizes his company properly
3. Tactical thinking

Leaders seeking to increase business agility and flexibility can focus on dividing the digital transformation into more manageable pieces, trying new things, and learning from it. These fragments are distributed among different teams and can complement each other or compete. For a leader, this tactic requires reallocation of resources when the success of one of the rival fragments becomes obvious, quickly move on to the following options after successful testing or without regret to change course or stop experimenting in case of failure.

4. The ability to identify and combine trends

For some companies, digitization is a set of technologies that do not merge into sufficient offering for customers. In other companies, there is a complete separation of digitization from a product, value proposition, and customer service. These are two extremes, and it is important to correctly define and provide digitization without falling into any of them.

5. Great management skills

The right management is twice as much as crucial as systems and technologies. The right ways to motivate employees, the ability to scale changes, and the ability to find new and better ways to measure performance can be more important than the novelty of the implementation of innovations.

A visionary leader collects as much information as possible and communicates with a large number of people to better imagine possible ways of development. Diversity of opinions and ideas of competitors, partners, and employees gives a complete picture, so the leader avoids common misconceptions.

A few years ago, companies actively engaged in the discussion of digital transformation. Some executives believe that this is just a hype topic, and digitization is only a buzzword, which will soon fade away. However, there is a fundamental change in business and a rethinking. Digital transformation may be a buzzword, but that does not mean change is unnecessary. Even in challenging circumstances, companies are obtaining real business benefits from their digital transformation investments, improving product quality and meeting customer needs to improve efficiency and revenue.

Perhaps the essential contribution a leader can make in times of rapid economic change when markets are fiercely competitive is to help maintain a calm, clear mind, focus, and foresight about values, vision, mission, the meaning of existence, and company goals. A conscious, visionary, and understanding leader will guide his company through the waves of digital transformation and lead on.
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