What I Learned About Digital Transformation While On Holiday

Written By: Eric Kimberling
Date: July 10, 2023

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I recently returned from vacation and am now back in the office. Today is my second day back, and during my time off, I gained valuable knowledge regarding digital transformation. Although I didn't actively contemplate digital transformation while on vacation, since my return, I have developed additional insights and perspectives that I would like to share with you today.

Change Fatigue is a Challenge

One of the primary reasons for going on a holiday or vacation is the need to recharge and gain a fresh perspective on life. Similarly, organizations often find themselves under significant stress and pressure. This is particularly true in today's world, which is marked by rapid technological advancements, widespread layoffs, macroeconomic trends, and ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. These factors impose various stressors on organizations.

When organizations undergo digital transformation amidst these existing stressors, it often leads to change fatigue. It is crucial to recognize and empathize with the fact that our teams and organizations may be tired and fatigued from trying to adapt to previous changes. Introducing new changes on top of this can exacerbate the problem. Therefore, it is essential to be mindful of change fatigue.

To address this, organizations should develop a change strategy that takes into account the realities of the organization and the potential change fatigue it may be experiencing. Furthermore, having a well-defined digital strategy and transformation plan is of utmost importance. These plans should align with the current state of the organization and acknowledge the challenges posed by change fatigue.

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Think Outside The Box

One of the advantages of taking a holiday or vacation is the opportunity to think outside the box and gain a renewed perspective on life and priorities. This concept also applies to organizations. Often, organizations fall into the same pitfalls, traps, and mistakes that have plagued digital transformations and leadership for decades. They fail to think differently and explore more effective approaches that could differentiate them from their predecessors, both within and outside their organizations.

It is crucial to dedicate time to think outside the box and consider new, more effective ways of leading digital transformation. This allows for becoming a more effective leader, a valuable project team member, or contributor. Moreover, it ensures long-term success for the project and the organization as a whole.

Take Care of Yourself

Often, holidays and vacations serve as opportunities to prioritize self-care, allowing us to recharge, reset, and ensure our overall well-being and happiness in life. Similarly, organizations need to determine how they can take care of themselves. This holds true not only for leaders in how they lead others within organizations but also for individuals in taking care of themselves on a personal level.

Part of this involves recognizing what is right for the organization during a digital transformation. It is common to be influenced by external forces, such as software vendors, implementation partners, consultants, and industry analysts who dictate how things should be done. However, it is important to understand that their recommendations may not always be suitable for your organization. Taking the time to step back and prioritize what is truly right for your organization becomes crucial.

Leading a project in a way that aligns with your organization's values, regardless of prevailing best practices or trendy management styles, is essential. It is crucial to have a well-defined plan, strategy, and approach that aligns with your organization's identity and culture. By doing so, not only will your organization benefit, but it will also contribute to your individual happiness.

Go With The Flow

One valuable lesson I learned from my vacation is the importance of going with the flow. Personally, I enjoy not having a rigid plan when I'm on vacation. My wife takes charge of the planning, and my kids and I simply follow along. We find joy in this flexible approach, although I cannot speak for my wife, who handles all the planning responsibilities. The key takeaway is to embrace going with the flow.

This concept applies to organizations as well. While having a plan and structure is necessary, it is equally important to recognize when it is appropriate to pivot and make adjustments. If the initial plan is inaccurate or unrealistic, it is crucial to pivot as early as possible. The sooner you adapt and go with the flow, the better the outcome will be, as opposed to hoping for improvement or magically getting back on track later in the project.

Adjusting your strategy and plan from the start is essential, not just making changes as you go along. You may receive recommendations from external parties that dictate how things should be done or propose implementation plans that may not align with your reality. The idea is to tailor those recommendations to suit your specific needs and situation. Going with the flow complements the need for structure and discipline in your digital transformations, making it one of the most important practices to embrace.

I would enjoy brainstorming ideas with you if you are looking to strategize an upcoming transformation or are looking at selecting an ERP system, so please feel free to contact me at eric.kimberling@thirdstage-consulting.com. I am happy to be a sounding board as you continue your digital transformation journey.

Be sure to download the newly released 2023 Digital Transformation Report to garner additional industry insight and project best practices.

Eric Kimberling
Eric is known globally as a thought leader in the ERP consulting space. He has helped hundreds of high-profile enterprises worldwide with their technology initiatives, including Nucor Steel, Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Kodak, Coors, Boeing, and Duke Energy. He has helped manage ERP implementations and reengineer global supply chains across the world.
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