How to Recognize Digital Operations Problems From the Top
Interviewer: Thanks for joining us, Lance. Today we’re talking about recognizing where there’s digital operation problems from the top. As a former CEO, now Chairman of the Board, you’ve seen this happening. You’ve seen it across multiple businesses that you’ve owned. How do you recognize that there’s digital operation problems in the day-to-day workers’ lives?
Lance: You know, I think one of the good things about what we have today, right, is this notion of data, plenty of it. The question is sorting through that and separating the wheat from the chaff of what matters.
Lance: If I’m looking from the standpoint of where do I want to take an organization, and I have to look at things from multiple dimensions, right. I have to look at the viability of our marketplace, what our competitors are doing to some extent. What is the tone, the cadence, and what other things are happening, in terms of the consumption of the product or service that we have? Then get a pretty good bead on that, then back in and say, “Right, in order to be better by x, y, z from an outcome perspective, what do I need to do internally to get there?”
Lance: What I do know today, as a truth, is the way we’ve done things for 20, 30, 40, 50 years is not going to be the way forward. We can’t go to market with a product, let’s say a new product or service, and be told, “Well, basically it’s going to take two years for us to get to market, because what we’re going to have to do is we’re going to have to heavy lift what we do today and just mirror it over in order to launch something new.” This is something that incumbent companies are forced to deal with, and it’s tough.
Lance: We need to look back and say, right, what if I came at this from a different view? Which is let’s eradicate everything we’ve ever done, literally, in our minds. Draw this out and say, “What do I absolutely have to have to make this work?” Then from the employee experience standpoint, what do they need to have that would empower them to be able to effect change rapidly? Agility is the name of the game. There’s no doubt about it.
Lance: In order to do that, you really have to start looking at the person to begin with in an organization, the employee. From there, what is their life like? What is their world like? If they can be a part of the innovations that we need to make, the more leaning forward they are, the better the outcomes typically are. Maybe, back around to your question, is how do I know when there’s a problem? When I’m basically begin told is business as usual going forward.
Interviewer: What are some keys to making that change, to shifting other executives’ mindsets? What’s the key to the leadership to making a digital operations change?
Lance: I think people come at things from their own lens, right. Someone who is our chief marketing officer, or one of my CEOs, or the CIO of the business; they definitely have a different lens and different paradigm on that. All of which are valuable, all of which make sense. Then the question is, “Well, how far into the organization have those notions persisted or been ingrained or innerved between it. That’s the one that you really have to look at and say, if we are able to coalesce around a vision, and then we can bring folks with us, right, which you cannot communicate enough effectively today. Bring folks with us on this. That stands a much better chance of being able to move forward quickly.
Lance: If it’s the other way around, where it’s completely a push-down, and you let everyone through the employee ranks and organizations, different -obviously- business units, and what not come up with their own notions of it. In absence of that connection between our vision as a management team with what they need to actually do and implement, you typically get people squinting and some bias shows up around that, that is not necessarily congruent with where we need to go.
Interviewer: Some head nods and [crosstalk 00:04:12].
Lance: You get that, sure.
Interviewer: Walk out and do your own thing.
Lance: Absolutely, absolutely.
Interviewer: Well, thank you for joining us today and talking about how to recognize problems from a CEO level. We really appreciate it.