Real digital transformation is about technology riding shotgun
It’s almost a given that there will be misalignment between multiple teams in complex organisational structures. Across the industry, the technology teams are gradually shifting from the role of Responder to the Driver of competitive advantage. In the process of this shift there are usually major misalignments in a vast number of areas, from language, to assumptions, to objectives. The gap needs to be closed pretty quickly to secure talent as well as ensure the ongoing success of board-sponsored digital plays.
My experience is that erring on the side of an over-emphasis on vision and OKRs is worthwhile. We may guess we all all getting the same picture, but rarely do we spend the time to take into account the complexities and time it takes to reach the most useful common ground. In my mind this is worth the investment, if only for one strong reason. Distributing to the edge (for fasted response times) means that within a day there are hundreds of (sometimes critical) decisions that are entrusted to each individual. These decisions will go mainly unnoticed but will be made based on the individual’s attempt to respond to fit in what is best for the team, initiative and organisation. (e.g. iterative decision-making via the OODA loop).
One of the most important summaries of the map forward is a set of Objectives and Key Results (“OKR”). A great resource on the science behind these is the work by John Doer especially his book “Measure What Matters”.
But Teams frequently lack an understanding of the big picture.
People have trouble boiling down their own team’s OKRs, let alone linking these to the objectives of the organisation or adjacent teams. I run a useful exercise called the “OKR Mapping Exercise” that starts building muscles memory of the teams to start thinking of the various puzzle pieces needed to achieve the overall vision.
What are the Benefits of Investing in this Hour?
- It primes each individual to be able to make optimal decisions. It usually created a better focus and ability to prioritise based on what matters by referring back to the overall context of the intiative.
- Teams and individuals understand how they need to connect with each other areas of the organisation to be able to deliver the outcome. This fosters what I call “value-driven collaboration” and it reduces the risk of silo wastage and skipped out important stakeholders/knowledge.
- It empowers and gets the motivates each everyone. It fosters high performing teams and cultures. It gives each individual a “why” as they understand how they contribute to the real success in a complex organisation. (e.g. Daniel Pink’s Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose motivation model)