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  • Melvin Mathews

Want successful transformation? Energize the core

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

The world is rapidly transforming around us. Technology is getting smarter and faster. It is impacting every industry, sector and area on the planet. In an increasingly digitalized world, no organisation can ignore data and information. Whether it is manually generated data or data from smart sensors and devices, any perceived competitive advantage that a company may have had, can very quickly vanish and be overtaken by a company that uses mathematical models and algorithms to cut costs, reduce wastage of resources and time, improve efficiency and performance, measure customer experience and impact, improve profitability, etc.

Emerging technology such as Artificial Intelligence, Neural Networks, Block-chain, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Advanced Robotics, 3D and 4D Printing, etc, driven by Cloud and Edge Computing, of course opens avenues of opportunity for new businesses. However, zones where these emerging technologies overlap or can be combined are the new areas where unprecedented radical innovation is occurring. Unlike in the past where there was the luxury of time, it is increasingly becoming difficult for most companies to keep up with the pace at which the world is transforming around them.

When rapidly emerging technology and innovation is coupled with upcoming public 5G data transmission that will be 100 times faster in terms of latency when compared to 4G and satellite communication in remote areas that will 70 times faster in 24 months than what it is today, we are looking at major disruption that will impact every aspect of our lives. Economic and financial disruption will mostly occur at the bleeding edge where business meets emerging technology, communication and people.

If you look at the most notable companies, corporations and conglomerates today, they seem to be apparently doing well financially at least on paper, only because they are gauged on their financial success over the previous few years. The metrics being - stock market price, business valuation, quarter on quarter or year on year increase in revenue, all based on their product lines, business models, market penetration, customer retention, etc. which, no matter how it is viewed, is essentially the past.

Not many realize that in terms of the future most of these companies are already in decline or on the verge or decline is imminent. The reason is not because they do not have a robust strategy to take their organisations forward into the future. On the contrary, their strategy teams work relentlessly with top business consultancies and managements teams to develop these strategies that usually tick all the right boxes. Why then, despite doing everything right in the last 100 years, has no real disruption come from existing corporations? Why do outsiders always disrupt corporations, rather than the latter (despite all their experience, R&D and resources at their disposal), evolving to meet the changes around them.

Why have no start-up unicorns come out of any corporation? Amazon, Tesla, Uber, AirBnB, Alibaba, to name a few, are all disrupters, mostly run by passionate founders who believe they are creating a better future. They build a culture within their organisation where almost everyone involved has the same ‘sense of purpose’ or a common belief system that supports the vision of the founder or the company.

What is this sense of purpose?

  • Every person has a personal code of conduct, it is something that we also identify in others around us. A sense of purpose is shaped by things that we believe and value. People relate to and pursue causes that they identify with.

  • Most people believe there is a purpose behind their existence and that drives how they live, interact, work and make decisions.

  • A sense of purpose is what inspires you to greater level of achievement.

The consequential outcome is quite apparent. A grand vision and a robust strategy is no longer enough to survive, let alone thrive in the long term. What is missing in most corporations is a sense of purpose or a belief system that that clearly indicates what the business stands for. This sense of purpose may complement but is not necessarily an integral part of the vision and strategy.

When the entire organisation is aligned with a common purpose, following the strategy to get to the goals becomes a lot easier. It is the sense of purpose and common belief system that:

  • inspires the best people to want to work for you

  • ensures you recruit the right people based on aligned beliefs

  • motivates the existing employees to break silos and collaborate

  • makes customers want to come back to you time and again

There is no doubt that every company should embrace digitalization and be digital at its core. Most companies realize this and have embarked on their digital journey, some fashionably early and others notoriously late. However, what will bring about true success are those that have a sense of purpose and a common belief system that energizes their core. Which means getting people excited at the grassroots and right across the organisation.

No company can compete with an organisation where it’s people are energized with a sense of purpose and passion, because they work on a war footing, on a mission towards their goals, and at a pace that is unsurpassable. To transform and energize the core, all you need is passionate and empathetic leadership. Does that always have to be a founder?

 Let me know your thoughts.

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