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Five to Thrive: Five things to keep in mind when considering a major transformation

 

 

At Differly, we work with many organizations that are facing an urgent need to rethink, how they create and deliver value to customers in a digital economy. Some will call this a transformation (if there are many initiatives to manage at the same time to make the shift) and others will call it a continual process of innovation.  Either way, it's really not about technology but rather a business strategy. 

If you're a leader thinking about or embarking on a major shift, here are five guiding principles to focus your efforts

1. Always put the customer at the heart of the transformation

Customer behavior is arguably the biggest shift of the digital revolution. How can you design and deliver a better end-to-end experience leveraging both on and offline channels seamlessly? Can you leverage digital technology to remove any barrier, friction, and continually deliver additional value? 

2. Align on vision

Before determining the pain points,...

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Five fundamentals to reimagine the workplace and why "worklife balance" is a setup for failure.

For every survey I’ve read stating that over 70% of people are looking forward to getting back to the office, I’ve read another stating 70% would be willing to continue working from home.

These results should come as no surprise, as it is not - and has never been -  a black and white issue. Shopify’s recent news, along with many notable tech firms, to be digital first and 100% remote will create much needed discussion but it does not have to be an “all or nothing” proposition.

This shift in the nature of work (e.g. teleworking, remote work, gig economy, virtual work, flexible work programs) was occurring way before the pandemic. Many organizations – granted mostly in high tech -   such as Buffer, GitLab and Zapier – which were already 100% virtual, are proving that the model does work and some of their practices can translate to more traditional industries and corporate cultures.

However, what we are seeing now is a crisis-induced...

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Three key questions to get your business back into gear and moving now.

In my conversation with other leaders and business owners who must adapt how they deliver products and services or must shift their business models entirely, there is one analogy that resonated with me the most: the hierarchy of needs. 

If you’re like us at Differly, most of our services tend to be at the mid-to-top of the pyramid of needs. Meaning if a company is doing fairly well in terms of stability and revenue, it now looks to scale and grow impact or reach. Perhaps they want to develop a loyalty program, accelerate operational efficiency, supercharge and modernize sales and marketing or develop a digital transformation road map. 

Cue COVID-19 and everyone is now operating at the bottom of the pyramid.  Meaning, if your product or services don't help to address the continuity of a business or address an urgent need, your pitch is likely falling on deaf ears. Even if you’re one of the lucky companies with rising revenues at the moment (we need you...

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COVID-19, the game changer that will push us all into the digital revolution.

COVID-19 is first and foremost a human crisis, requiring companies to protect their people. Amid this human impact, companies are also coming to terms with the impact of the pandemic on their businesses, in particular small and medium size enterprises.

The pandemic will be hitting small businesses the hardest. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reported that 42% of surveyed SMEs depend solely on face-to-face contact for the majority of sales

COVID-19 might be the game changer that pushes us all into the digital revolution, digitizing services, and forcing us to shift to digital business models.

Although there are many more pressing issues, such as ensuring elderly parents are safe or balancing home schooling, while managing a business and a remote team (I am in the thick of all those things), challenging times also present opportunities.

Here are some concrete strategies to engage your customers via digital channels and potentially create new revenue...

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All future forward leaders share these five traits

I have come to realize that I have a high tolerance for the unknown. The unknown is risky but equally full of potential. 

I acknowledge that not everyone shares my  exhilaration for the unknown and admittedly,  too much of it for a prolonged amount of time is exhausting, for anyone. It's exhausting on our human brain, which seeks safety and survival first and foremost. The unknown creates fear. 

Considering the next decade however, the unknown is the new normal as we will witness the reinvention of virtually every industry. Great leaders have the ability to see ahead and somehow drag - or influence- an organization towards that vision. In his book The Prime Movers, psychologist Edwin Locke identified the core mental traits of great leaders such as Steve Jobs, Jack Welch, Bill Gates, Walt Disney. While they each had their own secret sauce,  he found the common element among them was the ability to envision a new reality and see past what worked...

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The Benefits of Knowing the Gaps

For close to 9 years now, I've made a practice of regularly assessing my goals, both personal and business. After about 10 years into my career, I was finding myself getting caught up in a frenetic pace of daily/weekly to-do lists.  To counter this, I started to get up much earlier in the morning at 5 a.m  to journal, center myself and plan the day ahead. Once the kids arrived - we now have three under 9 - it also provided critical alone time.  But more importantly, this is when I started taking stock of my broader life goals. It may sound intense but it doesn't have to be if done regularly.

I focus on the lifestyle that I want to achieve and general outcomes I'm aiming for. For example some of my desired outcomes are freedom to travel, diversity of work and clients, constant learning and growth, total mind and body fitness.  I then look at my current day to day activities and see if they are aligned to those outcomes. Am I losing my way? If so, is it temporary?...

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Five Attributes Required to Lead in the Digital Economy

What does it mean to lead in an age of rapid change and disruption? Although we’ve been leveraging technology for decades, organizations are still grappling with being digital. As we’ve seen with many technology projects gone awry, technology alone does not make an organization digitally adept.  More than ever, the cultural shift, the capabilities and in particular, the changes required in leadership styles are the true barriers.

If you think about the environment in which leaders operated less than a decade ago:

  1. Information was power. (Leaders typically had access to the most data.)
  2. Information was hierarchical. We expected leaders to have all the answers.
  3. Leaders had to appear in control. Being unsure was generally frowned upon.
  4. Generally speaking, leaders were not allowed to make mistakes (or they could not readily admit they made a mistake).

Fast forward to the last five or six years in particular, and the world is more than ever:

  1. Social (People based....
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