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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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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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Is content planning killing your vibe?

Content, content, content - Yes, it’s still king and should still be at the top of the marketing or digital strategy agenda. So where to start? How does it fit in the overall marketing or communications plan? How to consistently produce? After helping a dozen or so organizations tackle the challenge of content,  I’ve distilled it into four main phases and developed a content framework (at the end of the post) to help visualize the process with your team.

But first, what’s the difference? Content Marketing vs. Content Strategy.

Whereas content marketing is typically aimed at building an audience and meeting marketing or communications objectives, such as lead nurturing or engagement (it’s the ‘why’ of the content), the content strategy as a whole should also outline how the organization will create, gather and distribute the content. I like to simply refer to it as a content strategy as it combines both of these disciplines.

At its core, your...

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Happier teams, better outcomes. Leveraging Scrum for agile marketing execution.

Have you ever developed or been accountable to execute a very detailed strategic plan that falls apart as soon as it meets reality? Either a crisis takes precedence, resources or circumstances change or competing demands from above derail the execution of  the plan entirely.  I certainly have over the years but never more so as a marketing lead for an NHL club where market dynamics coupled with a moving “product” brought constant change and uncertainty.


It’s time for a change in the way we execute our strategic plans. In a world where change and complexity are the only constant, we need a more adaptive, responsive and iterative approach to planning and execution.

Agile Manifesto

The term agile in the context of planning dates back to 2001 where 17 leaders in software development drafted what is now known as the Agile Manifesto.  The objective of the manifesto was to create a people-centric approach to software development that is characterized by...

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Fear and How to Use It

Fear is a gift. I’m not talking about fear of fire or heights - the common sense, life-saving fear. I’m talking about the ego-based self-talk kind of fear that tells you to move away from discomfort. We all know this inner voice. It tells us that status quo is good, it’s safe. Stick to security and avoid the unknown. Yet the unknown is the space of pure potential.  I’ve learned to trust in fear as a sign that I’m heading in the direction of growth and purpose.

 

Very early in my career, I began to use it as fuel.   I left a secure University position with benefits and a pension to take a one-year contract with an NHL club (a dream position as an avid sports enthusiast.) Are you sure about this?, they said.  It’s so hard to find a pension these days. Free education for yourself, your spouse and future kids they continued. I not only pursued the opportunity but managed to turn a one-year maternity leave contract into nine...

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