Great ideas: It's all about execution
Editor's WiteWednesday, September 15, 2021
The dawn of the one-person startups and the proliferation of technology incubators, accelerators and unicorns has created both opportunities and challenges for medium to large organisations seeking to use technology as a strategic advantage. Companies actively seek to birth new ideas and innovative ways of doing things but are often stymied by an entrenched traditional culture, including legacy systems, people and mindsets.
Some opt for hiring younger, more recent graduates with the hope of cross-pollination, while others embark on training their leaders to ignite a new level of thinking. While both approaches have had some success, one of the critical elements that continue to surface is the inability to move beyond the great ideas from innovation and transformation programmes to streamlined activities for successful execution. What's missing can be found in the many tech companies that have become industry giants in the last ten years. And the best part is that these techniques are not limited to only technology companies. We can gain inspiration from three primary aspects to successful execution that.
The first is using agile as the standard execution approach. Last week we talked about taking a flexible approach to budgeting for innovation projects. Similarly, we should take a flexible approach to deliver critical technology projects and all the areas in the business that it affects. Companies need to shift to an agile delivery approach, whether it's a back-office systems migration, implementation of a new operating model, or launching a new product to the market. While the term has become very common, very few companies in Jamaica and possibly the wider Caribbean have taken an agile approach to delivery. If incorporated into the way of working, it is often limited to specific IT projects or product delivery teams. This is one of the main reasons ideas end up on shelves after taking too long to embed within the business.
Collaboration and transparency are the non-negotiable way of working. In this context, we tread on a susceptible nerve for some Jamaican business leaders steeped in the thinking of the top-down, autocratic, big boss type of leadership that engages team members on a need to know basis. The results are an inefficient use of collaborative working tools, significant gaps in alignment with strategy and execution, and lower-level staff members feeling empowered in their contribution. While there is still validity in having separate senior leadership team communication and decision-making processes, collaboration is key to surviving in a technology-driven world.
The third and somewhat challenging cultural perspective provides freedom and autonomy to team members while also ensuring healthy boundaries. Many of the Caribbean's young millennials new to the working world expect companies to be further along with their approach to work in 2021. They are seeking autonomy to make decisions and try different paths to achieve their outcomes. Leaders accustomed to micromanaging or not providing boundaries find it challenging to balance the two and lose potential future leaders.
The new work modal and leadership required for the future is not something to work towards; it is a new requirement. For us to remain competitive within the local market and globally, our approach will need to change. Join us to discuss this and other digital transformation needs at the JTDA's upcoming BizTech conference online from Nov 10 - 12, 2021.
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