Think Differently: 3 Lessons Learned from Digital Transformation
Change: it is the only constant in life. The brilliance of change is it prompts (or encourages) us to think differently and embrace a growth mindset. The ability to think differently allows curiosity to be invited to the table. It helps to embrace challenges with vision. It provides us with the belief that anything is possible.
One area where the “think differently” mindset is embraced constantly is in sports. Teams look to new strategies to succeed. My favorite sport to watch where this occurs is professional soccer. The players not only learn their positions but understand those of their teammates. This internal study expands to studying their rivals, adjusting their formations, becoming smarter regarding how they play the game, and ultimately, affects how they score. Without the ability to think differently, soccer teams will not capitalize on getting out in front of the competition to win.
The digitalization of the technological landscape due to COVID-19 has forced firms to think differently in manners never before explored. Thinking differently is what sets the standard now for how to deliver the end-to-end customer experience.
At CenturyLink, this digital transformation requires us to think differently each day. Understanding how to internally transform as well as being aware of the external changes to the technological landscape is critical. Keeping our eyes on the goal of enhancing our customer experience is pivotal to digital transformation. That said, winning strategies and techniques don’t come all at once–they require a step-by-step game plan. At CenturyLink, we’ve broken down the steps to a successful digital transformation into three key areas:
1. Disrupt the playbook
Our biggest disruption to the status quo was to rewrite the playbook of ‘how it’s always been done.’ What happened? We brought the business and IT together—changing the playbook of how ecosystems, teams and individuals view their roles in the transformation. It no longer is a siloed approach to delivery, but rather becomes all about the journey, the end-to-end experience.
In soccer, the defensive players don’t only focus on stopping the ball from going in the net and the offensive players don’t only focus on scoring. They also need to know how their actions affect one another, and ultimately, affect the outcome of the game.
To create a winning game plan, we’ve broken down our organizational silos and brought teams together to align goals and deliver significant change. This collaboration allows us to give our customers a simplified, streamlined and frictionless digital buying experience. This isn’t just a one-time effort, but a fundamental change to the way we operate. It is a cultural transformation. Each of us owns a part in delivering the ideal experience to our customers. By thinking differently, we deliver on our end game: epic disruption of how we deliver value to our customers.
2. Be Agile
Change requires agility, not perfection. It requires understanding the need to be able to deliver value. COVID-19 has reinforced the need for agility in a way that is paramount to stay in the game. When our customers are presented with opportunity, they require a nimble response. Being able to pivot in an agile fashion gives CenturyLink the ability to move quickly, deliver and adjust quickly in response to customer feedback.
Imagine a soccer coach creating a new tactical play for her team. She spends months perfecting the strategy and teaching it to the team before a big match. Come match day, their opponents are completely outsmarted and outplayed by our team and their new strategy. What happened? The other team didn’t spend weeks perfecting their strategy. Because there is nothing perfect in the game of soccer, only the ability to become better each time you hit the field. You must understand the skills required and be able to flex depending on the factors at play, which change with every game. The teams that flex and outsmart win.
At CenturyLink, we lead with an Agile mindset. We’re delivering a self-serve environment to our customers and, based on their feedback, correcting course. We’re adjusting our game plan to always be incrementally improving.
3. Focus on the Goal
Vision without action is a dream. Action without a clear vision creates chaos. Without focus and clear goals, one doesn’t know the objective striving to be achieved. One of the most important criteria to achieve success in digital transformation is to ensure the goal is clear.
First, start with the ideal state—the goal. What are we trying to accomplish? For us, it is the journey for the customer: what is the experience we are trying to deliver? Understanding that allows us to then work on how to produce that vision from the very first “play”.
What’s the ideal end state in a successful soccer match? Winning, of course. How is that accomplished? To outscore the other team one goal at a time. Soccer is a rapidly changing game, where the players must constantly adjust tactics and sometimes positions to get the ball in the net. The end state is always clear though: score more than your opponent.
In business, as in soccer, the landscape rapidly changes and obstacles arise. Focusing on the goal drives the ability to navigate challenges, prioritize, and deliver value. Keep the goal in mind and anything becomes possible.
Strategic transformative change requires disciplined thought and focused effort. As we approached our digital transformation, we capitalized on the value of epic disruption through revolutionizing the playbook, agility and staying focused on the goal. This approach enables us to move quickly, learn fast and deliver value to our customers. In the end, digital transformation is a game changer for our customers, partners and employees.
Taking on digital transformation can be challenging. See how CenturyLink can help make the transition smoother.
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