Over the past few years, I noticed that because of the pandemic, many companies have been proactive and made very good decisions regarding technology, while others have been plagued by digital hesitation. Are you feeling like you may be one of the latter? It’s time to make those critical decisions.
What is Digital Hesitation?
Digital Hesitation is the inability of either a leadership team, owner, or manager to make a decision regarding technology or digitize a portion of their business. They just can’t do it. Regardless of the impact of your digital decision, I would like to introduce you to a free e-book available for anyone who is interested called Decide! The One Common Denominator of All Great Leaders By Gino Wickman.
In relation to our digital hesitation and making those critical decisions, Wickman’s book gives the leader some ideas on how to make those decisions easier.
Clarity of Vision
To make the proper and best digital decision, you need to be clear on your vision. If the decision in question is regarding the digital direction of an entire company, you better be clear as to the direction of the company itself – not just what will happen as the result of the digital decision.
If your digital decision is regarding a department or an internal process within the company, the decision still needs to follow the general direction of the company – you don’t want to make decisions at the department level which can negatively impact the entire company or go against the culture of the company.
Either way, understanding the vision of the organization gives you parameters and some guidance regarding making those critical digital decisions. As Wickman outlines in the book, part of your vision is the core values of the organization. Core values are already there – they are embedded within the culture. Once you understand your core values and have them documented, lining up digital decisions with those core values is much easier.
Clarity and Confidence
Good leaders understand that making the best decisions starts with a clear and calm mind. If you have 1000 other things on your mind, making a good decision on anything is difficult, let alone digital decisions.
Finding time for short breaks to stay focused on the right things in your business needs to be an important part of the way you manage your time. Wickman introduces us to “Clarity Breaks” and how Dan Sullivan from The Strategic Coach teaches how to use them.
By building in daily, weekly, or monthly breaks in the action just to think will significantly increase both the quantity and the quality of your digital decisions.
The Ten Commandments of Good (Digital) Decision Making
While Wickman talks in general regarding good decision making, I want to add a bit of color and look at them from the digital decision-making perspective.
- Thou Shalt Not Rule by Consensus. When making digital decisions, consensus decision making doesn’t work. Trying to make the “all things to all people” digital decision will lead you to picking the wrong solution. In a perfect world, the digital solutions would be perfect – covering all of the business needs. In reality, you will have to compromise somewhere. During your digital solution selection process, you should have listed and ranked by importance the business features needed for that solution. If there is one overreaching feature the business needs and the solution meets that need but is not the greatest on the other needs, you might need two solutions. Having two solutions in place may make things a bit more complicated, but if they are good at what they do, you will be moving the business forward with optimized solutions.
- Thou Shalt Not Be a Weenie. Some of your digital decisions – especially on the corporate level – will be difficult for the staff to understand and embrace. Don’t be afraid to make these tough decisions.
- Thou Shalt Be Decisive. While it may feel that your digital decision is life-altering or at least department-altering, many of those decisions can be changed. The important thing Wickman want you to grasp is that the what of the decision is less important than actually making the decision.
- Thou Shalt Not Rely on Secondhand Information. In the world of digital decisions, vendor spec sheets and sales discussions are mostly viewed as secondhand Ask the vendor to give you some random names from their customer list (not their groomed references) so you can verify the information the sales team is giving you. This is part of due diligence. Do the product features perform like they are explained to you? How is the support team from a technical standpoint? Is support responsive? Is the vendor good at delivering patches and upgrades?
- Thou Shalt Fight for the Greater Good. Wickman recommends putting your egos, titles, emotion, and past beliefs aside. Look for the right digital solution for your organization, not the one the CEO golfs with every Saturday.
- Thou Shal Not Try to Solve Them All. Sometimes, you need to solve issues in your organization one at a time. If you try to solve them all at once, you will just overwhelm your team. In the area of digital decisions, this is very true. Trying to solve many problems at one time with a digital solution will just overwhelm your team. If you are way behind on digital transformation projects, space them out over several years.
- Thou Shalt Live with It, End It, or Change It. Wickman relays a story from his dad in approaching issues: you can live with them, end them, or change them. In digital decision making, maybe your search for a digital solution leads you to believe that there is nothing on the market to solve your issue. Can you live with the problem? Can you just stop doing that process? If you change the process, is there a solution for the changed process? Rarely should you answer “I’ll make my own solution” unless you have the means to pour unlimited funds into a project that still might not meet your needs.
- Thou Shalt Choose Short-Term Pain and Suffering. When making your digital decisions, maybe the decision will be so radical that it will cause chaos for several weeks. But…what happens after those few weeks of chaos? It could be “problem solved” and you get to start growing again or move on to the next issue to solve. Don’t be afraid to make that pain-causing decision.
- Thou Shalt Enter the Danger. Wickman describes this as “the issue you fear the most is the one you most need to discuss and resolve”. This most often involves the decision of changing core software which runs the entire business. Maybe you outgrew QuickBooks long ago but have been hesitant to move to the next level of accounting software. Maybe your CRM software purchase decision hasn’t been made (what are you waiting for??) or your current one no longer meets your needs. Maybe you need to dive deeply into digital marketing and re-learn how to market in a digital economy. Confront those issues and get moving forward again.
- Thou Shalt Take a Shot. Wickman describes this as “taking a shot” at solving those issues. It is very easy to delay digital decision making and think you can continue to function by using manual processes. Unfortunately, your competitors might already be moving their processes to digital and that means by your inaction, they are gaining a competitive advantage. Go make that decision and do something.
Not All Digital Decisions are Made at the Same Speed
Finally, it is important to understand that digital decisions are made at different speeds. Wickman talks about personality profiles and their differing decision speeds. While some business decisions should be made carefully, making digital decisions needs to be made relatively quickly. Technology moves fast and if you delay that important decision, the technology will change before you have a chance to implement it.
Not sure how to proceed with your digital decisions? We can help. Let us know what you are working on.
Decide! The One Common Denominator of All Great Leaders by Gino Wickman. Download it for free.
This week’s post is by Tim Malzahn, Principal Consultant at Malzahn Strategic