Digital Disruption… How ready are you?

by Scott Ward (@wardsco)

Many years ago I watched a young woman attempt her first bungee jump. The cord was strapped around her ankles and she’d shimmied to the end of the wooden plank and was ready, waiting to jump.

There she stood, staring into the unknown, one hand on the railing as the crew counted down:

“Five… Four… Three… Two… One… Bungee!!!!!”

Her body motioned toward the emptiness yet nothing happened? She remained firmly on the plank!!!

“Fail fast” is the modern mantra, yet most organisations are incapable of doing it.

For most companies failing is a taboo… People are promoted for their successes; remuneration structures recognize our achievements; processes demand business cases; and hierarchies are full of people who, one way or the other, “made it work”.

Yes… Failure is frowned upon within the modern organisation. Yet we live in a landscape where the willingness to fail is the defining component to adapt and survive. The painful truth is that most companies are not set up to fail, which means most are inevitably going to shrink or become extinct.

Like with bungee, jumping into the digital realm requires a leap of faith; faith that the ideas and intuition you hold today will yield value at some point in time… Faith, that if you are sincere enough, set your priorities well and are willing to expose your flaws and can muster grit by leaping into the unknown; your feet will feel that sense of solid ground on the other side of the stream.

There are no consultants that can do this leap for you… it’s a heart-in-mouth experience for all: requiring leadership and courage.

Digital disruption is profound… its not just changing how we connect as individuals, it is altering how we function as organisations; how we spot opportunities; organize our resources; and how we execute on those opportunities.

The emerging business world is connective, intelligent and adaptive.

As one dear friend told me “this shift is the largest realignment of industry since the Second World War”.

So my challenge to you is “what are you doing about it?”

What the woman on the bungee board hadn’t realized is that, despite doing all the preparation she could to ensure a safe bungee, her hand had clenched in fear to the railing and was not letting go for love, nor money.

For a brief moment afterward, she stood, looking around mystified as to why she was still on the board. Her feet were tied, she was on the precipice, they’d counted down and in her mind she’d launched…

The woman in question looked back at the crew, saw her hand and started to laugh. The crew again counted down, and this time she leapt…

So I ask you:

Are you taking the leap? Implementing the structures that will allow failure in the smartest way possible? And then taking action that will enable you to master this disruption?

Or…

Are you clenched to the railing, asking for business cases? Having meetings? Spending time in endless workshops?

Yes! there is a need to plan… Yes! there is a need to educate yourself on the shift that is occurring around us… Yes! there is a need to do everything you can to minimize risk and increase your chances of success.

But if you are still standing on the precipice, yet to take action, ask yourself:

Where are you Really up to? How long has it been this way? And at what point do you plan to do something about it?

Join us for DISRUPT.SYDNEY on 25 September 2015 and take the leap!

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