[Blog Abstract] Digital strategy: The four fights you have to win

From time to time, team members will share their views stimulated by content from an industry thought leader. Here, our CEO, Lisa Maier, discusses the recent McKinsey Quarterly article, “Digital strategy: The four fights you have to win” by Tanguy Catlin, Laura LaBerge and Shannon Varney.

This article starts off boldly, “Yesterday’s tentative approaches won’t deliver; you need absolute clarity about digital’s demands, galvanized leadership, unparalleled agility, and the resolve to bet boldly.” Their main point is that most successful corporations ultimately decay into incrementalism as a strategic approach and this – unfortunately – will not cut it when digital has the potential to disrupt a business down to its core. The sad reality is that it is usually a newcomer to an industry that has the risk appetite to take the bold, yet necessary, moves.

To battle this problem, this article suggests four remedies. These are the “four fights” the authors assert you must win with the implementation of your digital strategy:

Fight Ignorance

If you are ignorant, you may fall prey to ‘shiny object’ syndrome, yet miss the essential digital disruptor available to your business. This is extremely dangerous when first-mover advantages await the strategic chess player. Some ideas are provided for creating the conditions for success including raising your technology IQ and overcoming competitive blind spots.

Fight Fear

Directly addresses how an organization creates fearfulness for executives who worry that wrong choices will limit their futures, including how to have honest dialogues and the creation of support networks that allowed company executive and employees to embrace an uncertain future.

Fight Guesswork

When leaping into the unknown, which is a reality when you disrupt your own company, the question arises about how to access data that battles guesswork decisions. Suggestions include building proof points as you go, as well as using pilots and stage gates for progression choices, all actually driven by data if data capture has been included in part of the set up of your experiments.

Fight Diffusion

Effective strategy requires focus, yet the digital options are enormous. Recommendations on how to be focused with a wide set of options is to use a portfolio approach to investments and to embrace the ‘necessity of big moves’ in your approach.

This excellent article ends by pointing out that your best digital competitors – who may come from inside or outside of your industry – are not taking small steps. “The good news is that the digital era, for all its stomach-churning speed and volatility, also serves up more information about the competitive environment than yesterday’s strategists could ever imagine. Simultaneously, analytically backed, rapid test-and-learn approaches have opened up new avenues to help companies correct course while staying true to their strategic goals.” Learn about DirectiveGroup’s data lake offering for how we help executives with this need. Now is the time to take well-thought out, strategically-anchored action.

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Author: Lisa Maier

Lisa Maier is the CEO of DirectiveGroup, and brings great passion and over a decade of experience in the online marketing space. Her background includes a undergraduate degrees in Economics and Sociology, a Wharton MBA degree in Information Strategies & Economics, top tier technology strategy consulting and several years helping small technology companies traverse the chasm from good products to nationally scaled businesses, particularly making use of online marketing and media programs.