Today I stumbled across a tweet by Christian Müller which I found very exciting:
Executive, female, late 50s: You: “The whole digital world, where is there still value added?” Me: “What do you mean by added value?” You: “Well, produce something that can be touched.” – That, too, is a subjective reality in times of digitalization.(Tweet by @CMueller80)
Does digitalization bring added value?
Does digitalization bring added value?
I can understand the thoughts in the first step: The biggest “winners” of digitization to date are AirBnB or Uber, for example. However, it is precisely such companies that have taken existing business processes and generated added value for the customer with smart applications. The process itself is the same, but exactly these new market participants are participating and taking margins.
In my opinion, however, these success stories are only the tip of the iceberg and do not symbolize the actual upheavals associated with digitization:
Digitisation is accompanied by a number of new technologies which not only affect the end customer but also enter production. Here are a few examples
IoT: Internet of Things: This is about networking all kinds of things. This includes not only everyday objects, but also machines and shelves. Logistics can thus be optimized considerably. In production, maintenance can be improved.
Big Data and AI: Networked with the point before, a lot of data can be collected, but also analyzed. Techniques such as neurological networks help to process the data and draw conclusions from it.
3D Printing: 3D printing can also be mentioned in the context of digitization. It still has the charm of a gimmick for nerds. However, the technology is developing rapidly. There are many conceivable areas of application in production, up to “Just in Time Printing”, i.e. the time-accurate production of components. This technology has so much potential that production could again become more attractive in high-price wage locations such as Germany.
What is reflected in the tweet is the perception. The best-known companies do not produce anything, but only use familiar business processes. However, these best-known examples are not representative of what digitization means for companies. There are also many possibilities in production that are not always so well known.
It is highly recommended for every company to deal with digitization: So not just apps, but: Where can we use new technologies and how can we use it?
Recently I received the book “NewWork“. The book is by Christiane Brandes-Visbeck and Susanne Thielecke. Recently, I wrote a contribution to Generation Y that was very well received: On the one hand, there was a lot of criticism, but also a lot of approval from people like me who have had a similar experience with the changes. Time to deal more intensively with the topic of New Work. At the weekend I finally had time to do so. A short statement:
I have the feeling that the book is written exactly for me as a target group:
New forms of work are described without claiming to be feasible in any form of organization. Topics such as CoWorking, Design Sprints or Business Modell You are introduced more objectively. The reader is not shown that the different forms are a “must have” for everyone.
What critical people quickly notice is that different scenarios would not be feasible. I think that for many companies I know, this would also be true for the current management. The authors Christiane and Susanne make no secret of the fact that support from senior management would be indispensable for the introduction of new models and new Work Settings in a modern Business World. But they go one step further: examples by Thomas Sattelberger (Telekom) or Fabian Kienbaum (Kienbaum) illustrate how a transformation process is implemented in practice. I personally found these sections even more exciting than the sober presentation of the various techniques. Not only agile and/or aspects of the modern toolset (“Design Thinking”) are considered, but also well-known tools such as “Home Office” are put to the test and their modern integration into everyday work is presented. This tools are even known, but not in best practice in every company used.
The myth “work-life-balance” is cleared up: work is a part of life and no balance has to be created, but it has to be integrated in a way that is compatible for all participants. Classic career paths are broken down: Not every career today is as linear and plannable as it was 30 years ago.
The book is in German, has 224 pages, published in the Redline and here buyable. The book is great for all people, who are interested to learn something new.
At present time, the term digitization is used everywhere. It is often used as a driving force. Sometimes a personal view of the status quo.
What means digitization exactly ? I do not know an exact, general and valid definition. In many cases the terms are combined (therefore it is harder to separate them in order to get a definition.
Digitalization means that everything becomes “agile”? Now is the time you should take a look at the terminology. First of all, what does “agile” mean? There are two interpretations:
Agile: Simply from the Latin, in the sense of “mobile”.
Agil (2): Derived from the agile scheme: In this point AGIL is standing for the terms adaptation, goal attainment, integration and latency: This AGIL describes the system of values which depends on every organization (including companies) who is in order to their own existence.
If the term agile is used, it has to be specified, in which context it is referred to.
It is often read that digitization will only work with the advancement of equality of all. In my view, this is a false correlation: gender equality in particular is a very important issue. Even if it remains unchanged: For new ideas and creativity it is beneficial to think about the groups and to put them together anew. From my point of view, this is a possible side condition, but not a compelling one.
New working conditions
The same applies to the topic of “NewWork”, i.e. new working conditions: It might be helpful if you want to break new ground. But in my opinion, this is not mandatory either. The best examples are American companies such as Apple and LinkedIn: These companies have a very strict hierarchical structure and therefore would be prime examples of living micromanagement.
What digitalization means
As already written, I don’t know a general definition either and I’m not here to present It. It is certain that it is not necessary when talking about technology, but when looking at entire processes from the customer’s perspective: the best example would be AirBnB or Uber: these have also started as rather bad homepages. What did they do? They took care of old processes, generated new customer benefits and took advantage of valuable margins.
For me, digitization means thinking in new concepts, questioning business processes and placing the customer benefit in the foreground and to set prioritys in this kind of direction.
Our Director Stephan Werhahn on a panel discussion about business ethics in family companies
The Digitisation or Digital Disruption (What exactly does that mean now?) requires a rethinking of management structures. New ideas need creativity. And in order to do this, employees must be given more of them. But that also means letting go and turning away from micromanagement. For many executives, this means a change, and some of them will fail.
How to handle “toxic” Leaders
On Twitter I once asked: How should you deal with toxic executives: The micromanaging choleric man who spreads fear and terror among his co-workers. The answer I received from different quarters was clear: Disposal. But could this the right solution?
With the same implicitness as NewWork and trust is propagated, I was made clear to me: Out with such people. However, most of these executives have not earned their position because they have a bad management style, but nevertheless. This means that these people have qualifications. In addition, there is the empathy paradox: the focus is on skills that have been conditioned away in the hierarchies for years. Even if the management style is to be criticized, a new way of thinking also requires new solutions.
If I want to build a new culture of trust, a bad start is to catapult out people, who have been doing a job for years: Then don’t I lead the claim ad absurdum? Trust cannot be earned by a brutal start.
First, I need to identify these toxic executives. There are various possibilities for this (employee surveys, fluctuation measurements, etc.), but often it is enough to stay in the coffee or smoking area.
The following is the interview with the toxic leader: How can I use the human being, meaningfully and without snubbing him/her: There are solutions, often in the staff area. This is something to remember: Just because there is a lack of leadership, these people almost always have excellent skills that should be used. “Disposal” is only one last option….. which should have taken place even before the organisation had been converted and transistioned.
A credible reorganization of an organizational structure is only possible if you take all, really all, employees with you. And no one should be left behind.
We are proud to be Partner of the next year Global Female Leaders in June 2018. Especially in Germany, the gender pay gap is Reality and so, Networking of Global Female Leaders is a must have for the future. It is this year in Germany.
The global female Leaders 2018
Global Female Leaders Summit 2018 – an international economic summit for women – will take place for the 5th time from the 3rd till 5th of June, 2018 in Berlin, Germany.
The intention for this international economic summit for women was to establish a global network of high-ranked female executives and thus to provide a platform for women to share a variety of thoughts, perspectives and solutions – we establish the “Davos for women“.
And we are on the right path; more than 250 high-profile women from the business world, and more than 60 internationally renowned speakers were present this year and had an inspiring dialogue. The dynamic developments of globalisation, the effects of digitalisation, the incredible possibilities of artificial intelligence, the working worlds and our values in leadership are topics which be our central challenge over the next few years. At our summit, we learn not only from each other as people working in the economy, but also about geopolitical risks. The motto of the 5th summit is: “The Values of Leadership in Times of Transformation, Disruption and Artificial Intelligence”.
To learn more about our summit and to get some impressions from previous events please visit our webpage: http://www.globalfemaleleaders.com
Some of our high-class speakers in the past were: Cherie Blair, CBE, QC, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Martina Hund-Mejean, CFO, MasterCard, USA, Baroness Catherine Ashton of Upholland, former First Vice President of the European, Labor Politician and Member of Parliament, Anne Berner, Minister of Transport and Communications, Government of Finland, Janet Henry, Global Chief Economist, HSBC UK, Kristalina Georgieva, Vice-President of the European Commission, European Commissioner for Budget, Human Resources and Security.;
Do we see us, there? Registration is opened and can be reached here.
Upcoming Conference on Family Business
The purpose of the Conference is to present examples of good practices for the transfer of management and ownership. There will be two representatives of German corporations Underberg AG and Werhahn KG (Stephan Werhahn, our GIoD Board Member) coming to Slovenia, who will present their path – the growth and development of the family business. From their experience, they will present their domestic practice of transferring management and ownership, the importance of values for successful management and business, and the challenges of growth and expansion to foreign markets. They will also present the principle of sustainable entrepreneurship and how they see family entrepreneurship in the future.
Innovation and Culture
At the moment we have a fast changing world in business context. New player come and displace old companies. How fast the world in economics has changed can seen by the big five in the last 20 years.
You see, the biggest five companies are all in technology settled. Only five years ago it was only one. To expand in this economic environment means, finding new products or services.
Why Micromanagement is the dead of Innovation
In many companies has established a new kind of manager: The Micromanager. That is a person, who hasn’t`t any priorities and try to control all activities of their colleagues. If this person has disciplinary responsibility, he is starting to restrict all project activities on his horizon. He wants to understand all items of work und is wanting to be reportable in all concerns.
So the colleagues aren`t able, trying new things. They always work on old modes, alway be reportable and avoid responsibilities.
Who think, this is always a problem of big companies should take a look at the German Post, DHL: They started searching a producer for an electric van for delivery. No one of the German Car Producers seem to be able, to produce such a van. So they started a StartUp with an University, the RWTH in Aachen, and now you can see their own build Vans in german streets:
For a big Company it is not so easy, being creative. But it is possible. The most important asset are the employees: They have new ideas and are creative… if the management let them. With Micromanagement and a closely corset of reportings, they will do exactly, what is expected.
In my example of the German dhl, the problem (finding an eScooter for transport of parcels) was in the point of view: No limits, a solution must be created.
You see, such creative solutions are for big companies possible, too. But you invest in your employees and has to trust them. Controlling every step of their doing will killing all creativity. This behavior has to be lived by the Top Management. If the senior management expect all times reportings about every step in the processes, the middle management will carry on.
Trust your employees, the most of them will thank such a behavior!
I`ve read a great article by Julie Teigland on LinkedIn. In her main oppinion she suggested, that a CDO would help, to getting over the digital Transformation. In my opinion, a CDO can be a first step, not a solution. I have a tweet about it with similar content:
Why we don`t need a CDO
There are some Arguments for a CDO. I think, the most important one is, that a Person in an organizational structure is responsible for all the activities, to make a Company great for the future. But can one Person load such a Job? I think, the whole Management is responsible to transform a Company for the future: If there is one, the Management is saying “This is the Job of the CDO”.
To transform the whole Company, all are responsible: Board, Senior and Middle Management. The digital Transformation is not only an IT Job: Think about uber or AirBnB: These are old Business Process, but with a new Point of View: Customer Experience. The last decades, the same processes were optimized, again and again. But to have great new ideas, the way of thinking has to Change. A new Mindset in all Management hierarchies are necessary /(German Blog by Matthias Wrede). Especially the Middle Management is trained for years, making Solutions for small Problem. Thinking in new ways has to be learned again. But this is trainable, like thinking as kids (German Blog of Easy Leadership, aka Marcus Riesterer). The next years, the culture of mistakes must be changed, too: To learn the new process Thinking will be a way of trial and error. Nice to read the Roadmap by capgemini. So courageos Leaders must take the first steps. The normally employees aren`t able to Change the way of thinking. This ways can bring new ideas for creating ways of customer satisfaction. Big Data or IoT are only Tools, to improve this, not the epic Centrum of the digital Transformation.
But I don`t want to Version contradict Julie Teigland completely: A CDO is able to drive the digital Transformation in an organizational culture and bring the Spirit of New Work to all departures. So should be “Service” not only a departure anymore, it should be the Driver for new products or ideas. Think about it: The digital transformation Needs Attention by the whole Management, not only by a CDO.