#193 Leveraging Failure in Leadership

The world of technology is ever-evolving and continually changing. In this digital landscape, it's important to understand not only the technology being used but also the underlying business process and purpose that it drives. Tech veterans Darren Pulsipher and Dave Burrill impart wisdom on this critical combination on their podcast Embracing Digital Transformation.

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology-driven projects, one of the fundamental challenges is the tendency to prioritize technological solutions over core business needs. Referred to as 'leading with technology,' this approach often results in deploying tech solutions needing to clearly align with the overarching business objectives they aim to serve. 

A striking example of this disconnect is illustrated by an organization investing 18 months and 2 million dollars in a project that ultimately faltered due to the absence of clearly defined business goals. Instead of viewing projects solely through the lens of IT, it is imperative to recognize them as business initiatives facilitated by technology. 

By adopting this perspective shift, organizations can gain greater clarity on their objectives and desired outcomes. Rather than technology being the driving force, it becomes an invaluable enabler in achieving the organization's strategic goals. This recalibration of focus ensures that technology serves as a supportive tool rather than the central emphasis, thereby mitigating the risk of project failure and fostering a more successful integration of technology into the business framework.

 Prioritizing Business Over Technology

The standard issue identified by Pulsipher and Burrill within technologically driven projects is the tendency to prioritize tech over core business needs. This is referred to as 'leading with technology.' Organizations often deploy tech solutions without clearly defining the business goals that the technology will help achieve. One example mentioned was an organization that spent 18 months on a project costing 2 million dollars. It ultimately failed because they needed to determine the business questions they aimed to solve. 

Projects should instead be viewed as business projects aided by technology, not merely as IT projects. By shifting focus in this way, businesses can become more aware of their goals and desired outcomes. Instead of being a driver, technology becomes an enabler, facilitating accomplishing the organization's goals. 

 The Essence of Software 

Burrill states that software should primarily be used for two primary purposes: either to automate a process that would have been done manually or to report on its performance. By understanding software's core functions, organizations can better assess how it fits into their business processes and provides value. 

When software is used effectively, it can make manual processes more efficient and provide valuable insight into their performance. This can be particularly impactful for organizations looking to optimize their operations and maximize productivity.

 Essential Organizational Roles

Within every successful organization, there are several key roles that must be performed. Employees do the actual work, while managers supervise, coordinate, and train these workers. Data from these individuals' work is then analyzed, providing critical insight into how things are going and where improvements can be made. 

Executives then use these reports to refine processes and implement changes for future improvement. This cycle, when done effectively, can drastically improve an organization's efficiency and success. 

 Embracing Digital Transformation

At its core, successful digital transformation requires a clear understanding of the business problem that needs to be solved, a well-defined business process, and the efficient use of technology as an enabler. Understanding these critical elements and keeping technology as a tool rather than the focal point is vital to preventing failure and ensuring a successful digital transformation. 

As we navigate the digital landscape, remember to treat your technology projects as business projects, use software for automation and analysis, and rely on your organizational roles to provide valuable insight and direction.

#193 Leveraging Failure in Leadership
Broadcast by