September 15, 2015

Timing: An eternal issue of bad timing

The issue of timing is about the attraction to stay in the eroding game just a little longer. Staying a little longer is the safe answer for much too long, both on the fiscal side and on the personal side of the individual Chief Officer.

In my previous blog post I wrote about what it means to be a true leader, read it here. Now I will focus on the importance of timing.

  • On the fiscal side there is always the route of cutting costs, or getting just a little better at increasing revenues and margins by adding value to customers, or even getting into structural merges with competition. These routes are well understood in terms of costs, risks and outcome. Since digital disruption really is not a disruption but a process over 5-10 years or more, each budget year the majority of Chief Officers will argue for the safe route, rather than the unsafe fiscal route of getting into a new game.
  • On the personal side, as elaborated on earlier, behavioral DNA for individual Chief Officers is geared towards growths, and not towards transformation.

The above turns digital disruption into an eternal issue of bad timing.

The key to correct timing is to create a common sense of urgency within the group of Chief Officers, including a deeper willing to risk on a fiscal and personal level, in a game they believe in and a game they want to play.

With this in place, it’s possible to involve the board of trustees, and get buy-in on the current situation, on the vision, and on the new strategy. Digital disruption is a matter of transforming a business, clearly making it an issue for the investors.

Correct timing has to have resonance with the whole palette of operational resources: financial, higher purpose of the operation, employees, leadership, corporate culture, suppliers, subcontractors, partners, customers, position in the society at large, and more.

Going in early and taking market lead gives some advantages, but also comes with greater challenges and thus risks. Going in late… The window might have closed.

There will never be a fact based answer to timing. Such advice is for non-leaders wanting to externalize responsibility! In the end there is nothing but a common sense of urgency, being well informed, your belief, and you want. Then take your stand!

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