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Companies are Playing in the Digital First Inning with Rich Nanda, US Monitor Deloitte Practice Leader, Deloitte Consulting

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With so much change happening at such a fast pace, the digital transformation process can feel like it must be extremely far along and, perhaps, near completion. Companies have been moving as speedily as possible to adapt their businesses to the digital realm and, in many cases, to create new digital territories altogether. If digital transformation was a baseball game, it could be easy to assume that the transition is in the latter innings. Rich Nanda, the US Monitor Deloitte Practice Leader at Deloitte Consulting, offers a contrary perspective.

Main Takeaways

  • Consultation with Specificity and a Broad Vision: With the intensity of digital transformation happening across all sectors, consultants must adjust their skillsets. On one hand, they must have thorough domain expertise. Yet, on the other hand, consultants must be able to take a broader view as well in order to best guide their clients in these fast-moving times. 
  • Growth Versus Fixed Business Mindset: To be successful, leaders must adopt a growth mindset over a fixed mindset. A fixed mindsight is rigid and sees the world as locked in place. A growth mindset accepts that change is inevitable. With a growth mindset, change is seen as an opportunity rather than a problem.
  • Opportunities for Expansion: Projecting forward, there will be amazing opportunities for expansion. Companies will be in a position for more mergers and acquisitions. Some companies will jump outside their typical lane to pursue more opportunities. Companies not traditionally thought of as intrinsically associated with tech, or software, may find unique opportunities to delve into new digital territories.

For a more in-depth look at this episode, check out the article below.

Article: 

With so much change happening at such a fast pace, the digital transformation process can feel like it must be extremely far along and, perhaps, near completion. Companies have been moving as speedily as possible to adapt their businesses to the digital realm and, in many cases, to create new digital territories altogether. If digital transformation was a baseball game, it could be easy to assume that the transition is in the latter innings. Rich Nanda, the US Monitor Deloitte Practice Leader at Deloitte Consulting, offered a contrary perspective.

We’re seeing seismic shifts, now, and for the next decade, maybe two, in terms of value chains getting shook up [and] the way companies make money and engage their customers changing fundamentally,” Nanda said. “And that’s all because of the digitization of our economy. We’re in the first inning. We’ve got a long way to go before we see all of the implications of a more digital economy.”

If it’s true that the digital transformation process is still at a fairly nascent stage, then companies are only scratching the surface digitally. There will be markets in the future that seem unimaginable today. Relationships with customers will look completely different too. This means that the potential for improvement to people’s lives or making life more challenging, due to unexpected consequences, is beyond current comprehension. It also means that opportunities for business growth or difficulties will be much more pronounced. Adaptable leaders and helpful guidance will be more imperative than ever.

On a recent episode of IT Visionaries, Nanda explained how consultants during this transformative period must provide expertise yet also a broad vision. He also chatted about his book The Transformation Myth: Leading Your Organization into an Uncertain Future that he co-wrote along with Gerald C. Kane, Anh Nguyen Phillips, and Jonathan R. Copulsky. The book details how certain styles of leadership can be helpful during times of intense disruption and transformation.

Due to all this disruptive change, Nanda pointed out that clients are asking profound questions about their businesses.

The nature of client questions is getting bigger and more existential, which is exciting for us as consultants,” Nanda said. “It can be intimidating for some of our clients, but I think executives that are embracing the moment are likely to be better off than those that are trying to make their problems and opportunities smaller in nature.” 

According to Nanda, these big questions require consultants that can go deep in their expertise and wide in terms of their analysis to provide answers.

“We need strategy practitioners that deeply understand the dynamics in a given sector because serving a patient in healthcare and life sciences is very different than serving somebody who wants the next show to binge-watch,” Nanda said. “But having said that, what’s really interesting is not only is sector depth important, but there’s so much outside in disruption now; particularly from the tech companies that you can’t be blinded by what you know in your sector. So it’s this really interesting combination of sector expertise with some outside in thinking about the trends and likely disruption that’s coming from outside of a given known value chain.”

There’s little doubt that digitization is requiring all sorts of leaders, from consultants to CEOs, to conceive the world differently in order to succeed. The book that Nanda recently co-wrote, The Transformation Myth: Leading Your Organization into an Uncertain Future, suggests that the first step toward success is moving beyond the idea that transformation is a singular activity.

“The myth is that transformation is this one and done project or event,” Nanda said. “When in fact, the best companies are continuously transforming themselves. In a more uncertain world where change is continuous and frankly technological innovation is faster than it’s ever been before, you just have to expect that you’re going to be continuously adapting to that environment, [and] continuously making big changes to the company and that the steady state really isn’t all that steady.” 

In The Transformation Myth, there is a thematic focus on how a growth or fixed mindset impacts business organizations. 

“We draw a contrast between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, and this isn’t a new business or academic concept, but [we are] overlaying it on to managing disruption and seeing disruption as an opportunity versus a problem that has to be solved,” Nanda said. “Why does some company see disruption as an opportunity versus others see it as a threat? It does come down to this leadership mindset that is more growth oriented…Leaders that have a growth mindset tend to be more willing to experiment. They tend to be more willing to partner with non-traditional players. They tend to allow failure in the organization knowing that all innovation is going to lead to some failures.” 

With this growth mindset, some failures are seen as part of an adaptable strategy of accepting disruptions while pursuing success. Curiously, companies seeking to avoid failure by operating within a rigid framework tend to struggle.

“The companies that are getting it wrong are the ones that will say, ‘Look, I have 12 months, this is what we can put into it and then, we have to be at that end state in 12 to 24 months or whatever,’’’ Nanda said. “That’s a fixed mindset, right? That’s seeing finish lines as destinations rather than as future building blocks.”

Instead, successful leaders set a course for the future where each opportunity builds on the last as they anticipate an ever-changing future. There’s an interesting paradox in that, in reality, there is no fixed state, yet the one steady thing leaders can hold onto is that change is always happening. By operating within these seeming oppositions, leaders can see change as an opportunity rather than means to a destination. 

To hear more about how leaders who accept perpetual change are best equipped to lead their companies to success, check out the full episode of IT Visionaries!

To hear the entire discussion, tune into IT Visionaries here

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Episode 328