Humans are hard-wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Change doesn’t fall under either of those columns. Digital transformation (the reinvention of an organization through the use of digital technology to improve the way it performs and serves its customers) is steps beyond that and can actually eat change’s lunch.
Only true leaders know that to get anywhere worthwhile, you have to push past those basic instincts.
If you think change is painful, you’re really not going to like transformation.
Each of us has been affected by the recession and the ensuing disruption of every industry and institution on earth. During this time, most of us were forced to change on some level and it hasn’t really let up. Experiencing change on a personal, career, financial, physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual level (or some combination thereof) brings unease and often, anxiety.
It’s how well we adapt that keeps us moving forward.
I was recently on a Keynote panel at a large automotive conference. Nearly every question the audience submitted for us was rooted in an action that many are not prepared to face: change. Since we’re all just seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, providing answers they wanted to hear would’ve been the easy way out.
That’s not my style. I’ve always been pragmatic and authentic and this was not the time to stop. In the midst of digital transformation, telling companies and individuals what they want to hear makes me complicit in their undoing.
I have a former client who emphatically stated on a regular basis that he was onboard with digital marketing. Now that I look back on the time I spent with him, I believe he was trying to convince himself more than he was me.
In truth, he spent every day micro-managing and obstructing his marketing team, while focusing 90% of his attention on print, radio and TV – the mediums where they received negligible return on their investment.
Until we seek to observe our behavior with a fearless and unobstructed view, and examine each detail we find for places we’re stuck, digital transformation is a pipe dream.
I like to use this analogy: one morning, you look in the mirror and realize, “Hey, I need to get in shape.” The time between that moment of realization to the moment you actually take action represents your level of commitment to change.
The truth is, very few actually take action. They live in limbo, judging themselves, accomplishing many false starts, staying stuck and in many cases, never doing what it takes to achieve their desired goals.
Gallup: Americans’ desire to lose weight does not necessarily translate into their doing anything to achieve it. While 51% of adults want to lose weight, barely half as many (25%) say they are seriously working toward that goal. This discrepancy between Americans’ weight-loss desires and behavior has existed for years.
The behavior towards digital transformation is surprisingly similar.
Every industry is in the process of transformation. In order to keep up, individuals have to transform also.
In this digitally-transforming world, all signs point to a reckoning. The years of bad behavior by industries, institutions and individuals is catching up. Some would say it’s the law of karma. I also believe it’s humanity coming back to itself. It’s the longing in each of us to become better human beings.
In case you haven’t noticed (or maybe you’re choosing to ignore it), advertising to the masses isn’t working like it once did. No matter how badly you want things to go back to the way they were, the world around you is transforming.
- Generalized advertising is falling on deaf ears. The forces now require companies to look at their customers individually and provide information that makes them feel as though it was created specifically for them.
- Companies are scrambling to turn a profit while grasping onto their old comfortable ways of doing business. Everywhere you turn there seems to be another disruption. (The latest was Macy’s closing 100 stores).
- We are more connected than ever and societal upheaval is happening at every level. (case in point: Bernie Sanders was able to achieve astounding success that would not have happened even 4 years ago).
My friend Kevin calls himself an “agent of positive change.” He lives this credo in every facet of his life. He manages a large group of dealerships in Ohio. He regularly conducts employee trainings on the newest digital and customer experience processes. His forward thinking enables him to embrace change and he’s leading his company to succeed where many others are failing.
What we all must do is build a better house to live in.
The Universal Law: “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul.” -Hermes
Digital transformation is rooted in each individual’s personal growth. It lies in each of us who have the intention to achieve a greater and deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
The key is to take positive action.
The results our actions show up within us, our family, our community and our business. We must start from within on our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health. At one time, perhaps, we had the luxury of moving at our own pace but today, we must transform ourselves in order to truly thrive in this new economy.
Digital transformation begins with the individual.
We have to create our own freedom. Freedom to live the life we choose to lead, instead of living a life that’s been chosen for us.
James Altucher, noted author of “Choose Yourself” states: “We’re taught at an early age that we’re not good enough. That someone or something has to choose us in order for us to be complete. This feeling of insecurity overwhelms us. When we’re not chosen, we are a loser. When we are chosen – even by idiots – we are whole.”
It’s time to unlearn this imprisonment and choose ourselves – as within, so without. Change the course by taking care of our physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and health. Changes occur and we eventually realize the outcomes can be pleasurable, thereby satisfying our basic pleasure/pain principle.
Finally, as we transform ourselves, we gain the confidence and skill set to go out into the world and transform our companies and our world. We create and facilitate meaningful processes and what emerges is true digital transformation.