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Building a digital business is a journey. Before moving forward, it helps to have a strong vision for where you are going. Is clear? How many of your team is on board?

The vision will permeate everything. It comes way before strategy or culture building. The objective is to become mature in all your capabilities. It will require change. It requires tight alignment of all the moving parts.

A vision is a clear vivid mental image of what you want your business to be at some point in the future, based on your goals and aspirations. Having a vision for your digital business will give your a clear focus, and can stop you from heading in the wrong direction.

It is easy to get focused on doing things right. That is noble. Process and tactical projects are important.

How about getting clear on the doing the right things before doing things right? Think about it. How much time has been devoted to that effort by your senior team? Is it clear? Is it compelling?

Creating the vision isn’t easy. It is, in fact, tough work. Without the vision it is highly likely your team is “doing the wrong things right.”

The need for urgency drives us all to do something now. That is understandable. There are some compelling problems to solve. No fault there. Being digital is about speed.

It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition. You can move fast while you are building agreement on the vision. In fact, that is the preferable route to go. Execution informs vision, goals and strategy. The planning side is a continuum and it is iterative.

How motived is the team? Are they excited by where you see going? It starts with you. You have to be invested in the journey. You have to model empowerment. You have to be excited. You have to be clear.

Your clarity and excitement as a leader will carry through to others. If not you, then who? Vision can’t be delegated as a hands off effort of subordinates. Your enthusiastic vision will drive high performance and business results.

Now there is some hard reality to deal with. Your employees aren’t engaged and aren’t on board. Statistically, more than two-third of employees do not engage in the work they do. You should have that data for your company. If you don’t please get on board with knowing the truth. Without hard facts, symptoms will be casually treating rather than attacking the root causes of disengaged employees. This needs to be figured out. There are great diagnostic tools available. They aren’t used as often as they should be.

Creating a digital business has a lot to do with empathy. Understanding why employees don’t get the vision requires huge empathetic capabilities. Inspiration doesn’t just happen by telling people to do better. How inspired are most of your employees? Can they articulate the vision?

This is a leadership challenge.

  • How prevalent is that leadership?
  • Are the gains of the vision well known and believed by leadership?
  • What will happen to profitability under the vision?
  • How will agility be improved?
  • What learning will occur?
  • How will your market expansion be improved?
  • Will your culture change? How?
  • What will the rate of innovation look like?
  • How will employee engagement and retention improve?

In the vision, it also helps to look at the mix you have between physical and virtual (digital). Is your approach presence-based? Does everyone have to be onsite?

Creating some level of virtual capabilities can increase engagement as trust is established to allow employees to decide where and how to work. It’s not about “just showing up”. Or is it? It will help to be able to articulate this to the new wave of employees who just believe it or even care.

Is your leadership all about loyalty? Digital workers want to be engaged. They want to make a difference. Can they? Is compliance the most important thing? What happens when performance is mostly knowledge based? What are the capabilities around agile critical thinking? Is that a part of the skill set?

Culture is simply collective behavior. It can be measured. It can be changed. Is fear of the unknown stifling innovation? Is fast failing the norm? Not knowing what will happen if we try something should be the norm. A culture of innovation and speed can be built. It has to be part of the vision.