Why a Digital Transformation needs flow through organisational and substantive governance (1)
Published on Thursday, May 6th 2021
Governance of a digital-oriented organisation is a complicated matter because it requires a major shift in thinking in the minds of the management staff. To make things understandable I always use my favourite analogy of comparing playing billiards (old school governance) with cycling (new school governance).
To establish this shift, first an important question: what exactly is the difference between professional cyclists and players of billiards? They both work hard to increase or at least maintain performance of their capability. Interestingly, both work hard in their own, different way. If you try it for yourself, you will find out the difference in perceiving success in performance increase.
After many years of studying the manoeuvres and tactics of billiards we have found out that even if we reach the top, or get close to it, we always need to be satisfied with the acknowledgement that we have to be very patient in waiting for the successful moments.
Managers who decide to start cycling and build up this capability, will find out this is also a knowledgeable sport but with the big difference that gaining knowledge happens by starting and keeping on cycling. It is an antifragile system in which you learn automatically about little errors while conducting the sport. Talent helps, and great preparation and the right bike fit for purpose do too.
To ensure success in becoming a high performer, all managers in our boardrooms should start managing their enterprises in a cycling way. But without knowing what they should focus on they might feel lost. So, let’s explain the basics of the work a manager who decided to start cycling should begin with:
Interesting to think about: professional players of billiards who are very experienced and knowledgeable have worked so long and hard that they become the sport itself as soon as they arrive at the table, like Bruce Lee becomes water while performing kung fu. A nice read about this phenomenon is ‘Zen in the Art of Archery’ by Eugen Herrigel, published in 1953. Both Bruce Lee and billiards players should not need to think the moment just before they hit, this action should just be a reflex based on tacit knowledge in their vascular system. Not many people possess this level of capability performance. Managers rarely do. They keep on playing billiards just because they understand the tactics of planning, budgeting, control and risk.
In the upcoming weeks we will give concrete ‘cycling’ patrons on delivering flow through organisational and substantive governance. Stay tuned!