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Digital Transformation or Death, Our Only Options!

As I prepare for the launch of my book “The Digital Transformation Success Formula”, I am often asked by friends who are not in the technology field “What is Digital Transformation?” That is a great question to ask and a great place to start. I say “start” because digital transformation will impact your life one way or another, like the industrial era had impacted your life and that of our parents. Whether you are aware of it or not, you will be making a choice between “digital transformation or death”. Leaders will have to decide first. I help them make the right decisions and guide them to succeed when they choose digital transformation.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is how the latest digital technologies combined with strategic business innovation are reshaping the actual era, reinventing businesses, organizations and our lifestyles.  Many professions as we know them today will disappear in a couple of years. Many of you have already changed careers or experienced the loss of a job. We see many “ends” but digital transformation also offers many “beginnings” and that is what I want to guide you to take advantage of.


Digital Transformation and Leadership

Technology itself is evolving fast, but it will not create the transformation by itself. I have as proof the many millions euros/dollars technology and business projects that I had the opportunity to either manage, lead, participate in or witness in the corporate world (and especially in Fortune 500 companies) over the last 20 years. In fact, relying too much on technology is the number one reason for technology project’s failure.  Leaders are creating the transformation. Our lifestyles, businesses and organizations will be how our leaders shape them. My new book, “The Digital Transformation Success Formula” is aimed at leaders so they can transform themselves first, and then transform our organizations, businesses, and lives efficiently.


Are you a leader?

Every leader, no matters your title, your industry, or your work status as an entrepreneur or an employee, you want to be involved. Join my group of Digital Transformation Leaders by opting in for the 1st report, “The N°1 Formula for Digital Transformation.” Just click the link to the portal below. Check out the blog on the site as well. I’ll keep you posted soon about the launch event for the Digital Transformation Leaders platform, as well as the book launch.


You won’t want to miss the launch event.

I’ll bring together a great panel of experts to deliver value to you on several aspects of digital transformation. Furthermore, for one hour, you will be able to download the Kindle version of the book for free. That’s not all. You will also be able to purchase the printed “The Digital Transformation Success Formula” book at a reduced price, all during a limited period of time. Additionally, there will be several other gifts to win.


Opt-in and join our group at www.digitaltransformationleaders.com.

Once you opt-in, I’ll then send you a private invitation for the launch event, coming in November and the Digital Transformation Report. You’ll also receive a video training on how to “Create Your Digital Transformation Vision in 7 Days”, for free.

See you there!

Nadia Vincent

6 Things every Project Manager Must Know About Digital Transformation

Are you leading one or more digital transformation projects? Be ready to embrace a new type of project management with more change-based leadership and individual transformation involvement than you have before.

  1. You must move from the traditional project management triangle and adopt the new rectangle for the project involving change and transformation leadership.

Digital transformation is not about one change but multiple changes that will    create the transformation. Your most effective management of time, cost        and scope can easily be sabotaged by disengaged individuals, making you      look like a novice.

  1. Your team now extends beyond your traditional stakeholders in terms of your competitors, influencers, your clients, their kids, their friends and their little knuckle-head friend on Facebook.

Digital transformation is about innovation and business efficiency.           Innovative ideas are born out of people’s experience, whoever they are. We have moved to a social era where social media trends, shares, and happenings shape our reality and possibilities. You get to use that as an extended resource.

  1. You must and should go ahead and find out about the plan of other leaders in your organization, and it’s necessary to keep an eye on what they are doing.

With the many changes happening in different parts of your organization besides business-as-usual, expect any other ongoing plan to change at any time, impacted by the market, or whatever other factors. You don’t want to be aware of it last or after finding out how it impacted your agreed deliveries negatively. Also change in other part of your organization can impact positively your strategic plan, giving you leverage that you did not have to start with.

  1. Don’t even think of complaining about your plan changing too often. Consider it the standard way. Like in point 3 above, be ready to change your plan, adjust it or reinvent it at any time. Your plan was one of the possible alternatives and should be adopted after proper strategic planning. At the same time, great strategic planning will allow you to choose another previously spotted possibility or to create one from nothing.
  1. The vision is not only for the top executives, as project managers must own the vision as well whether you created it or not. Otherwise you may get sidetracked as you implement changes indefinitely. When you don’t own the vision, it is difficult to engage your team and lead them successfully. Engaging your team gives you the dynamic to create digital transformation successes!
  1. Whether your title has “digital transformation” in it or not, most change and transformation projects in organizations today are related to digital transformation.

That is because digital transformation is not about the technology itself but about improving the business so that it prospers in the digital age. The technology is used as support for making the transformation happen, but the deeper transformation is to be created and maintained by people. When the people experience / leadership aspect is neglected, the organization may get lost in implementing changes and turning in a circle but never evolving. It will be as such until the organization changes its approach or until it can’t survive anymore, and there happens a type of business cannibalization.

Nadia Vincent


How to Not Lose Your Shirt while Leading Digital Transformation

The digital era is the time for inspiring and impactful leaders. We are no longer in a time where only the top manager commands, and everyone obeys or follows regardless anymore. Therefore your organization expects you to inspire them and make a positive impact in their organization and their future. Otherwise, you may quickly lose your shirt and more in this volatile market.

You’ll need real support from experienced leaders and facilitators while personalizing things for your business and most importantly, taking action. You position calls for a truly evolved and transformed person with a harmonious blend of skills and a broad personality. You are one of the brand new inspiring and insightful leaders of the digital age: you are a Digital Transformation Leader.

Therefore, being a Digital Transformation Leader who wants to live up to the highest expectations, here are 10 rules to act on so that you can succeed in your mission.

1.     Don’t look to please everyone but set to inspire everyone to be transformed.

2.     Understand that your people do not want the changes but they want the rewarding transformation.

3.     Do not force them to accept change, for you won’t experience success this way, rather you can lead them to embrace the changes themselves and succeed together.

4.     Never fire anyone, but instead release individuals from their end-of-cycle positions, and sometimes reassign them.

5.      Don’t be responsible for everyone’s individual happiness but for the business performance and sustainability. On the other hand, create an environment that promotes individual happiness, performance improvement and therefore organizational success.

6.     Invest in the best digital technologies for your business, without relying too much on the technology but making the business the true driver.

7.     Invest as much in people as you invest in digital technology, because as rewarding as it can be investing in technology, investing in people is even more rewarding for your organization both in the short and the long term.

8.     Start the digital transformation with your personal transformation first, because you will be shaping the future of your organization and it will be a reflection of your mindset.

9.     Create the best leadership support team that you can, because you can’t do it alone.

10. Innovate and leverage the organization, customers and prospects innovative potential.

To support you and help you live to your organization’s expectations, I make it my commitment for you to succeed personally, professionally and holistically.

Join our Digita Transformation Leaders Community for updates about digital transformation.

Does IT fly or hinder business?

Technology is the motor, the power that help fly business. It should provide speed, flexibility, powerful options and security. IT should in no way hinder business. If it appears that business is slowed down by IT, then business and IT alignment or integration must be reconsidered. Fortunately, that is not rocket science.

Here are five key areas to look at when looking into empowering business and creating more business and IT alignment.

Business Processes
Is everybody aware of which business we are in and how our objectives are achieved? This may sound like a dumb question, but I can tell you that it has power if it is well known.

2. Infrastructure (capacity, automation, technical processes).

Is the infrastructure capable of supporting the business adequately? Are we wasting time processing manually recurring jobs that could have been automated? Do these technical jobs processing “officially” exist?

3. Document Management and sharing

There is no excuse for lack of document management and sharing today. Still many organizations, especially international and global teams, are doing it the old way. This is an ineffective and time consuming, therefore, an expensive choice. Organizations that invest in an effective document management system, and apply it, never look back.

4. Operational procedures

As much as businesses need well defined and effective procedures, operation as well needs theirs. I don’t mean expensive brand name in a poorly customized, and barely known, organization. I mean procedures that team members apply regularly and can easily tell you, often from the top of their head if asked. Now, here is a big solution driven question to help you and your organization, “how are these procedures related to the business processes?”

5. Communication flow in the organization

When and how do businesses with IT interact, and when in the process? Can you identify more phases in the process where communication flow can be improved? I know that each party often prefers to not communicate much except for integration or validation some time later. Some believe that they will not be slowed down by the other. As much as there is truth in that, delaying communication until integration or acceptance cause more wasted time than aligning earlier in the process. Furthermore it costs more and causes more conflicts.

By improving in the above areas, you can fly business and IT to a higher level! They have worked for me and my clients over the years. I offer the complete step by step approach in a program that organizations can easily apply.

Here is more power for your organization!!!

Successful Change Project Gets ROI, Cake, Promotion and Fun

For years I have studied the differences between successful change project implementation compared to the projects that fail.

Firstly, it is not an easy process because this exercise required me to completely drop my ego in order for it to be successful. While I am proud to say that I have implemented several change projects successfully, keep in mind that I’ve had to continuously make references to both successes and failures to achieve great results.

After all, I was involved in two major change projects where ROI was an illusion. One of these projects never moved forward, and the other one was so chaotic that it led most of the participants to either take the exit door, get disengaged or eventually burn out.

Succesful Project Team Celebrates

Succesful Project Team Celebrates

In fact, while my successful projects implementation got me to brag and feel great about my achievements, it was the failed projects that motivated me enough to go beyond my limits, reach out to people in different fields of expertise, and collaborate to help me uncover the secrets of successful and unsuccessful change project implementation.

As a change leader, here are a few key aspects to focus on in order to deliver your change project successfully.

1. Change implementation as well as change adoption is a process.

Don’t expect people to change habits built up over years or decades with a couple of days of training. Training alone is not enough; people need support and guidance during the process, which is valid both for the leaders and the participants. In addition to training, also provide your team with coaching and guidance - or else, the change you are trying to create may just send everyone in a circle.

2. You are about to move some powerful energy.

Never underestimate the magnitude of the combined forces that you are about to face when moving people out of their comfort zone.

Neuroscience demonstrates to us that our brain is made for survival, and that it protects us from unfamiliar and doubtful situations. Organizations are made with people, and regardless of what powerful technology we use, we must remember that it is human minds who command or operates such technology and processes. With such knowledge, it’s clear that leading people should be one of our main priorities when implementing change.

3. Transformation requires disruption and realignment.

The entire process is both eventful and impactful for everyone involved. Therefore great communication and clear documentation are important for analysis and decision making.

Up to date business and technical requirements and change historic are very precious when changing anything. It is important to know what an information system is made of, as well as its contributors and dependents. For instance, it is important to know when the dependents use it, for what purpose and how they use it. Trial and error can save the day but not always. In addition, roll-backs are not always successful, either.

4. Top management support is always needed at some point.

Even if they intervene just once on a project, it may be the one time that saves the project.

Decision making is a crucial and recurring element of a change project, but often middle-management will shy away from the hard decisions; as such decisions may impact departments or services other than their own. No one can implement change by himself/herself so build a great support team. Implementing change requires teamwork, which is why there is also a need for good leadership.

5. Soft skills are a must!

Transformation and change involve continuous learning, innovation, creativity, communication and problem solving.

Change is also about the experience that the people are having; and experiences lead to emotions and feelings. Since you are at the mercy of your emotions and other people emotions, then emotional intelligence is key.

6. Plans are often useless but strategic planning is essential

You don’t plan for the plan itself, because it is just one outcome that is going to change constantly. You plan to not only know what to expect and prepare for, but also to define your vision, leverage your resources, create a roadmap, milestones, goals, risks and contingencies. Every fool can make a plan but it takes great leadership and visionary skills for an effective strategic planning. The lack of visionary strategic planning is the number 1 cause of failure in change projects.

7. Lead By example

I find this Leo Tolstoy quote to have a lot of meaning:

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

When you open yourself to change, you automatically shut down your defenses, your ego and open yourself to possibilities. In the land of possibilities, your vision enlarge, your self-knowledge is improved, your empathy developed, preparing you to lead others by example. Leading by example is the most reliable, trustworthy and lasting leadership and is applicable at all level and in every field.

8. Bring on the cake!

Not just at the end of the project but I suggest to do it for each big milestone. Celebrate the lessons learned, the achievements and the people making the transformation. Cake is a powerful symbol and even for people who don’t like cake. You can’t go wrong with the message.

M.Nadia Vincent

When Ego Dominates The Need For Solutions

Change is a challenging experience for most participants and even more for the leader. This is a true story of mine.

Once, I was to help an organization with a challenging innovation project that was delayed for 2 years. The project fell apart during the integration phase. It was difficult to trace the root cause of the main system failure because the team who developed that system had left the company and there was little documentation written for the system.

Still, after about 3 months of solution assessment, data gathering and system monitoring with a collaborative team, we finally identified the broken link. I elaborated the strategy to fix it and presented it to John, the project portfolio manager before I would present it to the project steering committee.

I presented the solution to John with great energy and dedication. He was very focused and listened to me with few interruptions. Afterward, we scheduled a meeting for 1 week later to present the new approach to the steering committee.

Two days later, John informed me that the steering meeting was postponed. Then, a week later, by the coffee machine, another executive tells me, “Too bad you could not make it to yesterday’s meeting. John explained that the team was on a good path but unfortunately it was overrated.”

Before I could discuss the situation with John, I was receiving some last minute requests for menial tasks, followed by many reminders. Next, my working hours were closely monitored and commented on. There was never a good time to present the solution to the steering committee for the priority had changed. But why? No reason was found.

The following week, I was called in for a meeting with John.

“Well Nadia, I know that you are good with providing solutions, but things have changed here, and in this organization, though things are not so well, we do certain things different than your way. Therefore, I must inform you that I have to end your contract.”

What happened, really? The failure came from a development phase that John was leading 2 years ago before I arrived on the project. He was so afraid that the other executives would blame him that he chose to hide the findings as well as the solution.

His decision to conceal the facts has cost the company several hundred thousand euros more than the millions that were engaged and at risk.

John’s ego was bigger than his need for a solution that would have moved the project forward.

As Diana Black says: “Big egos are just big shields to lots of empty space.”

When a consultant is hired, it is to deliver solutions. I did a great job and my greatest satisfaction would have been to see that the solutions I delivered made a difference for my client.

Was it the company culture, a blaming prone environment that made John conceal the solution? Or was it because of John’s insecurity and the size of his ego?

It appeared to be both to me. Therefore it is important to develop transformational leadership and emotional intelligence across the organization so that people accept that errors can be made at any time and that identifying them should not make them feel threatened.

A leader’s greatest satisfaction should be in what he/she leads other to achieve and not of his/her own ego. In fact, great leaders manage their ego to a point that whenever they are entering a room or a building to serve, they leave their ego at the door.

Leaders, can you do that? If not, it can be learned, fortunately.

Change Implementation Disillusion; or the Audacity of Change?

Change Dillusion

Change Dillusion

Just one year ago, I contacted a CIO and proposed my training and coaching service for a large change project that they would implement internationally, with a budget of nearly a billion of euros.

Just for clarity, I’ll name the CIO “Collins”.

Collins assured me that they had the best employees to carry the project in-house, including some external consultant from a well-known company. Some of the leaders were following a change-management training and using a well-known method. Therefore my help would be obsolete.

I explained to the CIO that things may not go as smoothly as he thought and why. To which he said “thank you” and politely turned down my offer to help.

A few days ago, I reconnected with Collins to see if I could help with anything. The first question he had for me was “How did you know all that?”

Surprised, I asked, “May I please ask you to clarify what ‘all that’ means?”

Collins then went on to explain to me how he spent part of his end-of-year holiday thinking about the conversation we had back in the beginning of the year. He first thought that it was pretentious for me to warn him about several pitfalls, considering his 28 years of experience and the caliber of the team and resources the organization had. But now, they were experiencing just what I had warned him about, which caused him some sleepless nights.

Collins asked again, “Did you read about that in a book?”

“No,” I answered, “but I wish I had. More than reading about that, I lived, experienced and studied that. However, I’ve been writing the book that I wished had warned me about that and it will be available in a few months.”

Looking back on my career, a few years ago I was so challenged by two change projects that I decided to challenge change implementation right back. With that I created and developed an outstanding change management and leadership coaching program. Here are a few golden points.

It is never people that are disengaged but visions that are disengaging.
Many highly competent change leaders perform less while implementing change due to high emotional stress and how the human brain functions. They need an outsider coach to perform best. It is scientifically proven.
Matrix organization is economic but with low team spirit, it increases cost as it decreases production.
Two top bottlenecks in change implementation in order of impact are 1: the leaders and 2: the team. Invest in them before the technology and methodology.

Cost Cutting is Expensive While Effectiveness is Free and Rewarding

Heather let go of the door handle as she walked out of her superior’s office, confused and in disbelief. She took a deep breath as if to renew her strength, and she let sink in what was just asked of her. She was asked to submit her plan to reduce by 20% her department’s budget and still deliver the department’s services and ongoing projects for the year.

She looked at Justin, who preceded her from the meeting. Justin received the same assignment. He walked at a slow pace, before turning half-way toward Heather to start a conversation.

“How in the world can we make this happen without compromising the many ongoing and high priority projects? That’s not realistic. How are you going to do it Heather?”

To which Heather answered. “I don’t know yet but what I know is that my team is very busy day after day with short deadlines, and reducing headcounts will surely causes more delays in service delivery.”

This happened about one year ago. Both Heather and Justin got to work to deliver their assignments.

Justin’s Approach

Justin submitted his cost-cutting plan for his department on time as requested. The following was a summary of his proposition, which was designed to be fully effective in 3 months’ time. Let go of 3 external consultants and then redistribute their work.
Five full-time employees would be terminated and their work also redistributed.
The priority order of several deliveries would be modified.
Most project-delivery dates to be postponed to later dates.
Extras, such as free access to the coffee machine for the employees, would be suppressed. The vending machines would stay in the building and employees would pay for their own drinks.
Quarterly team activity was to be eliminated.
As a result Justin’s plan would reduce costs by 20% in 3 months, and the delivery schedule would be modified.

The plan was accepted and implemented in Justin’s department.

Heather’s Approach

Heather acknowledged that she was operating with only the bare essentials after she had already cut so much during the last five years. So she reached out and asked me if I could help. I then asked Heather more info about the department, their business, and technical operations. We agreed that we needed more time to deliver a sustainable cost reduction plan. Therefore, Heather negotiated and was granted another month before submitting her plan.

During that time, we reviewed the business and technical processes, the tools used, the organization structure, teams, the roles, and the outside collaboration in Heather’s department. We worked with the team leaders to find answers for many questions. Together, we analyzed every aspect of her department to create more efficiency throughout.

Her proposition could be summarized as such:

Several business processes were to be either shortened, improved or suppressed and five new business processes were created.
Three technical processes were to be optimized, then automated.
Two positions were to be eliminated and ten others modified.
Two services were to make use of one existing tool instead of the two exactly similar ones they were each using, reducing maintenance cost, licensing fees and duplicate work.
New rules were to be defined for more effectiveness.
Coaching sessions to be delivered to several teams as they adopted the new work approach.
As a result, the department would increase delivery capacity by 15% while reducing cost by 18% over a 6-month period.

Heather’s proposition was accepted and implemented for her department.

Post Implementation One Year Later:

Justin’s Department

Justin had a harsh time implementing the plan in his department as it caused more stress, conflicts and dissatisfaction in the organization while decreasing production. Employee morale went down and has remained there, since there is no improvement to look forward to.

The elimination of free coffee and their quarterly get-together created for them an environment of lack, poor recognition, decreased collaboration, and decreased in reliability.

The clients were very disappointed with the delayed deliveries. To make matter worse, they experienced a high turnover rate, causing them to be even further behind in project delivery.

Heather’s Department

Heather’s department is now running effectively and delivering more, at a faster rate than before, and at a lesser cost. In fact, after the implementation and up to the present day, the cost is now reduced by 22%.

Cost reduction should be a search for improved effectiveness first. Approaching cost cutting as a search-and-destroy mission to cut all extras or reducing only the immediately apparent costs just decreases productivity and therefore ends up costing the company more per production.

How many processes, tools, and roles are outdated, duplicated, irrelevant, and/or repetitive in our units? How about the ones that no one know ‘why’ they exist? Or the multiple tools that our teams use when just a few of these tools can be used by more or all of the teams? How many manual processes can be automated?

In summary, cost reduction is costly, but effectiveness is free as it pays for itself with increased productivity. The good news is that each one of us at our own levels can create some more effectiveness.

Do you need help for creating more effectiveness? Contact me and let’s do it!

M. Nadia Vincent