“Life is short, be wise and live it broad.”
This is the slogan that I strive for, from both a private and professional perspective. I encourage my team to do the same and take on new opportunities to enrich their professional life.
Especially in today’s time of digitalization, it has never been more important to be broadly positioned and open for changes. Big Data, mobile, hyperconnectivity, in-memory computing, Internet of Things, machine learning—we are at a very unique inflection point where these buzzwords are increasingly part of everybody’s daily (working) life. It is our responsibility as tech leaders to ensure that every employee embraces the opportunities a digital environment offers.
I empower my employees to experiment with new learning tools and technologies, encouraging them to work lean, to fail, and to celebrate successes. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, “The biggest failure you can do in life is fearing to fail.” Winston Churchill put it this way: “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Both are absolutely true, not only for individuals but for any organization. Trying something that does not end up working is not only acceptable but desirable. That is the path to a culture of innovation: better fast than perfect!
Being agile and keen on taking on risks is key. We all know outstanding companies like Kodak, Blackberry, and HP that fell into the so-called “innovator’s dilemma” and lost their market leadership when confronted with disruptive changes. The solution starts with giving employees the freedom to try different approaches, to cast away old ideas and take new directions, to fail and to learn from mistakes.
You do not need to—and you cannot—do everything 100 percent. Rather, you must test the limits, be agile, and respond fast. A healthy combination of “quick-and-dirty” and “trial-and-error” allows quick failure, allowing you the chance to shift to the right direction early. This is what keeps employees engaged, empowered, and thriving.
For more strategies to help your employees embrace digital disruption, see Why Culture Change Is Essential For Digital Tranformation.