Digital Transformation and the Upside-Down Organization

Author

Daniel Newman

November 8, 2016

Gone are the days when a company’s C-suite monopolizes decision-making. The traditional organization of a business—the C-suite at the top, employees executing their commands, and consumers accepting what decision-makers crank out—has been turned upside-down thanks to digital transformation. Now, the consumer is in the top position. Welcome to the future of business. 

Stay Agile with Digital and Staff Shake-Ups 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—your enterprise must adopt new technologies to stay agile. If the digital transformation hasn’t touched your business, I’m willing to bet you no longer have a business—not a thriving one, by any measure. Staying agile heading into 2017 requires a company to embrace the upside-down triangle of organization that frames today’s enterprises, which in turn is only possible with new technologies. Keeping up with the technological curve is crucial in an era where the customer is at the top of the organizational ladder.

To thrive in a market where the consumer holds the power, you must have a firm grasp on what the consumer wants. This entails crowdsourcing ideas from your customers and your employees. The modern business is only as strong as its following—something that is harder and harder to maintain. Success no longer stems from the brilliance of a few team members in the top tier, but from how well your company can listen to the bottom half of the equation. Thus, enterprise organization has been flipped on its head.

Put Your Consumers First

Today’s companies must let consumers make the decisions. They must also prioritize hiring and retaining talent. The people who produce the products your consumers use are your organization’s most important assets. Your front-line staff is no longer at the bottom of the totem pole, but in a crucial position toward the top—closest to the consumer, who is really in charge. As a business owner and a top-pyramid person, it may be difficult to do what today’s industry demands: Put yourself at the bottom of the pyramid. But without this major change in thinking, you risk falling by the wayside of your competitors.

Readjust Your C-Suite’s Priorities

Today, the C-suite needs to focus more on executing the new bottom-up strategy to facilitate success. Resisting this change is futile—it’s already here, and the most successful companies have embraced it. Change may not be easy, and you may wonder how you can turn your organization upside-down without creating chaos. My solution is to embrace digital transformation first, since it spawned the great shift:

‌• Learn from big data. The rise and ever-growing importance of big data to a company is one of the greatest facilitators of the upside-down organizational structure. The ability to find patterns and trends among buyer behavior and interactions with a company started the shift toward a consumer-centric business.

‌• Optimize for mobile. As consumers grow more connected to companies in real-time thanks to mobile technologies, it’s crucial to deliver what consumers want, when they want it. Mobile initiated the shift toward being a consumer’s go-to company in real-world situations.

‌• Listen to consumer feedback. The World Wide Web offers a wealth of opportunities to learn what consumers are saying about your brand. From avid Yelpers to a feedback area on your website, customer testimonials are incredibly important to fuel the new organizational structure. Consumers are at the top, and it’s your company’s job to do their bidding.

‌• Remove and repurpose certain systems. When tackling a great change like turning your structure upside down, it’s necessary to say goodbye to certain systems, such as the typical hierarchy in which the boss calls the shots. Since organization is mainly a mindset, cultivate a collaborative workplace culture in which you value what your employees have to say.

Teach each member of your C-suite to readjust priorities from being the exclusive decision-makers to embracing a communal business.

 

This article was written by Daniel Newman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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