What is Your Minimum Time to WOW?

I have noticed that as I get older, and hopefully wiser, time seems to move much faster. As a child, I remember sitting in a classroom staring at one of those huge industrial clocks guarding the doorway like a prison guard. I could almost hear the sound of the second hand as it ticked from second-to-second. Some days seemed so long I wondered if I would survive to see the top of the hour. Would I make it to lunch? And forget about the end of the school day; that would never arrive.

These days, I wake up on a Sunday morning, look at my children, and wonder where last year went. While there is no question I have grown older, I am convinced that time moves faster today than it did yesterday, last month, or last year.

I’m no physicist, but experience tells me that Einstein was right; the speed of light is constant, but time can change relative to the speed one is traveling. In today’s world, things are moving very quickly. Between the Internet, social media, the 24-hour news cycle, augmented and virtual reality, and the mobile supercomputers we all carry in our pockets, it feels like tomorrow is always much closer than it used to be.

Setting aside my nostalgia, I have begun to wonder how to articulate a strategy to allow each of us to benefit from this phenomenon of accelerating time.

What’s your “Minimum Time To WOW (MT2W)”?

The concept behind MT2W is simple… No matter what you are doing, what is the shortest possible path to that WOW moment? It is important to understand that WOW is not a synonym for perfect or complete. A WOW moment is best described as a feeling or state-of-mind; you know it when you “see it” or “feel it.” While there is no hard and fast rule, if it takes more than one week to get to a WOW, you probably need to look closer at what you are doing to see it can be broken down into smaller components or steps. Remember: The primary reason for MT2W is to drive ideas forward quickly.

I believe that WOWs can be singular moments, but can also be additive — many WOWs can combine to make one big WOW — and WOWs can also be transitive, each leading to the next.

Why do we need MT2W?

In business, an appreciation for MT2W is powerful because it empowers and encourages each of us to get moving and take risks. We need to embrace MT2W because it is complementary to the Instagram — SnapChat — Twitter — news flash — sound bite world in which we find ourselves. WOW moments are not only productive, but are self-fulfilling; one WOW usually leads to the next.

To twist Machiavelli, I would contend that a chain of WOWs (the means) will predictably yield a positive result (the end). From this perspective, the means will justify the end. I like to think of WOW moments as the periodic tastings a chef performs while cooking a meal. If everything tastes good along the way, it is unlikely the meal will be anything less than delicious when it reaches the table.

The next task or project you are doing, ask yourself, “What is my MT2W?” I talk about Outcomes-Based Thinking a little bit more in this ebook

About the author:

Tal Golan (@TalGolan) is the Chief Strategy Officer at VERB.

The Paradox of Enterprise Transformation

Enterprise transformation is a hot topic these days. Thanks to the catalysts of climate change, energy prices, and disruptive start-ups like Tesla, the worldwide automotive industry is being forced to re-imagine its collective future. Virtually every business, company or organization is either evaluating the best course of action for their respective transformation or is about to embark on their journey.

What is the Paradox of Enterprise Transformation?

All enterprise transformation is, conceptually, the same. To implement an effective and sustainable transformation, every enterprise, business, or organization must specifically address the degree of collaboration between “the business” and IT. To be effective and sustainable, any transformation will fundamentally alter the entire organization’s relationships with its key constituencies (internal and external) and will challenge the validity of all internal dogma.

Paradoxically, despite the fact that every enterprise transformation is the essentially the same, in practice, the journey each enterprise follows, like a snowflake, will be entirely unique.

A paradox is “a statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is perhaps true.”

Merriam-Webster generically defines transformation as “an act, process, or instance of change in composition or structure, a change to the outward form or appearance, or a to change in character or condition.” This elemental definition establishes the fact that “transformation” is a synonym for “change.”

To make this more applicable to business, I offer the following definition from William B. Rouse (Tennenbaum Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology):

“Enterprise transformation concerns change, not just routine change but fundamental change that substantially alters an organization’s relationships with one or more key constituencies, e.g., customers, employees, suppliers, and investors. Transformation can involve new value propositions regarding products and services, how these offerings are delivered and supported, and how the enterprise is organized to provide these offerings. Transformation can also involve old value propositions provided in fundamentally new ways.” (A Theory of Enterprise Transformation)

Why it’s important to understand the paradox?

No matter the industry or enterprise, effective and sustainable transformation (a.k.a. change) is extremely challenging to achieve. I have listened to dozens of “C-level” executives as they struggle to articulate both the “What?” and “How?” when it comes to the transformations they know their organizations must accomplish.

In 1604, Christopher Marlowe published “Doctor Faustus.” In the play, Mephistopheles tells us “to the unhappy it is a comfort to have had company in misery.” In other words: “Misery loves company.”

While understanding the “Paradox of Enterprise Transformation” does not fix the problem on its own, it does serve to provide some much-needed perspective. If you are an enlightened executive who has been asked to lead an enterprise transformation, you are in good company. Not only are your peers on the journey, but each is also finding the journey challenging and fraught with pitfalls.

During my conversations, I am inevitably asked the question: “When is the best time for us to get started?” My response: “If you are asking the question today, you should have started 12 months ago.” To suggest that “time is of the essence” is a major understatement.

The 2nd half of this decade will be clearly marked by those businesses who recognized and embraced the requirement for sustainable enterprise transformation from those who did not. I can say, without hesitation, the winners (a.k.a. the survivors) will be the businesses for whom adaptability to sustained transformation becomes embedded into its culture and perceived as a key competitive advantage.

I will also offer one approach to preparing for meaningful and sustainable change. As I outline in this white paper, starting from the beginning — defining a desired outcome, no matter how bold or provocative — will help those who chose to break free from old habits. It used to be cliché to say: “The only thing constant is change.” Moving forward, the only businesses that will thrive are those willing to embrace the fact that adaptability to constant change defines what it means to be in business.

About the author:

Tal Golan (@TalGolan) is the Chief Strategy Officer at VERB.