Squirrels are a top culprit in the disruption of power grids. Electrical disruptions caused by squirrels are common and widespread. For example, between Memorial Day and August 31, 2013, 50 power outages caused by squirrels were recorded in 24 U.S. states. The squirrels tunnel under fences, bypass motion detectors, and will damage electrical cables by biting them. Bad workflows are like squirrels. They gnaw away at the operational performance of your company.
The cost of inertia
Bad workflows are part of too many employee and customer experiences. Nothing to see here folks, move along. Even though the losses add up to millions of dollars, the company will ignore past decisions as if the workflows are the cost of doing business. Legacy workflows are not the cost of doing business; they are the cost of inertia. It is a sad state of affairs when we are so accustomed to our constraints, we lose our ability to imagine what’s possible.
He who is brave is free. - Seneca
Who loses in this state of affairs? Your stakeholders. Employees, customers, partners, suppliers, and investors. You can wake your company up. CIOs can lead by example, change course, and make an impact on the business.
Be the business champion your company requires
As the CIO, this is your moment to become much more relevant to your CEO. Your mission or raison d'etre is to say, “no more” to business losses caused by poor workflows that disrupt productivity. Position yourself correctly as the champion for the necessary digital changes that deliver not only short-term business benefits but also a long-term answer to the game with new rules. The brutal truth in a digital-first world is inertia creates a competitive and existential risk to your company. Get control of the workflow risk now before the problem grows due to employee and customer expectations.
Digital expectations have changed
The root of your company’s biggest problem is you are in the middle of a generational gap. The previous answers won’t solve for a demanding digital future heavily influenced by millennials and powered by easy software. Who is demanding this effortless software? How about your employees and customers? Lose the best ones, and all is lost. Alas, you must innovate or watch your company sail into a stormy sea of uncertainty and risk.
Read the room
Unless you have a fantastic and visionary CEO, you will require a short-term example that shows momentum. Short-term success is a catalyst for a world of possibilities. Think big and start small. Don’t scare off the bunny (the leadership team and board) with an expensive vision that threatens budgets.
Again, if you have a visionary CEO, you could be in the position to accelerate change. One must read the room. Often, non-visionary leaders are former visionaries who met frustration. They have lived through a significant project failure or heard cautionary tales about an overreach. That’s why a successful first project gives you a foothold.
Create a diamond in your pocket with your own success story
If you begin with a modest project or advisory workshop, you can provide an example or guidance for enterprise-wide change. Think of your leadership team and board as investors. Most likely, they will understand the big idea of what you are proposing, but understanding will not be enough to turn the tide. Investors require proof and guidance to keep investing. Corporate budgets flow like water to what works to improve the core of the business and growth. Your company can address risk and performance by replacing legacy workflows that are gnawing away at productivity with more elegant workflows made for a digital world.