Nordic Business Forum 2013 – Jack Welch
I attended Nordic Business Forum 2013 in Finland which took place between 25th – 27th September, 2013. Jack Welch was one of the key speakers at the seminar and here are couple of his learning that can be easily applied to digital transformation, which many companies are undertaking.
Jack talked about having an inspirational vision that employees can relate to and build up solid execution around. I believe this kind of clear vision and priorities for digital execution are needed, in order to move manufacturing companies to the next generation of digitalization. Otherwise, companies are just implementing a lot of applications and various development initiatives, but they are not building up the real competitive advantage.
Speed and simplicity
In Nordic Business Forum Jack talked about yearly budgeting and planning which is totally nonsense. World is changing so fast that he suggest having rolling budgeting and quarterly planning. I fully support the idea and would work perfectly to the digital execution. I would say that it is ridiculous to wait for a year to get something bigger done. Digital planning and execution should be constant in order to get real results. Hierarchical and old fashioned thinking are one of the biggest hurdles of digital transformation. Constant digital improvements mean also accelerated speed. Welch also discussed about driving further simplicity, which will result in speed. This observation is again valid for digital development.
Empowerment and learning culture
Jack talked a lot about that the role of the Manager is to excite, energize people and to build up atmosphere of trust. This will again speed up execution, when employees rely on the company management and on each others.
In Nordic Business Forum he described the importance of having a learning culture in the company. Everyone should be hunger to learn, go outside the office and see the best examples.
I believe this is also the essence of successful digitalization. Companies need a lot of new competences that IT or marketing departments didn’t even image earlier. Now, you need a big data experts, mobile champions, web developers, productivity gurus etc. Departments and competences should be in a constant transformation. Without giving the power to the real execution, it is impossible to have agile and competitive digital development. Vision and direction needs to be clear to everyone, but execution should happen within the real people and not in the boardrooms of corporations.