How to approach digital transformation ?

Digital Transformation starts with the change in the mindset. Ability to change and adapt to the changing business environment through the transformation of process, culture, business model or even exploring different area to sustain the business interests. Digital transformation is a fundamental shift in our behaviour and the way we look at a problem in the form of solution.

In the same context of Digital Transformation,  Pramod Dhakal from Hitechies had a chance to talk to Lee Featherby of Powerful Points.

In this conversation :


  • Challenges with digital transformation 
  • Diversity at workspace. 
  • Culture of Innovation and diversity. 
  • What would  Quantum computing do ? 
  • What makes employee motivated to wake up early in the morning ? 
  • Alignment with vision and reality. 
  • Transformation from homogeneous culture towards heterogeneous culture
Lee Featherby : How to approach digital transformation

Furthermore into this conversation .....

The companies who were at least trying to go towards transformation of their own business. Now it has become almost a mandatory step towards rethinking the business. How do you see this evolution?
Look, business has constantly had to adapt and adjust with every sort of new innovation, you can go right back to PCs, you know surely this one is just part of the ongoing changing environment that businesses need to adjust to. A bit like King Cnut if you try and it’s just a fact fundamentally, so there’s so many unknowns around this at the moment in terms of is there going to be a vaccine that works, if there is a vaccine that works, when’s it going to be available, when that’s available how what impact is that going to have, one of the problems at the moment that nobody knows exactly where this is going, where this is going to end up. If you look at every other pandemic that we’ve had, going right back to the Spanish flu, two years have disappeared, swine flu too have disappeared, H1N1 which is what your Sarrs disappeared pretty quickly. Is this one going to disappear or is this going to hang around, who knows. So, I think one of the big problems that businesses face is they have to adapt and adjust in what they do and they are, in ways that are not necessarily significant in terms of just, restaurants in Australia at least have to capture the names of people who eat there, you know the businesses like ours have had to adjust in terms of the delivery, I don’t know how industries like tourism and exhibition spaces and art galleries and that sort of stuff, art gallery is not too bad but exhibition spaces, there are people I know whose business is a 50 million business just gone overnight because he’s no longer doing who used to have all the IAV equipment in the hotels for major meetings and that sort of thing, just all gone. Can you adjust a business in that to switch quickly to virtual meetings and virtual seminars, there are other people in the industry that were set up to do that, that you know companies that were doing webinars and that sort of thing are probably you know, get more opportunity than that. So it’s anyone that’s studying business knows that there are things that come along that change the nature of a business and some lose and some win, and this is just a really obvious one happening in a really condensed period of time.
Yeah, and it's a difficult time at the same time some business are able to adapt faster than the others or some businesses find a way around on how to adapt. Why do you think some are better equipped with the others, does that come down to the mindset of the leadership within the company?
Absolutely, it all happens from leadership. Some of it can be structural; you know there are certain structural aspects of business that you can’t change. The trouble with this is that no one saw it coming, so it was here as soon as is almost as soon as we saw it, and there are you know like for example; how does tourism change, how does hospitality change if you’re running a hotel that suddenly you don’t have any people coming into the country, you can somehow adapt your business I suppose to focus more on locals, but even during these lockdown situations or at the moment, that’s not a big opportunity it’s getting better at least in Australia. So, it’s a combination of leadership’s ability to look for and be prepared to and adapt to change, and some structural elements inside the industry and the business that will let that happen. And some businesses are going to fall by the wayside not through bad management; just through that industry doesn’t operate in a covid 19 world.
And what has covid 19 overall taught us, you know as far as being an entrepreneur is concerned?
Oh, that’s a really good question. One of the things, we have an office in china and one of the things that I learned quickly in about doing business in china was being agile, if you’re not prepared to be agile, if you’re not prepared to be flexible and move quickly and adapt and adjust then you won’t survive in china. It just simply won’t survive in china, it’s just that much of a dynamic market and I think covid has brought that into a world scale, you need to constantly be looking for new ways of doing business, new opportunities and it’s created new opportunities is for a large number of companies, this hasn’t been bad for every business. It’s been good for some businesses but our business, it’s been good for our business, it’s been good for you a large number of businesses has been bad for others. So, you know the ability to be constantly looking at the environment and learning to adapt the ability to, I think one of the big impacts of course has been people being able to work from home, it’s going to be interesting what impact that has on the office rental market in the longer term, but I think what has taught us is that you need to be agile, you need to be prepared to look at your business practices and your business models and be constantly refining them and seeing better ways to do things, it’s really brought technology to the fore. It’s always technology has always been strong but it has placed more emphasis on technology and communications than any time in the past.
You mentioned business model in the context of the way businesses operating for over a decade or two decades or any number of years their business is in operations and how do you see those businesses now, all of a sudden you know adjusting the business model itself?
A lot of people are still learning, they’re still experimenting, they’re sort of poking at the business environment and does that work, does this work, we’ve adapted our own, we do a fair amount of business in training and part of that, well the majority of that was actually done in a client’s organization and we would go there and we would spend a day there, working with them and then we’d say, thank you very much and here’s our bill and we’d go away and we’d follow up things like that. Obviously that doesn’t work anymore, so we tried a couple of things to say okay we need to do this digitally; so let’s try it this way which was, we cut out all the excess in it we really narrowed it down to the sort of key elements of it and tried to conduct it over four hours or digitally and that had some upsides and some downsides. So we looked at it again and we said; no we you know we can’t cut a lot of that important stuff out of it, it’s contextual but we can’t make people sit there for four hours and any there is more a mental demand in being attentive to a zoom meeting or a go-to meeting or then what there is in actually being in a room on the day, so we since redeveloped our training modules in in terms of three sessions of two hours fundamentally, and they can be run at certain days and we managed to structure in such a way that the data fits into those modules quite comfortably. So I think a lot of businesses are a bit like that, we’re finding out what works and we’ve just started marketing that particular program by the way, and it’s really got a strong response, not only in terms of, we’re now capable of doing courses for the public which we couldn’t and wouldn’t do before. We used to do courses, as I said we would go into a client company and work with that company but we wouldn’t have open seats and have to say we’re having a course on this day and try and market that, it just wasn’t viable for us to do that. Now, this new model system is actually really, really capable of doing that, we’re capable of taking two people from one client, three people from another, putting them all in the one room or in the one sort of digital room if you let me use that metaphor at the one time. So it’s opened up new ways of doing business that we hadn’t done before, I don’t think we’re that different, I think a lot of companies are as I said just poking at things and trying to find out what works and you know, adaption is literally a slow process, it’s rare that in my experience that any business in this has really picked on one change that’s been necessary and nailed it first off. They’ve had tried it some things have worked some haven’t, they picked out the good things and evolved their business model from that and that’s going to keep happening.
Interesting. And you know when you talked about transformations a little bit earlier and when a client comes to you and asks you to explain, because you know from the client's perspective, they are unaware of the digital transformations and for them being digital is digital transformation right. So, how do you explain a client about the concept of digital transformation?
It’s you know, we don’t deal in the domain where that’s necessarily an issue, we’re our main target market our large multinationals, you know blue chip companies, brands that most people would recognize, maybe on a consumer level McDonald’s, ALDI, major banks, Hyundai, Hermes even and you know these guys are switched on operators generally anyway, so we really haven’t struck anyone that’s gone you know, I want to go back to the days of the telephone and telex, these are people that have sort of understand that this is the way it is and what digitization means, what they don’t know in our senses is, how do they do that effectively. So how do I now communicate my sales message effectively, how do I communicate with my staff where my town hall meetings are now digital town hall meetings, how do I do that stuff in such a way that’s effective, because most people haven’t done a lot of that stuff in the past. So therefore, they’re not aware of the pitfalls of that, I was just reading an article it’s quite an old one but as i was getting ready for this discussion today, they did a Harvard business review did a survey of people, what people doing during conference calls back in 2014. And you know 27% of the people they interviewed admitted to falling asleep during a conference call, a percentage would hang up without announcing it, a number of people went to the toilet and that sort of stuff. So, all of that stuff is still present, more so and that stuff doesn’t happen in individual meetings or in in-person meetings, so, what do you need to do to compensate for that and that’s where we get most of the people coming to us and saying; this is what I’ve got to do, what’s the best way do you think to do that. So they’re already digital, they just need to refine how they do it and how they’ve done it in the past.
Yeah, I mean I'm looking at different sectors right. Traditional banking for example or let's say, insurance company for example, these companies like you know large corporations as such are very traditional at the same time, we need them right and of course they also need us but largely we need them and we chase them and we find the best rates and offerings from those companies right. And for them they are always an elephant and then you see smaller companies that are popping up. I'll just give you an example Revolut is quite big here, when those companies comes and knocks the door, what do you think these traditional organization would have to do in order to adapt fast?
Well, what’s interesting is you chose the financial insurance sector because if technology’s been threatening one sector over the past 10 years, it’s been FinTech. You know there’s probably been more, certainly to my understanding there’s been more money invested in FinTech development and new business models around FinTech just about anything else, at least in Australia, I don’t have that as a global number but at least in Australia. The interesting thing about that those organizations that industries you’ve spoken about that they are big organizations in big industries, and like organizations tend to be they tend to lumber along those large organizations lumber along, so too the industries tend to lumber along at around about the same pace or sometimes a little faster than the companies in my opinion, and I’m going to go out the limb here but I’m going to say the industries that most suffer from rapid change are industries that grew in rapid change and why I’m saying that, I’m just thinking of Nokia and blackberry and that sort of thing where these large companies have been born and disappeared in 20 years. And I’m probably going to get nailed by this by somebody’s going to send me an email and say you didn’t think of this or that sort of stuff. But, the things that protects these industries is there’s a large number of consumers who are also traditional in the way they do business. So it’s like moving a large boulder you get moved slowly and once you get it moving it tends to move a bit faster. So they’re a little bit protected by that, if you look at the development of technology and FinTech over the past 15 years, it has made inroads and I’m talking Australia, I’m not a global person talking straight, it’s made significant inroads into the into the banking business but we have in Australia what we refer to as the big four. Now, national Australia bank, Commonwealth bank, Westpac and NZ, their market share is actually bigger now than what it was it’s certainly the global financial crisis took a lot of the smaller players out of the market, they merged and that sort of stuff, their market share is now bigger than what it has, these companies have a large amount of money to throw at technology themselves and going digital themselves and they’re also very active in the startup company base they all have divisions that are dedicated towards finding and supporting startups and incubators.
Yeah, because when you look at the FinTech, I think this is the most fascinating sector you know personally as well, there's a lot of innovations right and most of them are either in the block chain space or you know are using some kind of innovations around the FinTech you know either startup which is doing some interesting things with your money and the money is working for you rather than you working for money and so forth, you know there are interesting companies as such it gives me a little bit of hope that you know we are looking at new innovations.
How do you see the innovations overall within the context of a traditional organization?
My career history is built on innovation, I made my career, I was the first person in Australia to put flavored milk in a plastic bottle which you know and that’s going back a long time ago, but that stage that was innovative and that uh increased our market share, that we increased the market size by 30 and increased our market share by from 25 to 45% and put a huge bucket of money on the bottom line in the organization work force. So I’m passionate about innovation and innovation of course has evolved over the years from things like packaging which is still one but obviously a lot of that innovation is now in the digital space, but one of the things that seems to happen sometimes interesting you say block chain that sort of fits in the same sort of realm to me as augmented reality and to a lesser degree virtual reality, but the augmented reality. This block chain’s been around, I’m going to hazard a guess from starters or around the bit coin, with bit coin been around seven years, how have you got a date on how long it’s been around?
I think, it's about 10 years now but yeah let's say when it picked up it was about five to seven years, right so okay when it when it hit the bubble then we sort of you know everybody started to look at it like you know; oh my god i missed out in that opportunity kind of mindset but, yeah it's about eight to ten years.
They didn’t sit there going missed out on the opportunity on block chain, they sit there and kick themselves and say; why didn’t they buy some bit coin, so my partner was offered a bit coin at 30 dollars and she said no you keep it.
It's growing by the way, you know if you want to hold on to that.
Oh yeah, one of my best friend’s son has been in bit coin and bit coin mining for ages and he was the one that offered this bit coin for thirty dollars because he moved over from Perth and was staying here and he ended up marrying her niece but now, so I don’t think anyone’s actually saying I’m still on block chain, because block chain is like AI, it’s one of these great solutions that really hasn’t found a niche for a problem yet, because if block chain was so revolution which it is and as is VR and AR, but AR in particular. It would get quickly accepted everyone thinks its great technology, I mean we’re working, we met with a with a great startup company called here’s a free plug for them jig space, because they create augmented virtual reality presentations. So unlike the normal VR thing that sits in the space it actually is designed to tell a story, and we were talking about it with them and it’s trying to find a space, a usable space for technology and innovation that is the critical part. The greatest thing since sliced bread actually the sliced bread came out a long time before it became popular. Innovation has two challenges; number one is it needs to actually be an innovation, not an evolution and number two it has to find a problem to solve. So yeah, that’s the real challenge for innovation these days, it’s getting less and less space for innovation for a large number of companies, I was you know, if you look at what’s happening in the world at the moment, the things that will be either a challenge or a threat. One of which is quantum computing which I’ve no doubt that and your listeners know about quantum computing it is not even in the same universe as our current computing standards, and the development of AI in conjunction with that. So, what will the bringing of enormous computing power and enormous resources in reverse in regards to artificial intelligence, what is that going to bring to any space in which it’s pointed, it’s a really challenging question and it will bring good as well as bad as much innovation does too.
On AR and VR I had a chance to talk to a couple of founders in this particular space who are especially in the medical sector, they are working with patients with the rehab issues and with the mental well-being and so forth. So they're using AR to support those kind of issues at the same time you also touchdown on the quantum computing and I'm thinking about a few different things now, one of them is; more and more devices are connected to the internet and yet we are not worried about the environmental issues.
We are we are connecting at least 125 or 27 devices per second and that's coming from Gartner and when we are connecting all these devices in addition to the all the bit coin miners, using all the powers, what happens to the energy space?
I’m glad you didn’t throw me a big question there.
It's a small one.
You know, I think there’s not only the energy space, there’s the bandwidth space, there’s hacking space, all these unknowns, you’re human beings remarkably prone to slip back into all habits or accept threats as now a normal way of being. You know they eventually become a normal way of being I think a classic case of that is covid 19, I mean when it first happened adapted, adjusted lockdowns, wash your hands, my wife described me as a hand-washing nazi because, so if you’ve watched your hands, if you’ve done this, we’ve done that and now you know the reason we’re getting second waves is we’ve all got used to that; oh it’s not as bad you know that as we thought it would be and then we get this second wave. I think collecting 127 devices, we don’t think about those, so every solid psychologist will tell you that people have a naturally optimistic view of the world even generally speaking pessimists. I mean they tend to, that’s why people smoke, won’t happen to me or speed actually I won’t have a car crash. I think it’s the same thing with all of this stuff that is happening that is it this won’t happen to me, it’d be someone else’s problem. And so yeah what’s going to happen with energy usage, what’s going to happen with bandwidth all of that sort of stuff, big questions that are hard to pick you know, I’m going to offend every futurist out there that if they listen to this, but how many futurists are actually accurate. I’ve listened to a lot of futurists in my life and I don’t know whether you have as well, but I’ve never seen see to see them to talk about what they got right. I remember when PCs first came out and I’m giving myself my age away here but I remember the big discussion was that the invention of the personal computer will give us huge amounts of leisure time because all the tasks that we now do manually will be done on a computer and it will be done in instance. Now, I would actually like to find the people that suggested that, have a song talking to them.
I would like to be in that conversation as well, because I'm working now 18 hours a day and that's not enough.
Aren’t we all. You know the thing is that what has pc has done, what has technology done, it hasn’t freed us up, it’s actually made us a slave to the technology, it’s actually you know accelerated change, it has brought things with it but we’re always connected now. You know, my general manager in Australia, goes to places where there is no phone connection, so that she cannot be contacted, she chooses places because in our business people are always in getting in contact, even though we might put auto responders and that sort of stuff, people still ring up; can you do this for me, can you do that, are you on holiday sorry. So you know she sets about going to places in the middle of Australia or in the far north of Australia that have no internet connection or no wireless, no telephone things just to get a break from. I get nervous if I leave my phone when I go for a walk around the block, isn’t that funny?
You know it's funny thing that you just said. I wanted to just try out to actually leave my phone and everything for at least one day a week and first few hours I managed to do that right, so I'm like okay, I want to keep up with the with what I've said, I'm not going to use any kind of electronic device and I'm just going to walk outside but you know after a few hours you know I somehow find a way to just to have a peek right. So that's how badly we are affected by the technology unless ....we find ourselves in a very difficult situation somewhere in the desert but otherwise....…
It’s known to release pleasure chemicals in the brain that when we see the number of likes we get on Facebook or anything like that, it’s known to release pressure chemicals in the brain and they are naturally addictive. We think it’s the phones that were addicted to us actually those pleasure chemicals, those dopamine in the brain that are released when we see this stuff that drives us to it, it’s a chemical addiction, believe it or not.
The thing is you said something interesting there again, because I used to wonder like; why am I so excited in the morning and then just like during this pandemic, especially I'm working even more and I'm kind of thinking like I woke up early and then with a bit of a workout, I calm down and start to work right. And as soon as I see the first email, I want to respond as soon as I see something interested, I want to see you know and I think that curiosity somehow gets to us and then that that becomes our norm ...
Look, I think this is what, we talk to a lot of business because we are about creating presentations for people and communications for people as I say; we create presentations videos and motion graphics but clients buy solutions to their to the communicate end-to-end solutions to the communication challenges right, which impacts their business problems. One of the things that and we train people in that as I mentioned earlier, one of the things that and I speak publicly and one of the things I speak about is that if you want to inspire your staff you won’t find it on the balance sheet, is that we forget and this is one thing that business in general can’t forget is that you have to give people a reason to get out of bed in the morning and you have to give them something and the reason everybody loved apple is he gave him an inspirational reason to get out of bed in the morning because it was about changing the world. There’s no doubt you get up in the morning with that same view of what calls you out of bed in the morning is that you love what you’re doing, you know you’re making a difference, you’re sharing information with people in the world, that’s with all the technology that happens it doesn’t matter which business we look at which clients we deal with my own business as well, success depends on the people, no amount of technology will ever in my opinion relate change the difference that the right people make on an organization’s success.
Yes. I think this is one of the subjects that I'm once again very close to where we are going from transformation to transformation within larger organization and you can you can come up with different strategies right, you can have the best strategy that you can put on the paper and I can do that right, but at the same time I cannot find the motivated people to work on that strategy to make it happen.
And how do you blend that strategy to work with those people like who are less motivated or how do you motivate those people?
So, I sat down with my general manager this morning, she’s just finished the reviews of Australian staff and she had to go and she said; look everyone, new people feel privileged to work here which one of my KPIs is I wanted the company to be an employer of choice, I really wanted to be a place where people want to work where we acknowledge people and that sort of thing and so having done most of the appraisals, she sat down and she said look people just love working here, they feel heard, she said one person said that I’ve never worked in an organization where everybody is treated with the same level of respect as happens in this company. So I think the first thing that you have to understand is that your staff aren’t the enemy, I could talk all day on how to motivate staff. But I think motivation fundamentally has to exist within the person, so you have to pick the right people for it, that are the first place to start because some people just not going to buy into what you’re on for, so it’s a matter of picking the right people. I always feel my job as a manager is pick the right people, tell them what they need to do and then spend my time trying to get the things out of the way that will impede them from doing what they need to do. Treat them like adults, respect their opinions and believe me that I’ve been made so many management mistakes in terms of the way I’ve handled people wrongly that I think we can retire on my mistakes, but so the short answer, there is no short answer that question but in my own experience that’s what I found is just treat them as equals, treat them be fair with them, create a big picture for them so they know what they’re doing what they’re creating give them the reason to get out of the bed, you know and it starts in in my opinion always as the Greek states say; a fish smells from the head first and that’s absolutely the case in an organization so it depends on the CEO it depends then on their I believe on their vision and what they’re on for and what they want to do for the company. No one wants to work for a company that’s and to case in point when my presentation around, presenting to motivate had it was a discussion with this particular organization on their five-year plan and basically their five-year plan, what was their mission was to be that the their customers preferred supplier for x y and z. Nobody is going to get out of bed to be somebody’s preferred supply for x y and z, are they. So you know trying you need to set your company up for something bigger than that anyway. So motivating staff starts with having people who are buying into the bigger picture, no one’s going to buy, if you want someone who’s going to buy into the picture of being the preferred supplier for x y and z. I don’t know what person you’re going to get, I want a person that wants to get out there and change the world, our mission our vision if you like is a world in which everyone gets heard hopefully to our staff gives them something, I know it does it gives them something to just to work for whether that be, we’re working with a company who we got referred to somebody, it’s a not-for-profit organization, who want to put an e-learning program together for women who suffer from domestic violence, you know they’ve got to be heard whether it be someone who wants to change, we’re working with the alliance for plastic waste, it’s about waste plastic not plastic itself, these messages that are so powerful that inspire people and that have. I’m giving you the long answer here, I’m sorry about that because really, how do you inspire staff a different one but the thing is paint a picture where they’re making a difference in the world and they’re feeling valuable and they’re heard and all of those sorts of things.
I was talking to the leadership again on the similar context and I said to one of the program manager that, if you are asking a person to manufacture a tire, let's say a tire of a car then for them it is just a tire in the process, but if you ask them like; hey you are making a tire for a supercar and there's a strong motivations there right, there's a strong reason why would they actually manufacture such a tire. So obviously they would get up early and like you said there is a big reason for them to get up early and that would be a one of the strong motivator for them to sort of accomplish that goal.
I don’t agree with that, I’m sorry I don’t agree with that because everything’s context. Firstly, I’m going to do is quote a story about John F Kennedy when he did visit NASA and when he was there and you remember Kennedy said you know he wanted to put a man on the moon and he said to a janitor there; what do you do here and he said, this is a true story, he said; I’m helping putting a man on the moon. So there’s an alignment with a vision, you say car tires, it’s interesting, I spent my family business was in the tire industry but so it’s just you chose that analogy but…
Maybe it's a wrong one but...
Because it’s a good one, because you’re not making a car tire, you’re making things that keep people safe, tires make a big difference. If it’s not made correctly it will explode, it will fracture and explode and there is about the same size as an a when a normal passenger car traveling at 60 kilometers an hour there’s a bat on a dry road there’s about the same amount of rubber and contact with the road as a basically about an A4 sheet of paper. So you’ve got a ton a half of metal and two three four lives, skating down the road with a contact area is the size of an A4 sheet of paper, don’t tell me your job’s not important when you’re making this type, could you keep in the world safe see it’s what you it’s context around this sort of stuff and you say; it’s just making a car tire like standard make a car type, then that’s what it’s going to be but you know just I can’t think of anything but I probably can’t even spend some time where it’s there because it’s important, it’s necessary and it’s working successfully. You know, so you I might not be making the time but I’m working for a company that’s striving to make people safe when they’re driving. It’s all how you paint the picture around that and all how you have truly believe how people do make a difference in that, because if you have a company where every single person is committed to the vision of the company, as opposed to one where the key people are committed to the vision of the company, which one’s going to perform better. Obviously the first one of those, so it doesn’t matter what the person making the tire, it doesn’t matter that it does matter the approach that they have and I don’t think you know, if you leave them there and do that for everything for 20 years or if they want to and they’re a craftsman about that there may be but you know there’s job planning all sorts of things that help to build that greater interest and responsibility in the company.
Yeah, I think you had a better way to put it together, the one that you gave me of example of the janitor. I think maybe that that sort of context when we are putting up as a leader perhaps helps people to be motivated. What does that tell you about the organizational culture when you are bringing up let's say a big transformation initiative within the organization,
How do you make those culture ready towards digital transformation?
Well transformation by its nature is confronting to a large number of people, transformation by its nature involves change and human beings are find change difficult to some degree, some people you know me, I’m quite happy with change, I love change in fact if I don’t change I get bored, so I’ve got to keep changing but I know that some people hate change, it’s always it’s got to be the way it is and I’m going to kick and scream and keep it the way it is. But change is inevitable, so yeah it’s a matter of how we do it. The most important thing around change and where I see most organizations making a mistake is the lack of communication, they you need to get ahead of the curve when it comes to change in the area of communication, you need to be transparent with people, you need to trust people that are going to be impacted by the change, you can almost bet with any change, some people are going to be worse off and you know you can try and minimize that but some people will be worse off, some people lose their jobs, you can put things in place to help facilitate that change. But the biggest problem with any transformation in any organization I’ve ever seen is a lack of communication, you have to almost over communicate and answer people’s questions and be transparent and be on the front foot with it the whole time, that will help persuade people’s concerns and fears as best you can.
A lot of organizations you know, what they see is like one of the competitors are taking this initiative change and to apply I don't know agile transformation they're organized and then they see like; okay we can also do this, let's hire those consultants, and you know consultants are like a SWOT team right. So they go in and they make some destruction within the organization and sometimes those destructions are too big and sometimes the destructions are a good destruction because they have to rebuild the organization. How do you see the approach you know, what kind of approach would you advise to organization who are at least willing to transform the organization?
So my comment about consultants is, it’s all care no responsibility, because they don’t tend to live with the sort of results of what they’re recommending and that sort of stuff. My experience has been with that you can’t be some things on with some parts of a company, so what do I mean by that, there we have some clients and two that spring to mind uh aldi and McDonald’s who don’t look at the relationship, here McDonald’s famously has this you know ray crocs three-legged stool with franchisees corporation and suppliers, who don’t look on you as a one-off transaction, in other words, the definite sense of working with organizations like that and others I could name is that they’re with you and with any relationship, if in a personal relationship if you think this is the person you’re seeing or dating or whatever is going to be a long-term relationship, you’re going to put a lot more into it and that’s the same happens in business. We are dealing with one of Australia’s largest food retailers at the moment Gigi Coles, now having come up through the FMCG dealing with coles, they had an awful reputation as being as grinding their suppliers down to you know with because they so dominated the market those two retailers had 80% of the market. So if you wanted to have any success you had to have distribution in those two and they had a reputation for grinding down their suppliers, to one point in Australia actually got to a political inquiry and we recently started dealing with them around their attitude towards recyclable home brand packaging, we’re doing some work with them in that and they did say and the person that’s working with it also has a background in FMCG and he said to them once he said you’re giving me a bit of a run around here, which was very upfront for me which is good was what we encouraged but and they said look we’re really, really sorry, we’re guilty of that, we’ve been guilty of that in the past and if you run into that again, we do that to you again, please tell us because it’s not who we are, it’s not who we want to be. My point I’m trying to make is in answer to your question, if transformation is part of a manipulation, if transformation is done without any concern about the people that it’s going to impact, if all you are is you know we’re here about the money, then you’re going to get a reaction that is consistent with that. So yeah, if people just feel you you’ve used me and you’re abusing me then that’s you’re going to get abuse reaction back from that. So, managing transformation is one of the biggest challenges any manager has to face but it has to be done coming from a place that’s consistent with who you are and not just cold hard dollars and cents things about, I don’t think society accepts that anymore. So what am I saying is; yeah how do you handle transformation, handle it a consistent with your values and you’re going to handle a lot better if your values are that you are a part of it, your part of a society which you live both with the people and other organizations and other stakeholders in it and you treat them as you would expect to be treated in the same situation.
And one thing that we have noticed, you know within the last decade or so, is we are seeing within the organization, we are seeing more of a culture that used to be a homogeneous culture to sort of getting more towards a heterogeneous culture. Is that same within the Australian context?
I think that I might be reflecting something that certain western world phenomenon is; it’s interesting you say a heterogeneous culture. It’s interesting we have conflicting messages here don’t we I mean we have a greater acceptance about gay marriage and LGBTQ and black lives matter and all that sort of stuff. But we’re also intolerant about people who are not, that are not so aligned with that particular viewpoint, so we’re actually getting more heterogeneous but less in some areas, less forgiving of people who don’t have those same opinions. It’s very hard these days in certain non-politically correct areas to even have a debate or a level have a discussion about it without personal abuse and cancel culture coming out and shutting down the conversation around that.
Yeah because what we are trying to get to is more in terms of diversity right. You know if you're having a more heterogeneous culture then perhaps you are considered as a diverse you know organization that you are accepting all the views and you're respecting all the different backgrounds and so forth right, so it's not being dominated by one particular views and you know there's more research being done about whether or not heterogeneous culture creates better innovations or there's a more rapid innovation with those companies or organizations which are adopting those structural decisions. How do you see those affecting the innovation?
Well research care is I used to in one stage of my life, I use to lecture in organizational behavior unfortunately to a couple of the universities here, one of the things that was very well researched was that, highly diverse and heterogeneous cultures have far better problem solving skills than ones that don’t and innovation and transformation are literally really those cases of problem solving skills. So I personally think in my culture, I have in my company I have a massive range of different cultures not because I set out to get different cultures, I just tried to get the best people. So I think transformation and diversity inside an organization go hand in hand and innovation.
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