HOST: Lisette Diamant, Digital Brand Manager
GUESTS: Natalie Vinitsky, Transformation Coach; Jerry King, Managing Director
DESCRIPTION: Jerry and Natalie share their expertise on the topic of fueling your transformation, and how we help our clients to achieve outcomes and overcome challenges in this work.
Lisette Diamant 00:00
Welcome to Digital Reimagined, a podcast packed with insights from Apex Systems, a world class technology services leader working to reimagine value for our clients. We'll bring you the voices of industry experts to showcase our proven solutions that span across digital innovation, modern enterprise and workforce mobilization. On today's episode of Digital Reimagined, I have two guests here in our virtual recording studio to center on the conversation of fueling your transformation. A warm welcome to Natalie Vinitsky, Transformation Coach here at Apex Systems. Nice to have you, Natalie.
Natalie Vinitsky 00:41
Thank you. I'm very excited to be here.
Lisette Diamant 00:43
Welcome back Jerry King, Managing Director centered on Transformation, wonderful to have you back.
Jerry King 00:49
Been looking forward to our conversation.
Lisette Diamant 00:51
And so to kick off this conversation, I'd really love to talk a bit about in what ways can you fuel your transformation? So Jerry, what are your initial thoughts to kick off this conversation?
Jerry King 01:02
Yeah absolutely, I think when we're partnering with our clients, as they're going through their transformation, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is realizing that the transformation truly never ends. We're always trying to transform and learn and grow and make sure that it's adaptable to the times and also aggressive to look to the future. However, one of the things that's always very critical in the transformation at any given point in time is truly understanding the why of the transformation. Why at this point in time, does an organization need to look to transform and look to move forward? And as we continue to transform and learn from how we're operating and scaling it across the organization, that truly allows everyone within the organization to understand the why and be more clear on it and figure out ways that we can continue to make this movement.
Lisette Diamant 01:51
And Natalie, would you like to build on that a little bit further?
Natalie Vinitsky 01:54
Sure, as Jerry pointed out, it's good for our companies, and leadership, and employees to understand why we're doing what we're doing. So setting up a vision that people can relate to, and appreciate, and see part of how they can contribute to that vision is very important. So they are in it. They are contributing, they are engaged, they're involved. They are not just order takers, they are somebody who makes an impact and setting that vision, setting that goal is what leadership is all about. And in order to transform, you need to have a very clear goal of where you need to go and why you going there.
Lisette Diamant 02:34
I think it's really important to have that, to be able to level-set and have something to build off of. So let's talk through some examples where we've had to pivot and we've had to join forces alongside the clients to get them ready for this change. Natalie, would you like to start us off?
Natalie Vinitsky 02:48
Sure. So what I've seen is there are some companies that focus on, "let's make this change and let's make it fast, so we can finish and be done with it." And they start with a new department of IT in parallel to what exists today. And that's how they envision the transformation. On the one hand, it seems a good approach, it's always easier to build a new house versus remodeling an existing one. At the same time, if you look from the perspective of the business side, we're investing an enormous amount of money building something that we kind of already have, but we need to transform and change. So a lot of CIOs are asking themselves this question, and the analogy I like to use is, how do you change wheels on the car that runs 100 miles an hour? Because that's your organization. That's your IT organization that probably was built years ago, organically grown and evolved. And so how do you decouple, decompose complexity and shift and pivot on the ongoing basis? And a lot of transformations are focused on that. So you can make a choice of building a brand new technology in parallel and then switch over, you can decompose what you have and incrementally transition and move forward into the new technology space. It's no longer two separate things, it's becoming business is your technology. So how do you converge? How do you partner and transform together?
Lisette Diamant 04:17
Yeah, I think that's a great way to really think about it. I find too, that our leaders will often have some challenges in the transformation, and really being able to move ahead and move through some stuck points. So how are you able to help guide on what ways to move forward and get unstuck?
Jerry King 04:36
Well I think one of the ways is we constantly are focusing on the outcomes. And not only how do we achieve the outcomes, but more importantly, ensuring that everyone's very clear on the outcomes and what we expect to achieve from them. And really try to position the leaders to be focusing on that, identifying what is that purpose, what is that outcome, and then leveraging the organization and the teams to really achieve those outcomes. And there's different ways that we've partnered with our clients. One way that's definitely very consistent and popular is around the whole objectives, and key results, and the OKRs, and that alignment from understanding at the top of the house what are we really trying to achieve? And how does that trickle all the way down to the teams? But not so much just going down, because a lot of times, you'll hear "well, that looks just like it's going top down." But it actually has to go bottom up as well. And how do you see that complete circle? And that's truly what the leaders are going to be able to enable. And they become those enablers that help bring that to life.
Lisette Diamant 05:34
And so thinking a bit, when you are in that stuck moment, one point Natalie you had made, was really the importance of pulling yourself out of the weeds, pulling yourself out of that being stuck. And so what is that vision? And can you build off that a little bit for our listeners?
Natalie Vinitsky 05:49
Absolutely. So to me, alignment and autonomy are essential. So what it means is at the executive and leadership level, you're setting goals, vision and objectives. And then you ensure through OKRs and KPIs the alignment, but you let people, teams to execute on it. And this is crucially important because you allow freedom for your teams to innovate and to be effective, efficient, and feeling part of the momentum. At the same time, you are not in the weeds, telling your teams what to do and focused on how to implement things, you're truly focused on the vision of where to take your company. That's where your competitive advantage is, right? You want to make sure you're looking forward, and you are a disrupter and not being disrupted. And that's why in the current time, where we're going through this digital revolution, that duration of change is exponential, right? Executives need to look at the future a little bit and have that vision and then work with their organizations to make sure they have tools and technology and know how and trust them, and give them autonomy to implement them.
Lisette Diamant 07:02
And I really appreciate you speaking to that. And now talking about how does this really come into practice? Right? What is the actual approach that we've been able to lead alongside our client engagements? Jerry, do you want to kick off an example that we can speak to that's transformational, and really cutting edge in the way that we are able to deliver on that?
Jerry King 07:21
One of the ways that we really partner with our clients, whether they're just in the beginning stages of really identifying what's the purpose of the transformation, or they've actually been going for a little bit, and they're looking to say, "hey, how do we not only keep this going, but how do we actually scale this across the enterprise?" You know, one of the things that we really try to focus on is meeting our clients where they're at in their transformation. So one of the clients we were partnering with, they had been going through a transformation for about six to eight months, and they were struggling to figure out "Are we now? Are we done?" Like, what does this really mean? So really, the way we were able to break it down is to say, "Hey, we're going through this initial stage of looking at it more at its individual potential business units." You know, where are the business units going to be extremely clear around what are their outcomes and how does that trickle down to individual teams and team members? And making sure that we're having that alignment. And then what we really, because it related to them, is what's next? And then we say, well, what's most important now is how are we actually going to scale that across the business unit? So now that we're able to operationalize, if you will, each individual business unit, now how do we actually scale that, and all of the business units are interacting in a new way of operating as a result of the transformation. So it's different approaches to try to tackle that particular transformation.
Lisette Diamant 08:44
Absolutely. Absolutely. I'd love to give our listeners one final thought for them to continue to ponder the centering of fueling your transformation. Jerry, what is your thought?
Jerry King 08:55
So, one thing is transformations never end. Companies should always be looking to transform and at times, it's going to be a larger, you're going to need a lot of fuel to make big transformations. But I think also companies need to realize and leaders need to realize that there's always an opportunity to do some form of a transformation. But what's important is to be able to clearly understand what type is needed at this point in time, whether it's something extremely radical and a large transformation across an organization or is it more at an individual, at a team, at a business unit. But it's really being in touch with what that's required.
Lisette Diamant 09:31
Hmm, absolutely. And Natalie, how about you?
Natalie Vinitsky 09:35
And just to build on that, I see sometimes organizations going through an enormous amount of changes. So everything is changing, and it takes a toll sometimes on employees and the company, and what would help is to prioritize and focus on the biggest impactful things that are not as difficult to do, so that you can start gaining return on investment sooner, and make your transformational changes incrementally, right? You can't boil the ocean, so it would be essential to realize that and focus on prioritizing things and focus on the most important things for your organization.
Lisette Diamant 10:15
Absolutely. Well, thank you both so much for coming in today, it's been such a pleasure having you diving into this discussion. Great to have you back in Jerry.
Jerry King 10:24
Oh, thank you, it was a lot of fun.
Lisette Diamant 10:25
And wonderful having you on Natalie.
Natalie Vinitsky 10:27
Thank you so much. I really enjoyed it.
Lisette Diamant 10:34
Please be sure to subscribe to Digital Reimagined wherever you listen to podcasts. We'll be sharing out a new episode every Monday. To learn more about Apex Systems' offerings, visit us at apexsystems.com/insights. You'll find our podcasts here along with success stories, articles, news and trends. Digital Reimagined is a podcast brought to you by Apex Systems, produced by Taylor Hawkins. The music you heard was Do Ba Do by Otis Galloway.