What about Bob? Baby Steps - A Guide to Digital Transformation

You are not going to transform overnight by developing a strategy in PowerPoint and communicating a master plan. You're going to have to take baby steps to get there.

I'm showing a memorable scene from a classic movie. Bob's got issues, and psych Leo Marvin introduces him to the baby step framework. Baby steps to the door, out the office and into the elevator for the very first time. Even small steps can be scary and the scene ends with Bob screaming the entire way down the elevator ride.

But these small steps lead to Bob's transformation and turnaround. Yes he needs a lot of help and mentorship along the way, but his improvements come as he figures things out for himself. Leo doesn't solve Bob's problems or trains him he provides him the tools, frameworks and mentorship for him to slowly transform by managing his fears and learning new skills.

Baby Steps to Big Transformations


Digital and other forms are transformation are no different and only occur when people, organizations and even industries take baby steps toward a hard to define future. It's why I start every transformation with establishing an agile practice because baby steps can be accomplished at every standup, every sprint, and every release. Not just steps forward, but the ability to see, listen, re-evaluate and pivot left or right based on customer feedback.

It's also why Self Service BI and other Citizen Development programs are key to digital transformation. As a CIO, I can't solve everyone's issues or chase all the opportunities but can provide frameworks (agile for all departments!), self service tools, governance and standards to better enable innovation, data driven practices, or efficiency. 

Perhaps there is a third message. If you've seen the whole movie you know that Leo eventually loses his mind; the aggregate impact of Bob seeking help and Leo not getting the vacation he needs. No one said transformation is easy.

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