ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: The Digital Mindset

Today’s startups are tomorrow’s Wall Street winners. These are the businesses who are not afraid to risk it all. They are not afraid to fail….

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Mark J. Barrenechea

March 11, 20163 minute read

Today’s startups are tomorrow’s Wall Street winners. These are the businesses who are not afraid to risk it all. They are not afraid to fail. They are the game changers, the disruptors, the new thinkers. They are creating a sharing, Subscription Economy based on Digital and information.

The Digital Mindset is the cacophony of ON DIGITAL. It includes these top 10 tenants:

  1. Immediacy
  2. Urgency
  3. Ease of use (aka not just easy, but intuitive)
  4. Grabbing subscribers
  5. Scaling really fast
  6. Redefining business models (aka disruption)
  7. Creating a sense of community
  8. A journey-based approach
  9. Always on
  10. My data is omni-present and accessible anywhere, anytime

The Digital Mindset is driven by disruption, immediacy, scale, centricity on journeys, experience, and a sense of real-time. Just like we have an IQ and EQ, we also need to develop a DQ, a digital quotient, where strategy, culture, people, and capabilities converge. Once your organization has the Digital Mindset, it will move with speed and purpose.

The Digital Leaders are ahead of the game. They have identified opportunities for digital transformation. They are thinking and acting in entrepreneurial ways, and shaking off the shackles of legacy to move forward.

They have adopted a Digital Mindset. And the Digital Mindset stands out in the crowd. You can spot it a mile away. Embrace it. Promote it. Give it freedom from structure and convention.

To digitalize or not to digitalize is NOT the question. There is no question.

Digitalization changes everything. The way we think, who we compete against, how we innovate, how we experiment, the customer journey, our supply chains, the workplace, our pace and cadence. It has shattered entire industries, displaced market leaders, introduced new business models—radically changing consumers, corporate cultures, and mindsets.

If you do not have the mindset, you cannot even get out of the gate. You are simply throwing Krugerrands down the toilet.

Creative leadership will succeed.

A transformational leader has to overcome outmoded structures and old management styles to empower Millennials to self-direct, make decisions, experiment, generate ideas, and take risks.

The pace of change in markets underlies the urgency with which the enterprise must transform itself. The time to disrupt business and capture opportunity is now. To operate outside of traditional comfort zones and partner with startups or build out capacity to diversify products and services. These are ways to scale and grow new revenue.

It’s time to take stock. What is your digital quotient? How digitally mature are your operations, your workforce, your supply network? Do you have the strategy, culture, technology, and mindset it takes to transform your organization into a digital enterprise?

If you recall, I began the ON DIGITAL-First Fridays series with an anecdote about Hernán Cortés’ conquest of the Aztec Empire in 1519. After what could only be seen as a catastrophic failure, his troops felt there was nothing left to do but to admit defeat and sail back home. But, before they could, Cortés burned his fleet and gave his troops a simple choice: Conquest or Die.

And so, Cortés’ lesson endures. True transformation requires a pervasive shift throughout your enterprise. The only path forward is to digitalize. Standing still is always the riskiest action to take—you are an easy target. Change is always the safer path. It really is Digital or Die.

Thank you for joining me on this transformative journey. I hope you found this informative. We are all information companies. In my next series, I’ll elaborate on this.

For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.


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Mark J. Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea joined OpenText as President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2012, and also serves as a member of the Board of Directors. In January 2016, Mark took on the role of Chief Technology Officer and was appointed Vice Chair in September 2017.

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