The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic. — Peter F. Drucker, Managing in Turbulent Times

As consumer demand for increasingly sophisticated and personalized digital products continues unabated, many organizations will soon find themselves hitting the digital capability wall.

In fact, recent research [1] suggests that the growing digital capability divide will not only create profound new opportunities for the digital haves, it will create an increasingly high barrier to entry for the have-nots.

These are challenges that cannot be solved by simply throwing more money or people at the problem, and there are no silver bullet, off-the-shelf fixes either.

For those in the have-not category, digital transformation is the only path forward.

But for many established organizations, particularly those with large global footprints and roots that date back several generations, even modest changes can be hard to implement due to their inherent scale and complexity. This scale and complexity often leads to far more questions than answers: Where do we start? How much planning is appropriate? How will we allocate funds and resources? What are the key measures of success?

These are reasonable questions to ask, but they are the wrong questions. Answering them at the beginning of the digital transformation process will only lead to noise. Instead, it’s better to first decide on the destination by defining a future state that is radically different — better than it is today.

To make this happen, there are really only three key questions that must be answered. These are the principles upon which this book is organized.

The first question is the why: Why do we need to change? With some effort, this question isn’t that hard to answer and Part I of this book aims to lock on that.

The second question is: What does the future state look like? In other words, “How will our organization function in a way that is fundamentally different than it is today?” Answering this question may take a little more work. Fortunately, in Part II, we’ve included six principles that your organization can use to develop your own future state blueprint.

It helps to approach the question from the right altitude. It’s got to be high enough that you can recognize where the game-changing business opportunities lie, and how you might accomplish them (the ‘big picture’ from Part I), but also low enough to identify truly transformative opportunities that deliver value in months, not years (the principles described in Part II and the pragmatic path described in Part III).

Here, we’ve attempted to help you find that altitude and uncover those opportunities by distilling our real-world experience overcoming many of the challenges your organization is likely to encounter along the way.

On that note, it's important to avoid copying what worked well for others. In our experience, what worked well for others will not work for your organization. In most cases, this approach is likely to produce disastrous results because your organization’s context is unique, even though on the surface it might seem similar. This is where most management consulting firms fall short, as they attempt to reduce the complex systems that run your organization to banal theory.

For that reason, we prefer to guide with principles. Principles are neither dogmatic, nor rigid, because they are simply foundational agreements upon which we can drive alignment. In other words, they can be used to guide the path to a better way, but are not the path. Use them as a means of wayfinding, calibrating and resolving transformation challenges as they occur.

As a word of warning, you will almost surely find many people within your organization who agree with these principles, however you may be somewhat surprised at how weak their overall commitment to them can be. To this we can only say: Keep trying and stay committed.

Finally, we address the third question: How? Part III is about rapidly applying the principles in your organization in a 6-18 month timeframe. To help make the principles real, we’ve included tools to help you apply the principles in practice, get a sense of what good looks like, and watch out for common failure modes.

At Rangle, our entire mission is delivering digital-first outcomes with co-created teams. While Part I and Part II provide the broader thinking needed to create alignment on the overall vision and principles, Part III is based on our experience transforming organizations.

No matter where you are on your transformation journey, we hope this eBook provides meaningful insight, utility and a sense of direction when times get tough.

And they will. For those times, we hope you’ll return to this book.

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