Organizational momentum follows Isaac Newton’s first law of motion, otherwise known as the law of inertia. Once it gets rolling, it’s hard to stop. You can create momentum in business by inspiring the people in your ecosystem, but it is equally important to reduce the sources of friction that stand in the way of your vision.
If you work with digital products long enough, you will see all kinds of permutations of friction slowing down product development, stalling momentum and just plain getting in the way. Let’s look at some of the sources of friction so that we may study them and find ways to address them in our strategies.
The formula for organizational momentum is as follows. All of the components are required to spin it up:
Vision + Capability + Motivation + Roadmap = Momentum
A comprehensive digital strategy that is clear and executable will help your firm leverage modern technologies to take as many of your customers on a journey to earning brand advocacy from as many of them as possible.
According to Sun Tzu, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest path to victory and tactics without strategy is that noise you hear right before defeat.” When we lack clarity of our vision and our path, it is difficult to remain aligned for long and we run the risk of losing confidence. Clarity is an important factor in your digital strategy. Without it you introduce friction from just about every angle.
Nothing reduces momentum as fast as confusion.
Capability can be summed up as a combination of the right knowledge, skills and resources. This is possibly the most obvious factor in creating momentum. Without the proper skills and knowledge (or access to knowledge), your team lacks the competence to accomplish. Without the proper capital and the right tools to complete a task, your team will be anxious and lack confidence. The lack of ability and/or resources simply creates a frustrated team.
Motivation comes from having an inspired team that is aligned and unified around the vision.
The most powerful strategies are those that are derived by your leadership teams together, making sure that everyone’s opinion and ideas are at least considered, including the bad ones. When everyone is aligned, decisions flow faster and things get done.
Alignment is one of the hardest things to create, but when you have it, the conversations increase and improve and the organizational collaboration is palpable. Having your team unified around our customers is also critical to motivation. Your customers should drive your business and your business should drive your technology decisions, thus it is really important to define who are your customers and what do they care about in the context of doing business with you. First aligning your team around what your customers care about will provide a foundation for getting everyone aligned and motivated around your digital strategy.
When you have a clear roadmap that your team creates and prioritizes together, you have the missing tactics from Sun Tzu’s quote above. When your team can see how the fundamental building blocks of their product will come together, there is nothing left to hold the train back.
The Momentum Formula.
To produce momentum, you need a digital strategy that is worthy of your brand, and you need to establish a lean and adaptive strategic framework for future planning that can be used to continuously improve upon and periodically revisit to keep the organization’s digital assets fresh and powerful well into the future.