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The Slumber Zone: Smothering Innovation and Digital Strategy Killer

by Dominic Mazzone

posted in Business

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Have you ever had a friend who came to you with a problem, you helped them identify the issues, confirmed the errors of their ways, helped create a solution for them to stop the problem and then watched as they did the same thing that got them into trouble in the first place? We call this tragic when it's personal, lazy when it's business, and in the world of digital strategy, we call it deadly. Welcome to the Slumber Zone.
What is the Slumber Zone? The lazy, unacceptable, fear laden lack of trigger pulling to move beyond the status quo. It's avoiding change because you're either scared of the work or the outcome. The Slumber Zone is everywhere in business, but when it comes to digital strategy, it's as if valium was pumped through the air because it's one of those things that is very exciting and also very scary.
That doesn't stop people from talking about shaking it up with innovation and going through all of the meetings, discussions and budgeting to do it. What they can't seem to do though is take their head of the pillow to actually pull the trigger because by doing so, they are leaving the Slumber Zone and nobody wants their sleep disturbed.
A Slumber Epidemic?
The Slumber Zone seems to be a growing issue in business as we are being trained as a corporate species to keep everything under the covers until we are actually forced to do something. Proactivity is being annihilated by mundane safe tasks, and the slumber zone rules. Waking up from the Slumber Zone is probably not going to happen because you'd have to admit you were sleeping in the first place. Instead of embracing challenges, these Slumber Zone disciples say, "That is a great idea, however, we are not ready for that yet," or "Wow, we would like to do that, but we'll need to think about that some more," or the all time favorite, "We already thought about that, but just haven't got around to doing it." Sure you have...
Digital Strategy and the Slumber Zone
For a lot of companies Digital Strategy is confusing and complex enough that the Slumber Zone looks better and safer. It is just so much easier to do nothing even when you know what to do. Yes, that's right, companies still don't pull the trigger even when they know what to do. Tragic you say? Absolutely, but not rare and not without consequence.
Companies that fall into the Slumber Zone on their Digital Strategy don't have the luxury of delayed consequences. Digital has sped this effect up into what will be one of the most talked about business phenomenons in the next five years, Digital Die-Off. Digital Die-Off is the dying off of antiquated business models that don't transition into digital. This will occur for all of those companies that just can't wake up and make a move to be agile digital contenders.
Digital Die-Off is Coming?
The coming tsunami of Digital Die-Off is discussed in detail in the book that is near and dear to our hearts, "Digital or Death". The Digital Die-Off is not an if, but a when for anyone ignoring their digital strategy. Ignoring it just keeps you happily oblivious until you fall off the cliff. But the question is "Why?" Why not pull the trigger on a decision if you went through all the pain, energy, cost and effort to come to a strategic decision in the first place?
There are a lot of reasons but the one that ranks very high is fear. Fear because the success or failure of digital decisions are evident a lot quicker than most other decisions. For the competent leader, this is a gift from the heavens, and for an incompetent one, a sentence in hell.
How Do You Know if your Digital Strategy is in the Slumber Zone?
Here are six easy questions to assess if you are really in the Slumber Zone, or just haven't put your company in a position to pull the trigger.
  • Have you put together a comprehensive digital strategy that takes into account all of the different parts of your business?
  • Have you created a tactical plan to execute the digital strategy?
  • Do you have the resources to execute the digital strategy?
  • Do you have the budget to execute?
  • Do you know what success looks like for your digital strategy aka KPI's (Key Performance Indicators)?
  • Are you nervous?

  • If you answered yes to everyone one of these and still haven't moved forward, then you are in the Slumber Zone. Question six about being nervous is there on purpose because if you aren't a bit nervous about your strategy, then you haven't smashed the box and you most likely are going to get a lot of the same old, same old! If you did not answer yes to these questions then you aren't necessarily in the Slumber Zone and haven't put together a Digital Strategy to the point where it is ready to execute.
    This is Your Wake Up Call
    It's time to hit the alarm and wake up, jump in a cold shower, give yourself a slap, and get out of the Slumber Zone. This isn't just for digital strategy. It's for anything in your business that either you as the leader or your employees are avoiding. It's advice you would give any friend in need, and it's time to heed these words because your business depends on it.
    About the Author: This article was written by Dominic Mazzone, Managing Partner and Fund Manager of Smashbox Consulting.
    This article and other like it can be viewed at SmashBox Consulting Website.
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