Digital transformation: A fusion of leadership, art, and science

May 27, 2021

Adan K. Pope, Co-Founder of Taraxa Labs, has been a long-term customer of Globant, working together on various digital transformation initiatives. We invited him to share some of his experiences in this guest blog.

We all hope that our digital transformation journeys start out with a clear vision of some desired future state built on the very best planning, objective-setting, strategizing, and collaboration. As a serial CTO and long-time Globant customer, I have faced many arduous digital transformation initiatives that digressed to where the technical and staffing challenges became the proverbial tail wagging the organizational dog. Why is it so difficult to keep transformation programs on track? Perhaps we have to dig a bit into all the day-to-day decisions that are made that can fracture our goals and objectives.

As I write in my recently-published book, Respect the Weeds: Digital Transformation Rooted in Principled Leadership, Vision and Innovation, “Decisions that were once rooted in math and science, are now all too often made under hyper-competitive pressures, by gut feelings standing on pillars of pride.”

Digital transformation requires us to imagine the art of the possible while we also create an egalitarian, fact-based culture that embraces the many perspectives and contributions throughout our diverse teams. The software developers in your organization, for example, have studied and practiced the science of computer science every day, yet, as we transform the meaning of their work, we sometimes offer them decisions that were made purely on past experience or with cursory assumptions.

Digital transformation

“Without real data and a sense of empowerment within the team, only arm’s length or abstract recommendations are possible,” I write. One of the greatest obstacles we face is a lack of transparency of the data that live inside organizational walled gardens, and worse yet a culture of fear to share and act upon it. The brutal truth that I have had to face, together with partners like Globant, is that our shared success depends on many factors that bridge leadership principles, agile program management, and the objective analysis of our operational data. 

The days of “vendor” relationships are disappearing quickly. Digital transformation requires that I can rely on partners who take the time to understand my business, objectives, and who bring more value than a rate card to the engagement. Metrics and measurements are necessary but not sufficient: a “scientific” plan to reimagine your business model or reinvent your customer experience, plus the creative energies and innovations of your team and partners together to bridge the gaps along the way—well, this is where you find the magic that you need to stay on track. 

I was inspired to write Respect the Weeds [preview the book here], because I saw too many of my customers and peers struggle with digital transformation. They began to see it as a buzzword or a necessary evil. They gave up on the science of organizational change. They couldn’t see the joy in the art of leading their teams through an extremely challenging, but likewise rewarding, personal and professional experience. I know that while digital transformation can test your resolve, it can also bring out the very best in you and your amazing teams.

About the author

Adan K. Pope, Co-Founder of Taraxa Lab
Adan K. Pope, Co-Founder of Taraxa Labs

Adan K. Pope is a leading authority on digital transformation, strategic technology leadership, and technology disruption, with over thirty years of career experience. Adan has served as a senior executive for many enterprises executing a digital or portfolio transformation that led to their strategic renaissance, growth, and at times, acquisition. He has held almost every role in software technology innovation and development from software developer to chief technology and innovation officer for some of the communications industry’s most innovative technology companies. Adan can be found at: 

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The Business Hacking Studio aims to drive business growth and innovation to make transformation real and measurable, making the change sustainable through new ways of optimizing culture and business impact. Digitalization and high consumer expectations are radically changing the way we interact with each other, and organizations that know how to manage it will be successful.