You may have heard about the sword of Damocles, hanging above its target by a single hair.
It’s a metaphor often used to describe impending doom, yet this is not the actual meaning. The story goes that a servant was taken by all of a king’s wealth and wanted to partake in that luxury.The king offered the servant supper on his throne, but with a sword hanging above him held by a single strand. Afterwards he asked the servant if he enjoyed the meal, but the servant was too worried about the sword falling.
The sword of Damocles is not about impending doom. It’s about the pressures of power and responsibility.
Every business leader feels this, knowing that it takes only a few wrong decisions, or a dollop too much complacency, for disaster to land.
Today this pressure is more poignant than ever.
Change, as always, is in the air, only now it is happening at breakneck speed. The lifespans of companies are fast become shorter and even historic precedent fails to contextualise what is happening today. Speed matters and technology is the means to accomplish that speed. Yet technology is not a fix. Any solution purchased to catalyse change is a waste of money. The real reason why companies fail to change and to shift into new spaces, is because they lack the right innovation cultures.
Innovation is a tricky principle to nail down, but it has a simple formula: Innovation = Execution x Creativity.
Companies struggle to engage this dynamic, because they suffer from corporate cholesterol. These are the unwelcome fats clogging a company’s arteries: rigid processes, risk avoidance and complacency – anchored through faith in existing frameworks – all effectively suffocate a business’ ability to push forward.
Digital transformation has brought this problem to a head. But, as said earlier, technology is not the solution.
Digital transformation is not a process. It is actually an end goal, a new state of business defined by a revolution in technology. Getting there requires transformation on a different level. A transformation that enables people.