10 Insights on Digital Transformation and Culture from our CEO
At the Leaders in Islamabad Business Summit, Aamir Ibrahim, our CEO, gave an insightful speech on how a business can transform its culture and processes in the digital age. To articulate his points, he highlighted the exciting journey we’re currently taking at Jazz.
Here are 10 key takeaways from Aamir’s talk:
1. Don’t become a dinosaur
Aamir explains that, while we often think of telco companies as technologically advanced, they can (and do) fall behind. When Aamir returned to Jazz in 2015, the company was 21 years old. By technological standards, it was becoming a dinosaur.
“It was time to teach the old dog new tricks,” states Aamir.
2. Learn how to unlearn
As Aamir explains, companies fail because they falsely believe that the things that made them successful in the past will continue to make them successful. That’s simply never the case.
“At Jazz, we’re witnessing the inevitable decline of things like voice revenue. In order to stay successful, we have to reinvent. This first requires that we unlearn,” notes Aamir.
3. Arrogance leads to failure
Don’t let your previous success lead to arrogance. Because that can cause you to be complacent — which means you won’t be ready to change when disruption comes.
“When we started our digital transformation at Jazz, we began seeing signs of sluggishness. This was because our previous success had made us arrogant and complacent. This is an early hurdle in our journey that we’re overcoming” says Aamir.
4. Others will steal your lunch
If you don’t make the right moves and changes before it’s too late, other companies will snag your food (i.e. take your customers away). To sustain your success in the digital age, you must not only find ways to improve for your current customers, you must also discover new opportunities that are arriving or will arrive.
“At Jazz, we’ve realized that we don’t have to allow platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp to steal our customers. We can hop on trends and make intelligent partnerships. This is how we can overcome difficult competition,” explains Aamir.
5. Recognize your own shortcomings
To ensure new competition in your industry doesn’t knock you out of the game, you have to take a good hard look at your own weak points. According to Aamir, this is why it’s crucial to get rid of arrogance. Because you need to notice problem points and fix them.
“At Jazz, we’ve found that many of our internal processes were too complex. As we go digital, we have to make our processes more efficient. We can’t convert non-digital crap into digital crap,” exclaims Aamir.
6. Go digital internally, then you’ll be able to it externally
You have to transform yourself so you can do more for your customers. To Aamir, that means breaking down barriers, tearing down silos, unlearning outdated processes, and reinventing the way things are done.
“We can’t be a digital company for our customers and not be one internally,” expresses Aamir.
7. Start reverse mentoring
The days of the old workers teaching the young ones are over. Now, mentoring goes both ways. The new employees can teach the old ones (it’s called reverse mentoring).
“We have to create an environment where young digital talent wants to work. If we can do that, we can instill a digital mindset in our culture. The young talents can teach us old folks how to navigate this new digital age,” says Aamir.
8. Radically simplify everything you do
Digitally-minded companies all have this in common: They’re radically simple. Think about a platform like WhatsApp. You rarely (if ever) need to contact customer service. That’s because it’s incredibly easy to use (that’s what customers want). “At Jazz, we aim to make our products outrageously simple” asserts Aamir.
9. To simplify life for your customers, empower your customers
At Jazz, Aamir stresses that his goal is to not just reduce how many customers are calling for help, it’s to eliminate such calls entirely. After all, technology is about a new way of doing things.
“First of all, simplify the problem for your customers. Second, give them the tools to use that technology in their hands to solve issues,” describes Aamir.
10. Only the paranoid survive
Under Andy Grove’s leadership, Intel has become the world’s largest chip maker and one of the most admired companies in the world. In Only the Paranoid Survive, Grove reveals his strategy of focusing on a new way of measuring the nightmare moment every leader dreads — when massive change occurs and a company must, virtually overnight, adapt or fall by the wayside.
We all know the meaning of a “Kodak moment.” The problem is that it no longer applies. Kodak, who once dominated the film business, disappeared because they weren’t ready for the digital revolution. The interesting thing is that the digital camera was actually invented by a Kodak employee, but the organization suffocated the idea internally.
“Arrogance caused Kodak to ignore a great idea. One of my favorite mantras is ‘only the paranoid survive’. We have to be wary of holding on to legacy technologies, because new technologies could squash us, like you see with Kodak.”
Winning in the digital age
Hopefully, these nuggets of wisdom from our CEO can give you solid direction as you navigate through this brave new digital world. Take the advice to heart. It will help you keep one foot in the future — which will ensure your survival tomorrow.