Many pin the likelihood of a business’s success on such factors as years in existence, technological savvy or market power. In Crossing the Digital Faultline, author Sri Manchala differs, stressing that the likelihood of becoming and staying successful in this digital age almost solely depends on the qualities of a company’s leadership.
Most businesspeople, Manchala suggests, don’t have leadership traits hardwired in their DNA. Rather it’s a skill set they can master by using a methodical process for fully confronting the changes—and constant disruption– caused by digitalization. To that end, he outlines a 10-rules-procedure that includes: understanding customer behavior over competitive differentiation; replacing assumptions with data analysis; staying out of your comfort zone; breaking functional silos (roles and responsibilities that are part of legacy businesses); learning how to use digital technologies—and more.
Manchala provides his version of a sports playbook – which he dubs the Methodical Innovator’s Playbook (MIP) – to help leaders ramp up to thinking, acting and measuring their efforts and results. He prescribes a rigorous four-month process that, if adhered to, should give practitioners the beginnings of a competitive edge.
The book is well-organized, with many charts that parse the information into bite-size pieces. The author’s arguments are persuasive, and, with references to the impacts of COVID-19 and other recent disruptive events, the book feels especially relevant.
Some leaders may find that their teams resist and resent such a rigorous process, which requires compiling and adhering to fact-based rather than anecdotal data. Team members accustomed to a more intuitive “learn by breaking it” approach might feel bogged down by relying on such an analytical approach.
Nevertheless, this may be the perfect time for leaders—whose conventional styles have been severely challenged by the perfect storm of increasing digitalization and the disruptions of COVID-19—to embrace Manchala’s principles. His convincing style and message may be exactly what’s needed to help them cross that digital faultline with their company onboard and intact.
Also available in paperback and ebook.