The other night, we watched the documentary Side-by-Side, produced and narrated by Keanu Reeves, about the transformation of the movie industry from film to digital. What fascinated me was that the key players in the industry are still debating the merits of the two technologies 45 years after digital video recording was invented at Bell Labs.
The obstacles to this strategic shift were not limited to the maturation of the technology itself. There is a rhythm to the process of making movies. Film is expensive so the camera rarely runs for more than 13 minutes. Those on the set – actors, directors, cinematographers and the support team – are geared toward being “on” when it’s rolling and relaxing a bit when it’s not. Next morning, the first thing that happens is a review of the “rushes” (the film that was shot yesterday and developed overnight) by the entire crew. An out-of-focus shot or bad lighting won’t be discovered until that morning review.
Digital solves those problems but creates a massive change to the workflow of making a film. Forty-five years in, many of the participants still aren’t ready to make the shift.
In your business, a strategic shift may not be so dramatic but it may be critical to your success. Technology is the key driver of the need for transformation in many industries. Getting information to the right people at the right time improves quality and service as well as cost. Get caught resting on your laurels while your competition is investing in the future and you might see your business begin to evaporate.
So, what do you do if you’re at a point where you believe that the survival of your business depends upon making a transformational change?
Transformation is not just a new buzzword to replace the overused “change management”. Transformation means that there is a fundamental change in your beliefs about how you achieve certain results. It involves a massive investment of time and money; so, it’s critical that you get it right the first time.
So, before you go through the intellectual exercise of re-strategizing your business, you must go to the core of why it’s needed. There may be several reasons; but you must ask yourself which is the most important.
For the movie industry, the quality of the visual experience overrode all other factors, including cost and speed of production. It wasn’t until digital technology could produce a better visual experience that it was embraced by some of the key players in the industry.
One of my clients is CEO of a regional bank. He competes with the Too Big To Fail banks in our local market by focusing on the customer experience when they visit a branch. Many customers place a higher value on that experience than on whether they have the best online banking website or the coolest iPhone app.
That one priority is an expression of his personal values and must be embedded in every process of the bank – from hiring and training to the data that appears on the computer screen on the branch manager’s desk.
In the movie industry, the visual experience is the highest priority. For my client, the highest priority is a belief that customers deserved to be treated a certain way when they do business with the bank.
So, the question you must ask yourself is not what will make you faster, better or cheaper. It’s what is the highest priority and how can we best deliver on its promise.
WHO WILL LEAD?