On Your Mark, Get Set, Go Digital

August 30, 2016
Author: Renee Bingling

Post Olympics Lessons for Winning in the Digital Age

The dust has settled, champions were crowned, records were smashed and legacies were sealed. More than 11,000 athletes from 207 countries descended on Rio, Brazil to battle for gold before 3.6 billion eyes. However, what many of the 3.6 billion did not see was the four-year intense preparation by the athletes. It’s the kind of strategic preparation that often makes the difference between gold, silver, and bronze. Small businesses can borrow inspiration from this year’s Olympics, to prepare themselves to compete and win in a digitally dynamic business environment. But how does a small business overcome its challenges to successfully transform itself to compete and achieve long-term digital success?


Michael Phelps versus Usain Bolt

While it may be epic for us, wouldn’t it be counterproductive for Michael Phelps to spend years training in the pool for the 200-meter freestyle and then show up wanting to compete with Usain Bolt in the 200-meter sprints? Similarly, your business goals and digital strategy should be intentionally aligned.

Ask yourself, what do I want most for my business to achieve and what are the digital tools that can help me get there?

A good place to start is to assess your business priorities, evaluate the gaps and then be intentional about mapping these with digital tools that can close the gaps toward realizing your priorities. For example, if a leading priority is to decrease the turnaround time for your manual accounting process, so you can process sales faster, then consider investing in an automated accounting digital solution.


Who is Martha Karolyi?

The nature of the Olympics is to showcase the glory of the athletes. However, often standing in the wings are some of the world’s greatest coaches who are integral to the athlete’s success. That’s why most people will know the story of Simone Biles and not know the name Martha Karolyi. Successful athletes often don’t try to go it alone and neither should you. The digital age is here to stay and in order to compete in business, collaborating with the right digital tools is crucial to success.

Technology is transforming business at lightning bolt speed and will continue to separate those that are adapting to the changes and those that aren’t.

The fastest growing businesses are reimagining digital technologies as collaborative workforce partners throughout the entire organization, and not just tools that IT departments play around with. Digital tools are valuable as work partners to accounting teams as expense management software, customer service teams as digital interfaces, operations teams for inventory management and marketing teams as customer data management tools. How can digital tools be valuable to you?


Why doesn’t Katie Ledecky have a lot of time on land?

One of the emerging stars of Rio 2016 was a 19-year-old swimming sensation, Katie Ledecky, who blew everyone out of the water with four gold medals and one silver. Her father mentioned in a recent interview that Katie “doesn’t have much time on land” because the moving parts of her life revolve around training six days per week, beginning at 4 a.m. The companies that are reaping maximum results in a shifting business environment practice what is known as digital congruence. It’s aligning the complexity of people, structure, culture, and tasks together to create an everyday routine that is prepared for an ever-changing digital landscape. For example, if a law firm’s managing partners upgrade from manually preparing certified mail to using a time-saving, digitally traceable certified mail solution, they are more likely to harness maximum value, if the firm’s people, culture and tasks are aligned.

What's your most inspiring moment of the Olympics? Did your favorite Olympian inspire you in any way?