dan fiehn
dan fiehn

+44 (0)7788 591000  |  Info@fiehn.co.uk

We live in fascinating times, with digital transformation all around us!

Technology is radically transforming business, and it’s only just started. Digital advancements such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), the Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, 3D printing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will all have a seismic impact on the markets your people and are set to introduce unprecedented levels of operational efficiency.

Those who are nimble and take calculated risks will find new ways to transform, create value, and exploit fresh opportunities.

Gartner has estimated that over 6 billion connected devices will soon be set to treble by 2025. It is safe to say that most of us will see changes in our life that are entirely beyond our current comprehension.

Whilst the promise of this digital transformation seems incredible, the actual reality is that today your business faces a significant technology gap and is likely to be struggling with the harsh realities of maintaining ageing systems to run your operation.

This raises a critical question; how to transform whilst keeping the operation running?

At a recent conference, I was recounting my experience as a student back in the ’80s studying Computer Science. As I spoke, I realised that whilst the technology has changed markedly, many of the core attributes of delivering successful technology transformation remain the same.

Below are 5 BASIC things which successful people do exceptionally well when delivering digital transformation:


1. Boldness

“­~ willingness to take risks and act innovatively; confidence or courage”

There is a constant tension between doing things right and meeting deadlines. Organisations spend considerable energy trying to avoid errors. Left unchecked, avoiding mistakes can become the primary objective. This leads to a vicious cycle of diminishing returns, and it is straightforward to lose sight of the activities that add actual value to your business.

The reality is that nobody gets it right all of the time. It takes bold leadership to see opportunities to add new value and act upon them. Successful people establish mechanisms to review what went right regularly. They mentally correct what went wrong, make the necessary adjustments and push on.

We should never be doing something just for the sake of it. Any digital transformation must have a profound significance on your business.

In Eric Ries’ excellent book The Lean Startup, he describes a methodology for implementing continuous change which looks to produce a minimal viable product (MVP). This means adding something worthwhile and of value.

Be inspired, push the boundaries, challenge the status quo, and most importantly, be bold.



2. Astuteness

“~having or showing an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to one’s advantage.”

Question: How do you decide what the most important things to work on are? Put another way, how do you decide what not to do?

I was lucky to have seen Chris Hadfield speak recently, the first Canadian astronaut and Commander of the Space Station. One couldn’t help but be genuinely inspired and motivated. One of his key messages that I took away was prioritising tasks when preparing the Space Shuttle.

What is going to kill us next?

I found this an excellent way of thinking; what business tasks are important and less so. It is possible to do everything, but only by not doing everything! Lessons learned from previous experiences can be the richest source of information to guide you. Innovate how you innovate. Put in place a mechanism to Recognise, Prioritise, and Respond.

Build a boat and ride the waves!



3. Simplicity

“~the quality or condition of being easy to understand or do.”

It is more than reasonable to expect that technology will become increasingly more intelligent in the future.

This doesn’t mean solutions need to become overly complex. Quite the opposite is happening, as technology becomes seamlessly integrated and invisible. Successful people can clearly articulate a solution and tell a clear, compelling picture of the final destination.


Look to remove unnecessary duplication & complexity.



4. Intensity

“~the quality of being felt strongly or having a powerful effect.”

Warren Buffet once said,

“Intensity is the price of excellence.”

Routine business operational tasks are often cited as a reason for not doing stuff. There never seems enough hours in the day. However, if you want something badly enough, there will always be a way to succeed.

Successful people have a positive mindset and the drive to make a lasting difference. Having less time available is often just the positive catalyst needed to take calculated risks to achieve extraordinary results.

Below are five reasons why people give up:

  1. TIME — It takes longer than we initially thought;
  2. OWNERSHIP — We’re not bought into the idea;
  3. DIFFICULTY — Much harder than we initially thought;
  4. DISTRACTIONS — Too many other things to do;
  5. MAINTENANCE — We believe we have to support it forever

Intensity is not just a mindset; it’s a form of behaviour. Be the optimist in the room driving the change.

There is always a way; you need to find it.


5. Curiosity

“~a strong desire to know or learn something.”

Have you ever thought that the key to your businesses future may be hiding in the past? Finding new insights, previously unseen patterns, behavioural inefficiencies could unlock further gains, however marginally.

There are limits to how much we can learn through verbal instruction. The most effective way to learn is by example and by direct experience. This may require unlearning old practices and learning new ones (Alvin Toffler).

As the 19th-century academic, Ralph Emerson once said,

Nothing great was ever created without enthusiasm.

Curiosity is a form of enthusiasm. Successful people who exhibit this trait are typically not constrained by the limits of perceived boundaries.

Curiosity can be highly contagious.

Ask yourself, could you change your company environment to encourage more curiosity? Are you working within perceived boundaries that are limiting the possibilities?

If you answer yes to either of these questions, maybe it’s time to become more curious.


For your business to survive, it is reasonable for you to expect that you’ll need to keep pace with technology to remain competitive. While the rate change is undoubtedly moving at speed, the fundamental attributes that successful people exhibit while delivering digital transformation remain the same.

We can all make a positive lasting difference. Digital transformation doesn’t need to be complex.

Just think BASIC

  • Boldness
  • Astuteness
  • Simplicity
  • Intensity
  • Curiosity


I hope you’ve enjoyed his post. If you have, I’d be delighted if you’d Share or Like this article.

Alternatively, please leave any comments, as I would love to hear like-minded people at the forefront of driving digital transformation.


Additional Reading:

You may also enjoy my latest article on “Why leaders need to focus on people ahead of technology to maximise benefits“.

We hope you find this information valuable and would appreciate your help in sharing it with others who may also be interested.

Exciting times!