top of page

8 basic principles for Digital Excellence

Digital Excellence

According to Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, 2 management consultants from McKinsey who have been identified as Management Gurus in the 20th Century, excellence in enterprises is based on 8 basic principles. Even though the examples in the book didn't touch on the Digital Consumer specifically, I believe that today's digital enterprises consciously or unconsciously perform all these 8 principles to achieve the “Excellence” in the Digital world.

So how are the 8 basic principles reflected in today's Digital World:

  1. A bias for action: This is the "ownership" that the enterprise take towards ensuring to solve the problem for the Digital Consumer. It can be the internal initiatives to simplify process and increase employee engagement to external initiatives to enhance digital consumer satisfaction or journey across their digital channels. I would like to add, that agility is key in the bias for action and we will touch on it in more details in a future blog.

  2. Stay close to the customer: This means virtually and physically (where possible) for the Digital Consumer. This is the Social Excellence. We need to provide the digital & physical mediums and channels to listen, to get feedback to respond and of course to engage. The enterprises need to reach out to Digital Consumers based on their personas differently (you can read my previous blog for more details on Digital Consumer Personas) and make their experiences personalised, simplified and of course their journey with the company as simple as possible.

  3. Autonomy and entrepreneurship: Digital Companies can't anymore leave entrepreneurship just to the elite few or R&D but it needs to be available across the entire organisation. Digital Consumers don't anymore interact with one channel or across one team as for them there is NO boundaries in the digital world and they will and want to interact with anyone they feel they like to reach. This could be internally between and across teams and different management to Digital Consumers wanting to have easy access to expert advice without the need to be challenged. Take for example how Lego uses their Digital Consumers to post ideas of next products and this is then voted by fellow consumers and when it reaches the threshold (currently at 10,000 votes) then it goes into production.

  4. Productivity through people: Productivity is not anymore an initiative or a one of activity every couple of years. It should be a culture of continuous productivity improvements through ideas of the Digital consumer. Any idea should be a good idea. You want to use your Digital Consumers to feel as part of your organisation and offer either internal or external opportunities to enhance productivity. Productivity should become what you create and support.

  5. Hands-on value driven: Digital Enterprises who follow quick and agile developments with few weeks development cycles are excellent in getting products out or product features out and ensure the value is in engaging with the Digital consumer for feedback, engagement and of course acknowledgment.

  6. Stick to the knitting: That is very powerful in the Digital Age. It is so easy in dDigital enterprises to venture on huge number of digital products but this will then remove the concentration of resources, Digital Consumers on what the enterprises was made of. The brand and loyalty is key with the Digital Consumer (to be expanded on in a future blog) and therefore digital companies need to be aware to ensure the Essence is not lost as automatically both internal and external Digital Consumer will be.

  7. Simple form, lean staff: Digital world is a flat world and that what Digital Enterprises need to reflect internally. It doesn't mean no management structure as this is required but at least management structure doesn't or shouldn't need to reflect how internal Digital Consumers need to work. Cross-team workings or task-based team formation ensures you're putting the effort and priorities according to the value required.

  8. Simultaneous loose-tight properties: As F. Scott Fitzgeral said: “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” And the Digital Enterprise should be able to do this for reaching excellence.

All of the above 8 principles apply for excellence in the Digital world. For your next 100 days, reflect and ensure you are either covering every area or define plans to cover the gaps. This is a continuous process to reach excellence but the 8 principles will give you an excellent framework to keep you on track.


bottom of page