Illustration of multiple passenger jets with different colored jet trails.

 

You’re just about ready for takeoff.

Over the past six articles on exponential government, you’ve chartered a plane for your organization’s trajectory toward exponential growth. You’ve belted your customers into comfortable seats, ensuring they can come along. Trusting the jet engine of data-driven experimentalism, you’ve charted your path upward with optimistic realism. The wings of extreme adaptability will help navigate you through stormy weather. And thanks to clear direction and radical openness, your team and private-sector partners have become your trusted flight crew, working with you to take everyone on the ride of a lifetime.

Now you just need to turn the dial and flip the ignition switch. Are you nervous? That’s understandable. Exponential growth requires disruption of current systems, and government organizations are deliberately constructed with checks and balances for big changes. To launch step change in your agency, you need the last element of exponential leadership: hyper-confidence.

“Two of the most important personality traits for an exponential leader to have,” wrote Salim Ismail, “are the courage and perseverance to learn, adapt, and ultimately, disrupt the given business.

 

SEE THE OPPORTUNITY

This is a fascinating time for citizens to observe their leadership. The COVID-19 crisis has given leaders at every level the opportunity to prove their ability to learn and adapt to rapidly changing information in a way that protects their citizens’ health, keeps budgets balanced, and accommodates the sudden imperative for a remote workforce and increased online services. And the nation is watching to see who excels—and who bungles the job.

Leaders who hedge, equivocate, or delay action during times of urgency come across as wishy-washy, tentative, defiant, or overwhelmed. Those who make quick decisions, based on data, and lean into their digital transformation exude confidence and clarity. That confidence is key to revitalizing economies and keeping their community moving forward.

“You have to avoid the tendency to slash and burn your transformation and revert back to your traditional working model, which is human nature,” said Steve Bates, expert CIO advisor. In a word, you need courage to see opportunity instead of battening down the hatches.

as we move into 2021?

  1. Business continuity. In a time of instability, it’s critical to protect and maintain essential systems and services. That done, it’s tempting to stay safely in the bunker until the air clears, without additional investment for the future—but exponential leaders, fueled by hyper-confidence, wisely take the next step.
  2. Cybersecurity. Peter Guerra, the Director of Worldwide Public Sector Specialist Solutions Architects at AWS, gave an excellent Black Hat talk about the connection between global recession and a boom of cybercrime. If your organization does not take the chance to invest in cybersecurity, you put your agency at risk for another hard hit after COVID subsides.
  3. Digital Transformation as a Service. This is the opportunity that, after the shockwaves of the health crisis subside, will set apart government entities that are ready to charge forward from those who must pick up the pieces.

 

SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY

Looking back at past crises, such as the dot-com bust and the 2008 recession, it’s clear that organizations focused on business continuity and conservative cost containment fell behind those that took a pro-investment approach during tough times. Research that by 2022, fully 80 percent of revenue growth will depend on digital offerings and operations. Moreover, 85 percent of Americans expect the same or higher quality from government digital services as they do from commercial organizations.

What an opportunity to lead the charge when the economy rebounds! The question is: who will persevere in getting approval, finding private partners, and executing on tech investments? Who will break through reactivity and become not just proactive, as wrote, but “pre-active”? 

Sae, CIO of the City of Roseville, where Direct Technology is headquartered, recently published an excellent toolkit for COVID-era government planning. Highlights include an emphasis on people first; pointing out that rapidly changing process requires government to define and understand what outcomes matter most; and the assertion that digital transformation is the key to performance and preparation for what’s next (“Leaders should utilize past and present data to take future actions,” he wrote).

Customer advocacy, using data to become more proactive and adaptable, and optimistic realism all leading to hyper-confidence…sound familiar? According to the principles of exponential leadership, Roseville is in good hands.

 

Ultimately, all growth-minded government leaders currently face the dilemma of disruption. To enact step change, you’re supposed to disrupt the business…but we’re all in a state of massive disruption already. The best way to get your agency back on track is to disrupt the disruption—take the wheel back and confidently regain control of the direction you’re moving, leveraging your tech investments to fit your way of doing business into the “new normal.”

By moving deliberately through the three stages of opportunity listed above, you will:

  1. Maintain essential functions through a business continuity plan to minimize service disruptions for your team and customers.
  2. Protect your data and tech from a second major blow with targeted cybersecurity investments.
  3. Create a roadmap to enhance your services to the people, keep your team healthy and effective, and move forward on modernization/innovation projects at a safe and steady pace with our Digital Transformation as a Service

These accomplishments will give you a smooth runway for growth throughout, and long after, the current economic recovery. After all, the key to an organization’s success isn’t market, industry, or size. It’s the people at the helm, and their commitment to living out the six traits of exponential leadership.

So, as you sit in that cockpit, looking up into the sky: Flip that ignition switch with confidence, and start rolling down the runway. With your team and constituents strapped in behind you and your technology partner as your copilot, you’re ready to take flight.

Meet your new copilot – we’ll bring the pre-flight checklist. Schedule a meeting today.