‘A beginner’s mind could help survive in the digital age’

K.R.Srivats New Delhi | Updated on December 17, 2018 Published on December 17, 2018

Steven Goldbach, Chief Strategy Officer, Deloitte US

Deloitte US Steven Goldbach urges companies to unlearn old practices

For companies facing disruption due to technological advancements, here is some sage advice from a Deloitte US honcho on what it takes to survive in the future ‘everything is digital’ world.

Speaking to BusinessLine during his recent India visit, Deloitte’s Chief Strategy Officer, Steven Goldbach, highlighted the virtues of his four core principles — laid out in his latest book ‘Detonate’ that he co-authored with Geoff Tuff — to compete effectively in the face of accelerating change and achieve marketplace success.

Goldbach’s key message is that blindly following business playbooks may cause an existential threat to an average business. Instead, corporations should “blow up” their best past practices, to which they are wedded, and adopt a beginner’s mind to survive. Companies should pursue their own strategies and not get stuck on what everybody else is doing.

“If you do everything the same as the competition, you will at best be an average business, and average businesses are most susceptible to disruption,” he said.

Companies that have been augmenting customer experiences in the last 15 years have not been exposed to disruptive technologies as much as the ones who had been static, according to Goldbach. Enterprises would do well to adopt beginners’ minds, if they want to stay relevant, he said. “Disruption is not preordained. It’s more about mindset of executives”, he added.

Four principles

Elaborating on the four principles highlighted in the book, Goldbach said that companies must focus their activities on understanding and driving human behaviour.

Besides bringing a ‘beginner’s mind’ , the other principles are on ‘embracing impermanence’ and building ‘minimally viable moves’ (MVM), to test and learn.

There is a need to embrace the idea that impermanence reigns at all levels, he said, whether it be at personal level or at the level of macroeconomy.

Also making minimally viable moves to constantly work toward something better is a great way to advance, according to Goldbach.

Prior to joining Deloitte, Goldbach was partner at Monitor Group

Goldbach, did not agree with the view of many corporate executives who blamed the commoditisation of their industry for the heat they are facing.

“It’s very hard to be different in the eyes of your customers when you are doing the exact same things as your competitors. It’s not true that industries are getting commoditised. Rather, it is they themselves who are commoditising their own industries by not being different,” he said.

If everybody goes to market with the same offering, consumers then retreat to ‘price’ as the differentiation between two products. However, if businesses pursue a strategy that gives consumers different options, then chances of winning that customer is high for those who bring the differentiated product, he noted.

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Published on December 17, 2018
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