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Want to Bring Digital Transformation to Your Business? The Right Leadership is Key.


Want to Bring Digital Transformation to Your Business? The Right Leadership is Key.

When Under Armour ramped up its digital transformation efforts after the pandemic began, positive results soon emerged, and this year executives at the sportswear maker were able to report higher profit margins and a more seamless product-to-market pathway.

But Under Armour’s success story isn’t everyone’s success story. Plenty of companies spend lots of money on digital transformations, but only a small percentage achieve their desired outcome, says Sri Manchala, the ForbesBooks author of Crossing the Digital Fault Line: 10 Rules of Highly Successful Leaders in Digitalization (

That’s because digital transformation done right isn’t just about the money invested. It requires leadership of a particular kind, the kind that “methodical innovators” provide, says Manchala, CEO of the highly specialized digital transformation services firm Trianz.

“If heroic efforts, motivational speeches, and incentives alone worked, then more companies would be succeeding,” he says. “This battle requires intelligence, not superhuman efforts.”

In other words, he says, this is not a time to be a Marvel superhero.

“You are fighting to understand, control, and get ahead of a dynamic situation, not beat down an enemy,” Manchala says. “This is the time to think and act like a lead planner or the leader of a crisis-management center.”

After all, digital transformation entails more than building better intranets and websites, he says. It involves harnessing data to truly understand customer behavior in a digital world. It includes reimagining products and services. It concerns delivering high-velocity, digitalized experiences across the value chain to all stakeholders, even if that means discarding existing models.

The Methodical Innovator Persona

So just what kind of leaders are methodical innovators and why are they right for this moment? First and foremost, they are big-picture thinkers, Manchala says.

“They have an ability to connect the dots and boil down complex dynamics into simple, easy to understand root causes, dynamics and impact,” he says.

Methodical innovators also are exceedingly stakeholder-focused, whether those stakeholders are customers, suppliers, employees, partners or regulators.

Manchala says they also analyze data and develop their vision, strategy and priorities based on what the data reveals to them.

“Given their focus on outcomes, they are less emotional or attached to the past,” he says. “They are very willing to let go of prior business models and processes if the analytics support doing so.”

Also, instead of letting their egos get in the way of what they want to achieve, methodical Innovators practice a “no ego” approach, Manchala says. They quickly figure out just how big the problem is and just how little they really know about it, then they surround themselves with people who can make up for the knowledge they lack.

That may sound easy enough, but it’s not, he says.

Being Honest With Themselves

“It is incredibly hard for any leader to say ‘I don’t know’ in the corporate world,” Manchala says. “There is fear of being branded as ignorant, of being behind the curve, or of not being effective. A large percentage of leaders choose the tactics of ignoring, deflecting or deferring problems.”

But in the Digital Age, he says, you can run, but you cannot hide from what you don’t know.

That ties directly into what Manchala says is at the core of a successful leader’s character – an inherent honesty. For more than 100 years, study after study shows that the most important and admired quality in leaders is honesty, Manchala says.

“While we tend to think of honesty in transactions with others, methodical innovators are first honest with themselves,” he says. “In an environment of unknown forces, dynamics, pace and outcomes, they realize the importance of knowing what they don’t know. It is by acknowledging what they do not know that they begin the process of personal transformation.”


Sri Manchala, the ForbesBooks author of Crossing the Digital Fault Line: 10 Rules of Highly Successful Leaders in Digitalization (, is the CEO of Trianz, a highly specialized digital-transformation services firm headquartered in Silicon Valley and serving clients globally. Manchala shares data-driven insights on transformations and adaptive business leadership based on his two and a half decades in the technology industry, and leadership experience in the military and as a CEO. Manchala is a graduate of the National Defense Academy, an elite training academy for India’s Armed Forces officers, where he served in the infantry and Parachute Regiment (Special Forces). He is also an alumnus of the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California, where he is now a corporate advisory board member.


Diversity Makes Firms More Productive

This article raises a vital question as to how executives can successfully improve financial performance at all levels of the organization and might be the answer executives need but may also lack the fundamental fortitude necessary to be an all-encompassing model to predict financial performance. This article has started a mindset that encourages executives to investigate scholarly work to increase financial performance, enhance profitability and sales, and improve shareholder value. A new managerial approach may be necessary as the new business environment demands are increasingly difficult to adapt and sustain profitability.

Drawing from the existing literature, this article suggests new insights to identify workplace diversity as a primary driver of sales, profitability and financial performance for companies. Executives will see that improving financial performance and sales requires developing diversity and inclusion within organizations—not only at the higher echelons of the organization but at every level.

The global markets represent require top management executives who can adapt to various environments successfully. Executives can contribute to meet dynamic market needs, through adopting a diversity and inclusion strategy to meet the needs of customers in the marketplace. This article presents executives with diversity and inclusion strategies to improve financial performance and become more profitable. Executives can see that I expand upon the subject matter of a diversity and inclusion strategy.

Insufficient consideration of the impacts of this significant contributor on financial performance has been exposed and I attempt to address this concern for the first time. Hence, this article can portray a more detailed picture of the effects of diversity and inclusion strategy on financial performance that have been not mentioned in the past. Furthermore, the focus of this article is based upon the critical role of corporate leadership which allows a rich basis to understanding the mechanisms by which diversity in the workplace and financial performance are significantly influenced.

The critical and unanswered question is: How can corporate leaders improve financial performance? There are many academic studies that focus on the organizational and managerial factors that drive sales, profitability and financial performance. Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is one such area that plays a critical role and is a strategic prerequisite for business success in today’s hypercompetitive global environment. In particular, a diversity and inclusion strategy can help companies to improve financial performance in terms of achieving commercial goals and the quality of products and services. This is the reason that this strategy is so popular among practicing managers today.

The ultimate business outcome is financial success which narrows the gap between success and failure and this can be achieved by the commitment of its members and facilitated by an executive acting as a facilitative-leader. In doing this, corporate leaders need to focus on the critical human assets such as commitment and thus help followers to effectively implement organizational changes with both efficiency and effectiveness. They can shed light on the strategic role of follower attitudes and values to accomplish a higher degree of effectiveness, and highlight the importance of employees in implementing changes at the organizational level.

When corporate leaders show concern for the employee’s individual needs, individuals begin to contribute more commitment and they become more inspired them to put extra effort into their work. This extra effort improves the quality of products, customer satisfaction, and impacts the return on assets, sales, shareholder value, and finally improves financial success and operational risk management.

Financial success mentioned above can be only achieved by a diversity and inclusion strategy. Follower’s diversity of skills and interpersonal relations that is based on trust and reciprocity can improve innovation and the performance of group cohesiveness. At this point, you’re probably asking why the diversity of skills is so important. The simple answer is that companies that may lack diversity in the workplace cannot share their knowledge. With an effective diversity and inclusion strategy, global leaders may improve knowledge sharing and learning that can eventually enhance financial performance in global markets through empowering human resources and enabling change at the organizational level.

Executives can increase workplace diversity to facilitate knowledge sharing and build relationships, aiming at improving customer satisfaction through acquiring additional knowledge from customers, developing better relationships with them, and providing a higher quality of service and/or products for them. Furthermore, creating an expert group or steering committee may be shortsighted because such groups may not have sufficient diversity to comprehend knowledge acquired from external sources.

Leadership in some companies has failed to pay attention to this important matter and create a team that makes diversity a priority and represents a variety of ideas and perspectives. A leadership status that is not only a failing platform but one that represents destruction as opposed to innovation and expansion. This leadership gap can provide lessons for CEOs and executives in today’s organizational challenges. The fact remains that leaders that manage diversity and use it as an important driving force for financial success find their companies to be more competitive and on the cutting edge.

In conclusion, the question posited for top management executives and leaders in any and all companies is to accept the challenge of diversity and inclusion strategy implementation in order to address the current gaps in business effectiveness and improve their financial performance and competitiveness in global markets. Thus, I suggest that executives embrace a diversity and inclusion strategy. I attempt to blend scholarly concepts with real world application through thoroughly looking at an effective strategy for maximizing financial performance.

Based on this article, executives can now see that they must be aware that their diversity in the workplace can fundamentally affect the way a corporation performs its functions and can make a fundamental change in the processes by which a company achieves commercial objectives, improves sales and profitability and also increases financial performance. Thus, financial performance is dependent upon how executives formulate their diversity and inclusion strategy. And business success for companies in today’s global business environment can be better achieved when a diversity and inclusion strategy is effectively applied and widely used to achieve a higher degree of effectiveness and financial performance.

Therefore, when companies can have a very diverse employee population, they will secure a foothold in the ever-expansive global business environments.


Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation in companies and helps companies—from start-ups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a long-time contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.


Global Trade Magazine Accepting “Women in Logistics” Nominations

Global Trade Magazine officially opened nominations for its May/June cover story, “Women in Logistics” beginning this week through the end of March. This marks the publication’s second annual feature spotlighting leading female executives reshaping the way companies approach industry disruptions. The ideal candidate has a proven track record of creating long-term solutions impacting various sectors including transportation, warehousing, shipping, and supply chain management.

“As we continue to see a rise in female leaders within the logistics industry, I wanted to take recognition to the next level for female executives fostering positive company culture while displaying exemplary leadership all industry players can learn from,” said Eric Kleinsorge, Publisher and Chairman of Global Trade Magazine. “Last year’s cover story was a huge success. We received a lot of positive feedback from our readers and we’ve already received impressive nominations for this year’s feature.”

Among leading ladies featured in the 2019 issue included Joan Smemoe of RailInc., Jane Kennedy Greene of Kenco, Wendy Buxton of LynnCo Supply Chain Solutions, and Barbara Yeninas and Lisa Aurichio of BSYA. This year’s selected nominees will be selected based on factors including tenure, industry relevance, impact on the industry, the health of relationships with employees, with a high emphasis on their workplace culture approach. Nominations will be limited to one executive per submission and participants can enter their executive of choice until March 31st at 5 p.m.

“I encourage workers from around the globe to take a few minutes and submit female leaders that have changed the way they view leadership and have made a positive impact on their career and industry. It’s important to the evolving culture of global companies to recognize these women for their dedication to the industry and the workers that make success possible,” Kleinsorge concluded.

To submit a nomination, please click here or call (469) 778-2606 for more information.