Beware of Zed

Beware of Zed

In the book, Play Bigger by Al Ramadan, et al, there is a lot that can be learned about the Organizational risks and benefits to creating a new category. A new category is a new market space like Amazon with online shopping, Salesforce with CRM cloud software, and IKEA with furniture.

I maintain that many of the risks identified don’t just apply to Category Creation but also to Digital Transformation. Both require a massive leap of faith. Category Creation is about Changing or defining the External perception – clearly articulating “What’s different?” to the marketplace while Digital Transformation is about changing or defining the internal perception – convincing yourselves of the change. There were no guarantees for Salesforce when it created the SAAS delivery method for CRM. And there won’t be any guarantees when an organization takes on a Digital Transformation effort. 

When taking on either, there is plenty to learn from the field of Change Management. This recent article by SmartTribes Institute is a must-read if you are looking for an understanding of the layers involved in Digital Transformation. Simon Sinek often references another maintstay in Change Management called the Law of Diffusion. The law of Diffusion, discussed in this previous post, states that 84% of your end users will resist change to some degree. 

What’s a Zed?

That leads us back to a persona that Al Ramadan calls Zed. Zed is a person that actively resists change. They may be aggressive and completely transparent or calculated and subtle but just as against the change. This person will actively work to sabotage your attempts to lead change. And the only way to deal with a Zed, at least in my experience, is to have the courage to remove that person from the Organization. 

Note: The name Zed is not actually what Al Ramadan and team call this persona. It is, however, the name they reference in their book. 

References and Resources

Play Bigger – How to be a Category King

Supporting Music

Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name

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