I’d like you to think about something. And because I’m not a beat-around-the-bush kind of guy, here it is:

Digital transformation is more than a buzzword for modern businesses—it’s a necessity for remaining viable … Despite its critical importance, a surprising number of transformation efforts are failing … Last year alone, companies poured $1.3 trillion into transformation initiatives … Among those that didn’t fail outright, only 16% saw improvements in their performance … people aren’t the problem; it’s the organization’s failure to communicate effectively with its people that sets them up for digital transformation trouble from the start.

That’s dead wrong. The reason it’s dead wrong is that the first sentence is dead wrong. The reason the first sentence is dead wrong is that digital transformation is NOT more than a buzzword for modern businesses. And it’s not more than a buzzword — it can’t possibly be more than a buzzword, ever — because it’s never defined clearly and consistently. Lack of clarity and inconsistency are the very definitions of buzzword.

Putting the Up in Corruption

The excerpt above comes from this article: “The $900 billion reason GE, Ford and P&G failed at digital transformation.” Please think about that, too. Who in their right minds — what organizations, regardless of how bureuacratically inept and unaccountable they are — would blow $1.3 trillion, have nothing to show for it, and admit it, especially if their terminological objectives had been clearly and consistently defined?

Let’s take that a step farther: How corrupt — how deceitful and cowardly — do corporate bureaucracies have to be to squander $1.3 billion on a phrase they couldn’t define and probably never tried to? For that matter, how inept, unaccountable, and corrupt would an organization like CNBC have to be to report a $1.3 trillion bath this way?

Do we ever think about things this way? If we have the vaguest inkling that resources are finite, shouldn’t we? This whole thing is FUBAR by any measure, monetary or otherwise. Where are the red flags? Where the hell are the shareholders?

Riddle Me This

And since we’re throwing around so many words and phrases and asking so many questions here, I’ll throw in a few more:

  • What are the differences, other than semantic, between corruption, malfeasance, and dereliction of fiduciary responsibility?
  • Why do we pay so little attention to language and the consequences of its abuse?
  • Does anyone ask ANY questions anymore?
  • Has anyone read this?

When Confucius was asked how he would restore order to the world, he answered: “First, I would straighten out the language.” The fact that Confucius is purported to have been a pretty smart dude notwithstanding — and despite the fact that I’m an ardent student and reverent purveyor of the language — I’m not entirely positive straightening it out would completely restore order to the world.

But it would have saved at least $1.3 trillion from going down The Big Drain.