About the Episode
Welcome to Practically Speaking, the monthly show where hosts Ryan and Lindsay talk about the topics that changemakers, digital leaders, and innovators like you care about most. On this month’s episode, Lindsay and Ryan discuss how to make resolutions realistic, the true meaning of digital maturity, and how to achieve team alignment in 2023. But be sure to listen to the end to catch Ryan share the origin story of StopBigPaper.com.
Meet Our Guest
Our featured Genius Spotlight guest was Garaldine Gray, CEO of Salesforce consulting agency Endiem. The 13-time Salesforce MVP and sought-after Dreamforce presenter loves helping her customers achieve their business goals, gain efficiencies in their processes, and enable their people to make collaborative, data-driven decisions. Listen to her episode Using Digitization to Be 1% Better to hear the digitization tips she’s gathered from 10 years as a business owner, project leader, and process innovator.
Lindsay McGuire: I'm Lindsay.
Ryan Grieves: And I'm Ryan, and this is Practically Speaking, the monthly show where we talk about the topics change-makers, digital leaders, and innovators care most about.
Lindsay McGuire: Well, I don't know about any of you, but I am just amazed that we are finally in 2023. I felt like 2022 went on forever and ever and ever and ever and ever. Ryan, did you feel like that?
Ryan Grieves: It did and it didn't. I feel like it's been this weird fog for the last couple years. COVID and the pandemic definitely had something to do with this. But this sense of time where it feels like the longest time, but also wow, a whole entire year just came and went. That also could be age as well. I'm not really sure when that clicks over, where people really lose track of time just based on how many times you've been around the sun. So here we are, it's 2023 though.
Lindsay McGuire: There is this bizarre time warp thing that has happened since I think 2020 of it feels like the longest time period and shortest time period of my whole entire life. So I don't think you're wrong in that assumption. But with 2023 and a new year, I think you all know where we're going to go with this. But that brings us to this thing called resolutions, New Year resolutions.
Some people might be excited, some people might be scared. I'm a mix probably in between. But in our Practically Genius Insider release last month, we actually talked a lot about resolution.
So Ryan, do you have a New Year's resolution you're working on?
Ryan Grieves: For me, I'm taking a different approach a little bit this year with more of a thematic approach to 2023 around this idea of being grateful. So that's really where I'm focused on. As far as I get to do these things rather than I have to do these things and just taking a different approach to all the positives and great things in my life and just being more grateful. And having that outcome hopefully to start every single day is really where I'm focused at here in 2023.
Lindsay, how about yourself?
Lindsay McGuire: Oh, I really like that, Ryan. I think that's a great flip on how you can think about things and it'll set you up for a much more positive year probably in a lot of ways. Kind of the same thing, I am actually not much of a resolution maker.
I like to pick a... I mean, I'm a copywriter, I write all day. So I guess words are just my jam. But I like to pick a word for the year. And quite honestly, this might have been my word last year, I can't really remember, because like I said, last year was just very, very long to me. So it could have been the same thing, who knows? But my word I think I want to attach myself to this year is intentional and being intentional with my relationships. How I use my time, what I do in my work.
I'm very much a yes person and as great as that can be, sometimes you can't continually be a yes person and not burn out. So this year I'm being very intentional in the opportunities I take, the opportunities I say no to, where I put my time and energy and effort and money and all those things. Because I think that will help me get a better overall outcome of all the decisions I make.
I have a mentor named Tanya who I talk to a lot and I'm hoping that she will keep me accountable to this year. And that leads me into my next conversation piece of this, which is in our last Practically Genius Insider, I actually shared a bunch of different tips on how to stick to your resolution.
So even if you're like Ryan and I and you're not quite a resolution setter, but you have maybe some goals you want to hit, this leads perfectly into that. So whether you're trying to achieve a resolution or you just have some kind of project you're trying to achieve a goal for, these tips can go either way.
But Ryan, I want you to talk about your tip first.
Ryan Grieves: Yeah, it's this idea of avoiding repeating past failure. So if you're thinking about setting a resolution this year, maybe even a thematical approach, like I mentioned with being grateful, that you've tried to fulfill in the past but you might want to reconsider. So repeating one that's been unsuccessful in the past may hinder you and your confidence to complete it again this year. So I recommend altering that resolution to breathe some more fresh air into that goal.
So what I mean by that, on the personal side, I've known people that have really struggled to maybe work out or be active. I've known somebody that took it as far as wearing what they're going to the gym or work out in the morning, they've wore that to bed. So they actually have to do more work to get out of that outfit if they want to do anything outside of working out for that day.
Inside of an organization, I think something that we've found works really well at Formstack is conducting retrospectives after every campaign, after every initiative or project or program that you've put together, is getting all the stakeholders back together. What's gone well, what didn't go so well? What are opportunities of improvement for the future?
Because you're probably going to be spending up those initiatives or projects again in the future, and being able to look back on those notes will help you identify those roadblocks before you even start. And so some of that will help you to not repeat those same past failures.
Lindsay, what tip do you have?bl
Lindsay McGuire: Yeah, one I've been thinking about that really spoke to me when I wrote that last Practically Genius Insider Newsletter was to partner with someone. And for me, there's two areas I think about partnering with, especially if it's talking about what I'm trying to achieve in my work life this year and the goals I've set out for this.
So for instance, let's say the goal I'm thinking about is boosting the subscriber list for Practically Genius Insider. So if you're listening, hey, help me achieve my 2023 goals and go subscribe right now.
But anyways, let's say that's the goal I'm trying to achieve, one thing that's super helpful is to partner with someone to have some accountability of getting to that goal. And I like to think of it as having two different partners. So one who is in the nitty-gritty and understands exactly what you're doing in your day-to-day work.
So that could be maybe, Ryan, I ask you to be my partner and hold me accountable for this or someone else on the marketing team who is tightly ingrained in this project. So that they know exactly the situations I'm in, the work that's happening, what's going on, and they can have that insider perspective to cheer me on when I need it. Help me realize where things might not be going as well or might need to be tweaked or fixed or fine-tuned. And they really have the insight to be able to partner with me, and then they would also tell me what they're trying to achieve and something that I might have good insight into. So that we can bounce off ideas, we can work together, we can celebrate our wins together.
But I also thinking about having a partner outside the scope too. A little bit earlier I mentioned my mentor, Tanya. I would love to talk to her about this goal and have her just total outside opinion to be able to pitch new ideas and new thoughts and new strategies. And she comes from outside my workday and outside of my sphere of what I'm doing day to day.
So she might bring in some really great perspectives to help me think of things I haven't thought about, notice things that have not been on my radar at all. But also having someone outside of that to be able to support me and then I can also champion her. So whatever her goal for this year is, helping her along the way and just having someone both in the workplace and outside the workplace to partner with, I think can be a huge benefit.
Ryan Grieves: Well, I'm happy to be your partner on saying no. Big fan of that. You can improve a vast majority of your life and organization and business by just saying no to things that might actually you might have taken on in the past. So if you need to sign me up for that partner in crime, I'm here for you.
Lindsay McGuire: How beautiful. You all are watching our tips play out in real time, this is fantastic. So now I just have to hold Ryan accountable and myself accountable to make these happen, right?
Ryan Grieves: Yes. Super meta.
Lindsay McGuire: And if you want the rest of the tips that I shared in the last Insider Newsletter, feel free to go over to Formstack.com, click on that resources dropdown, you'll see that Insider Newsletter link and you can find all the tips we shared, because there were actually a lot of really helpful tips I think that can help anyone achieve their 2023 goals and resolutions and whatever's on your list for this year.
But another topic that is usually on my mind no matter what, and we've talked a lot on this show about, is digital maturity. And so one thing we've been talking about in our team is just what is the baseline level of understanding of digital maturity? So we decided to run a poll asking our audience whether they really understood and had a clear definition of what digital maturity means.
So Ryan, can you tell us a little bit more about our definition of digital maturity?
Ryan Grieves: Yeah, if you've read the State of Digital Maturity report that we put together, we defined it as the measure of an organization's ability to use technology to reach maximum efficiency. So it provides insight into how quickly a company can adapt to the needs of today's technology-driven world.
So in Layman's terms, digital maturity is about the ability to quickly respond or take advantage of opportunities in the market. So take on digital transformation. And it's really not just from the standpoint of just that digital technology itself, but also in people, culture, and processes that are organizational-wide that help you achieve those business outcomes. And it's also a key predictor of success for orgs launching a digital transformation.
I am keen to see what the results from the LinkedIn poll said about their understanding of digital maturity.
Lindsay McGuire: So I was kind of surprised, but surprised in a good way. So 50% of people said yes, they do have a clear understanding of what digital maturity means, and then another 18% said, "Sort of, I kind of get it." So that means 68% of people do have an understanding of digital maturity, which actually, like I said, surprised me. I thought maybe it would be a little bit more of a gray term or something that might be a little bit more new or just not well known to the market yet. But obviously, a majority of people actually do have an understanding of digital maturity.
So it's really interesting to see that because I think through our research we found that it really hasn't been a common term until the last maybe three, four, five years. But it's given me confidence to see these results that people do understand what digital maturity is. But it's also shown me that there is still an area that we need to do some education on.
So overall, 23% of people said no and 10% said unsure. So there's still more than 30% of our audience who said, "Eh, I don't really think I know what this is. I don't understand what this is." So it does prove that even though there are people who understand it, there is a part of the market that still needs education around this, and there is an importance to some of the things that we are putting out and riding overall.
But to me, when I think about digital maturity, kind of feels like the next frontier when it comes to digital transformation. I know a lot of people will say, "Digital transformation's a buzzword or it's just a marketing term or it's just this bloated industry term that really means nothing." Or whatever you want to say as the hot take around digital transformation.
But to me, digital maturity seems like the cool older sibling in a lot of ways of digital transformation. It's the next step up from digital transformation. It's the next piece of that big digital transformation puzzle that we're putting together.
Ryan Grieves: I think for me, digital transformation went from this defined product or timeline to an ongoing part of an organization. It's no longer just a start and stop and it's just an ever-evolving part built into the fabric of organizations.
So this idea of digital maturity is all relative based on your org, based on your customers, your patient, your student expectations, and your competitive landscape. So you can be incredibly digital mature for your industry, but not compared to orgs in other industries, for example. So I think that's a huge opportunity for organizations. If you benchmark yourself against others in your industries and you are a leader, that's a key differentiator.
So maybe you're not to the level of customer expectations or experiences of an Amazon, but you're a local service organization and you're able to do custom quoting. All that's automated through technology and you're able to do online bill pay and all these other different things that maybe differentiates you in your market or your industry. That's still being incredibly digital mature and sets you up and differentiates you from your competition. And so I think more and more organizations are starting to pay attention to this as a key differentiator for themselves.
Lindsay McGuire: And it's funny you bring up benchmarking, Ryan, because we actually do have a digital maturity assessment that listeners can go and take right now. I think what? It's 12 or 13 questions. Very quick, very easy. But the thing is you don't know what you don't know and you might have a thought of how digitally mature your organization is and you might be totally surprised by the results, or you might actually be able to have concrete evidence that your assumptions were correct.
And like you said, being able to know where you are within your niche or industry or vertical is so incredibly helpful. Because then you have a seat at the table and you understand where you are with your competitors and you can see where you need to improve, where you're doing great, and that can impact a lot of the things you do as a business.
So if you are listening and you're like, "Oh, I do want to know where we are at with our digital maturity." Feel free to hop over to our website. Also in the show notes, we'll link to our digital maturity assessment. Highly recommend because what happens is not only do we give you a general assessment of your digital maturity, we break it down by your vertical as well or your industry, which is incredibly helpful information to have.
So I highly recommend you hop over and take that. Takes less than what, 10 minutes, Ryan? It's super easy and it's really helpful too because we'll actually provide you some very unique personalized tips to follow depending on where you are in that digital maturity level. And also remember, you can be really, really digitally mature at one point in time. But then if you don't keep up with what's happening in your industry and in the world in general, you can fall. So just because you think you might be very digitally mature, it doesn't mean you're going to stay there forever.
Ryan Grieves: Shifting a bit. Lindsay, you recently had a cool conversation with Geraldine Gray of Endiem. Care to share a little bit about how that podcast went?
Lindsay McGuire: Yeah, so Geraldine, who has a fantastic accent, let me tell you. So you haven't listened to her episode yet, you must just hear her talk. She has a beautiful, beautiful accent. But she also has a lot of great information to share.
She's been a CEO for over 10 years with Endiem, which is a Salesforce consultancy agency. And she just has some really brilliant ideas around digitization, how to ensure that your organization is continuing your digital transformation, continuing to improve your digital maturity. And she gave some really great tips to consider about how to figure out where you can optimize, where you can automate and where you can digitize.
But one thing that she brought up a lot was this idea of transparency. Whether that's transparency on your team when working on a project, transparency with either other teams or your clients or customers if you're a service-oriented business, about how things are going, what the communication is like, what goals are you hitting, what milestones are you hitting, are you on your timeline with a project or something that you're working on?
And she brought everything back. Even though our conversation was very heavy in digitization and tools and what she does for her customers as a Salesforce consultant, it all came back to this idea of transparency. And that's what creates trust. It builds strong project roadmaps. It's where the communication, hitting milestones, addressing issues, all those things relate back.
But she also made the point that you can't have any of that transparency without having team alignment. Whether that's team alignment on your direct team, across departments in your organization, as an organization as a whole of being aligned on what your goals are. And bringing it back to 2023, talking about those high level organizational goals.
If you don't have team alignment on those things, you are actually never really going to get where you need to be. You can have the best project plan, you can have the best communication. But if you don't have alignment and people don't see the bigger picture, it's likely you're going to fail to some extent.
So Ryan, I would love for you to talk a little bit about what team Alignment looks like, feels like, the impact of it from the least optimized to the most optimized organizations?
Ryan Grieves: Yeah, as we surveyed quite a few organizations across the US, we found that limited organizations, so the least optimized organizations, they had departments that worked independently and rarely shared ideas. They had a lack of formal process for sharing learnings across departments. IT usually builds workflows, but those are sometimes built by different departments. And there's lack of consistent reporting around system costs, tech maintenance and necessary workflow updates. So that's on the least and limited optimized side of the house.
On the optimized or the most optimized organizations, learnings and ideas are frequently shared across departments. They use a variety of channel to communicate those learnings, including collaboration tools, emails and meetings. And they track data on systems, costs, tech maintenance and necessary workflow updates.
So you can see the start contrast between limited and optimized organizations where they have this alignment across organizations. They're sharing their learnings, the good, bad and the uglies across the organization. And they also have this framework for identifying bottlenecks and inefficiencies across the orgs and they're trying to tackle those, not necessarily always at the siloed departmental level.
Lindsay McGuire: And I actually did exercise recently that makes me think about something that could be done to maybe boost an organization's understanding of this team alignment. So I actually did a workshop with a lot of my other coworkers from a lot of different departments about the overall customer journey for a Formstack customer. And we had sticky note areas on a fig jam board of what is the customer experiencing and what are the internal teams experiencing and what are the problems, what are the successes?
And it just made me think about how, wow, when you have these opportunities to put all of these things out here and have transparency across all those pieces and discussions around all these pieces, that's a great way to boost that team alignment because the more ... Like you've talked about in those limited organizations, they're in such silos and they just work within their tiny little pods or departments or teams and they don't really have those cross-departmental channels to communicate and to talk about the overall general large scale projects or successes or goals.
And I think one thing we can all be thinking about in 2023 is how do I take my blinders off a little bit and how do I really think about holistically, what is my organization trying to achieve? How can I play a role in that, not only in the function that I do every day, but also from creating those stronger bonds in those other departments?
Ryan Grieves: I think it all starts with how you go into your annual planning probably as an organization. If you are creating plans in a silo and not necessarily getting stakeholder feedback across the org or you're actually creating the goals together from the very beginning, that could be an OKR framework, that could be other frameworks out there. But if you're not creating those as an organization across all departments, naturally you're going to go into a very siloed work function and goals are going to be created that's probably at odds, maybe with another department. For resources, that type of stuff.
So my biggest tip and the biggest learning I've ever had inside of an organization when it comes to a team alignment is getting on the same page from the very beginning through your annual planning or as you kick off a project or initiative, getting all the stakeholders in that room.
Lindsay McGuire: And the only other one I will add to that conversation is to make relationships with people outside of your department. Especially if you are in a remote first environment or a totally remote environment, it can be hard to get out of your little work zone or work team. So just take some time strategically each week or every other week just to build some bonds with people outside of your role, your function, your department, and even your location depending on your business structure.
I think that can do a world of good for people because then you start understanding things that are outside what impacts you maybe from a day-to-day or a month to month and just getting a better understanding of what's happening across your entire organization. Which can be hard and complicated and messy, but the stronger relationships you build, and again, that better team alignment you have, the more successful you'll be overall in that.
So I could probably talk about the importance of team alignment and what you can do to be sure that you're talking to other departments and improving that part of your digital maturity scale. But let's talk about something a little bit more fun. I think this is probably everyone's favorite section of the show. I mean, that's just an assumption, but I think it's my favorite for sure. And that's when we hate on paper.
And so Ryan, as we go into this new year and thinking about what's coming next, I actually wanted to bring up something from the past that might be making a presence in 2023 again. And so I want you to tell our audience the story about Big Paper and how that campaign came about. Because I don't know if people realize this or not, but I was actually gone the entire time this project happened. I had my son, Miles. Went on maternity leave for three months, came back and saw Big Paper was just this crazy, beautiful, wonderful thing that I'm obsessed about.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, there's a link to YouTube and a link to the website in our show notes. Please check it out. You'll get the best laugh. But Ryan, I want you to share the story about how Big Paper came about.
Ryan Grieves: It's kind of like one of those things where you always probably have noticed out in life, but until you work at a company that actually deals in helping people move off of paper processes, you don't notice it as much. Like once you buy a new car, you realize they're everywhere.
It was a couple years ago actually, and we had been talking a couple different times as far as just why is paper still so prevalent inside organizations? Why when you go to the doctor's office, are you still having to fill out the same form over and over again when they have clearly that information in the system? Why are you making me print this PDF, sign it, scan it, all the things.
Lindsay McGuire: Oh my God.
Ryan Grieves: What is happening? And we had this conversation over and over again and we thought that there has to be an organization behind it called Big Paper, them and Big Inc, if you think about keeping printers in business, making us print all these PDFs and pages and all that things.
And so we took a funny job at this made up company called Big Paper on how they're actually keeping it in business. How they're keeping the strangle hold on our processes from insurance to the doctor's office to inside of every touchpoint you might have as a consumer. And really took a funny spin on it as far as help us join the fight against Big paper so we can get more efficient and also just streamline our overall days, both as a consumer and inside of our organization.
Lindsay McGuire: What can we expect to see out of the Stop Big Paper campaign in 2023? Anything you can share with the audience?
Ryan Grieves: Stay tuned. Still ideating. We've had many, many customers and many partners of ours say they're joining us on the fight towards Big Paper. We've even had a customer reach out with some ideas for future videos. If you do have ideas for how we can take this to Big Paper some more with this campaign, always up for it. But we will definitely be exploring a lot of other cool ideas in the coming year to help find more of us out there that have a problem with this and need it to stop. So stay tuned.
Lindsay McGuire: Please. Let's go. Let's get something out in 2023 around Stop Big Paper again. I'm here for it.
Ryan Grieves: Me too. Well, thanks so much for joining us for this episode of Practically Speaking.
Lindsay McGuire: Be sure to subscribe to Practically Genius Insider Newsletter. There's a link in the show notes to make that easy. For this month's issue, we're talking everything automation. So if you're concerned about digital maturity and how you can improve, definitely subscribe so you can figure out all the automation tips you need to advance your digital maturity.
Ryan Grieves: Thanks for listening, and we'll be back later this week with our next Genius Spotlight episode.