I have applied all of these digital success habits to building a World-Class Digital Business Continuity & Critical Event Management Program in large and mid-size enterprises.
Technology is the great enabler. Unfortunately, many people
that understand technology from a nuts-and-bolts
perspective do not have winning digital habits. Some are
sitting on goldmines of opportunity and others are the targets
of disruptive threats but they just do not see ‘through the
fog’. Some do not know how to, some do not have the time
to and others just want the world to stand still. They never
execute a digital success plan. Instead they set themselves
up for failure.
Developing the right mindset and habits is key to digital
success. How you identify opportunities, threats and solve
problems will position you to create customer delight and a
I live by these habits every day. They have been good to me
for many years and enabled me to find success in business,
career and my personal life. Allow me to share them with
Here are My 22 Habits that will help you build Your World-Class Digital Business Continuity, Critical Event Management Program and Career:
1 – Be a bold leader, not a follower:
Lead by action. Create a culture that values innovation,
creativity and thinking digitally. These attributes should be
core to your team’s organizational values. Motivate,
incentivize and simply ‘light up’ your teams and peers to the
incredible digital opportunities to transform your business.
Doing so will empower you to grow a successful digital
organization! You will be setting the stage to disrupt and to
never get disrupted.
2 – Be optimistic and maintain a positive outlook:
An optimistic and positive outlook are important ingredients
for digital success. Too often people take a negative attitude
and beat themselves when success is in their grasp.
Optimists positively affect all those around them. Every
conversation I engage in and every project I am part of I
exude optimism. I am proud to say that I have often been
called by co-workers, teammates and friends the most
optimistic person they ever met. If you are always positive
you will rarely have a bad day.
Whether things are going well or not, stay positive and
project a positive aura. Digital transformation and disruption
will bring challenges but that is great, we embrace
3 – Imagination is more important than knowledge:
Here are two quotes from Albert Einstein:
“Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
“Imagination is more important than knowledge”.
My take on it is- if you can imagine it, you can do it.
What you can do with exponential digital technologies is only
limited by your imagination and you do not have to be a
programmer or a tech genius to be digitally successful.
99.9% of customer delighting digital opportunities are waiting
to be created and brought to market. Imagine it and create it.
Create greatness, not mediocrity:
4 – Reach for greatness:
Do not be conservative. Never
be mediocre. If there is a disruptor that is entering your niche
don’t try to equal them, rather leap beyond disruptor’s and
squash disruptor’s. I promise you anything is possible if you
focus, engage your teams and leverage powerful emerging
technologies and tools.
If you are an employee think like an intrapreneur. An
intrapreneur means having an entrepreneurial attitude while
working for a company. Your employer will love you for it and
should reward you. Treat your daily job as a business that
you must improve to generate success. Seek out ideas and
tools that can differentiate your organizations and bring them
to your management’s attention.
5 – Think 10x and monitor the edge of your sector for
opportunities and threats:
Think BIG! Go on the offense. Disrupt, to prevent being
disrupted. My biggest successes are often the ones that are
my own little ‘moonshots’. The ones that are so different they
create a ‘market of one’. The ones that some people said
were ‘a little crazy’. Those are the best. Imagine teaming
with a laid off grandmother who had zero technology
knowledge to build a social media site? I embraced that
opportunity, we helped thousands of people, it became famous and was featured in The Wall Street Journal, People
Magazine and many other media outlets.
6 – Brainstorm with colleagues on how your organization
can disrupt and leap beyond the competition:
All ideas should be respected and considered. If you are a manager
you want people to feel comfortable and safe providing
Google walks-the-walk and talks-the-talk; they provide
ample time for employees to work on projects outside their
normal duties, on company time. The last time I looked, it
was 20% of their time. Employees enjoy the perk. Google
gets better employees to work with them and revenue
generating products are derived from the program. I call that
win-win-win. Wouldn’t you want to work for a company that
allows you to follow your passions? Be that company!
7 – Embrace and create a culture of change:
Everything is on board for radical change. Forget the
same-old-same-old. Some people will insist on doing things
‘the way we have for the last 20 years’.
One of the biggest challenges in implementing a new
technology or process is change. Change creates a
multitude of feelings; for some it is apprehension and
It is important to create a culture that embraces
change. The first step is to lead by example. Always seek a
better way of doing things. Push new ideas, concepts and
processes. Anticipate resistance, especially in industrial era
culturally siloed organizations. To become a disruptor
everyone in your organization must buy-in. Discard the
naysayers. Do not let them bring you down. If they persist – it
may be the highway for them. Change is a team sport. Put
another way, there is too much dead wood in companies –
especially in large ones where it is easier to blend in or hide.
Seek and embrace challenges:
John Kennedy said, ‘We choose to go to the moon, not
because it is easy, but because it is hard’. UltimateBusinessContinuity.com is
focused on finding ideas and challenges and making you
into a disruptor.
Innovation and digital disruption is centered on finding
challenges and overcoming them. Become a problem solver.
If you have the right approach to challenges you will
embrace them and covet them. Overcoming the right
challenges can make you rich, famous and more importantly
empower you to help people. I feature some of those brilliant
innovators that make the world a better place elsewhere on UltimateBusinessContinuity.com.
Life can become boring if you do not get out of your
comfort zone. Whether you are an owner or employee,
making yourself uncomfortable allows you to break new
ground and grow. For me, it is writing a new book after
exhausting myself on the previous one, starting a new digital
business, giving speeches and doing large scale webinars.
Taking on seemingly insurmountable challenges is
exhilarating and, at least for me, what life is all about.
8 – Be resilient:
Organizations and their employees must be resilient.
Resilience is the ability to face any type of challenge, even
the most disastrous and disruptive and bend but never
break. It is the ability to absorb whatever happens and spring
back not only to the previous state but to learn from the
challenge or disastrous event and become even stronger.
9 – Have a great athlete’s mentality:
Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan had it when they were
playing and now use it to their advantage in business. They
were the first to arrive at practice and the last to leave. They
‘practiced with a purpose’. They prepared meticulously
covering every detail. In my own small way, I have always
approached everything I do that way. You cannot always be the most talented person but you can be the hardest-
Digital transformation is a never-ending journey. What you implement now will be old-school a decade or less from
now. Always strive to improve. I think I had some of that
attitude instilled from a lifetime of competing in sports where
things did not always come easy to me. I was told by my
friends that ‘I was never satisfied’. I prefer to call it an
For example, a couple of years ago, I fell while playing
basketball outdoors and hit my head on the concrete floor. It
ended my long basketball career. Fortunately, I used my
athlete’s mentality and became a race walker. I practiced
with a purpose, relied on data generated from my fitness
tracker and experimented relentlessly. I ‘failed fast and often’
in the beginning, but eventually everything came together
and I won the U.S. Track & Field National 10k Championship
and came in second in the National 5k Championship. I then
transferred my new-found knowledge to running local 5k’s
and 10k’s and it worked out very well. But I still want to
improve. I enjoy competing against myself and the clock.
10 – Never give up the digital fight:
The stakes are too high to quit on innovation, digital
transformation and disruption. As Mo Rocca says on Henry
Ford’s Innovation Nation, one of my favorite innovation TV
shows – “NEVER GIVE UP!” You will make a better future for
your customers, organization and yourself! I believe if you do
not quit you cannot lose. Happily, Edison, Tesla and Colonel
Sanders felt the same way.
11 – Question everything!!
As you will learn throughout Ultimate Business Continuity anything is
possible. Digital transformation is about creating new
products and services using exponential technology. It is
also about relentlessly automating industrial age products
and services. Every product or service can benefit by adding
intelligence and becoming smart. I devote posts on UltimateBusinessContinuity.com to creating smart homes, cars, aircraft supply chain,
smart devices to help people with disabilities,
communications, entertainment, sports and more. Each
post will help you develop ideas for products that are not
yet smart but ripe for added intelligence through digital
12 – Be different:
Never be afraid to be different. Think ‘outside the box’
and ‘take the road less traveled’. Go far beyond the
disruptors, instead of trying to copy them and compete with
them. A ‘follow the herd’ mentality no longer works in the digital world. If you are trying to copy someone that has first-
mover advantage in your niche you are making a mistake.
During the industrial age ‘borrowing ideas’ might have
worked. We all know companies that copied the little
creative people and spent a lot of money on marketing and
advertising to crush them. In the digital world that no longer
works. The Internet has leveled the playing field. It no longer
takes a big budget to market and create awareness. It takes
a great idea, product or service and the ability to execute.
13 – Discover riches in the niches:
John Wanamaker (1838-1922), department-store titan,
once said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted;
the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Mr. Wanamaker
would have loved the digital world, as there is no longer
The Internet gives you the ability to target niches.
Kevin Kelly’s book, ‘The Long Tail’ pioneered the subject of
niche marketing and it still holds true today. ‘The One to
One Future’ by Martha Rogers and Don Peppers was ahead
of its time and a great book. I have written about and
successfully used targeted niche marketing many times.
14 – Be agile and lean:
We will discuss many of the advantages of assuming
an agile mindset and a few things to be wary in other posts on UltimateBusinessContinuity.com. Often small teams win, while big teams bog down. Cut meetings to a minimum. No meetings should be over an
hour unless necessary.
15- Build with a sense of urgency:
I see it way too often. An organization decides to
implement a new digital transformation program. They
are gung-ho and say all the right things, but move tooslowly. Management interest and support begins to wane.
There is not that sense of urgency that a fast-moving digital
program requires. Unfortunately, the people that want to
disrupt you are moving quickly and if can spell disaster if
they get to market before you do.
16 – Pivot when it makes sense:
Pivoting products or services has turned mediocre
companies into digital giants. I will share specific cases in other posts throughout Ultimate Business Continuity. When it makes sense, a pivot can be your best strategy.
17 – Encourage experimentation and covet failure:
The importance of relentless experimentation and
coveting failure are discussed in detail in posts
including, ‘How to Discover Extraordinary Value in
Experimentation and Smart Failure” and ‘How to Create
Value Fast, Using MVP’s and Pivots’.
18 – Have a ‘childlike curiosity’:
See the world as you did when you were a kid. There
were no preconceived limits. You played and experimented,
made up stories and had fun. Everything was so new and
exciting. You figured out how to do things in creative ways.
Well, that is what your role as a digital leader is all about.
Einstein said of curiosity, “The important thing is to not
stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
19 – Read-Read-Read and Listen-Listen-Listen:
It is critical to keep your eyes and ears attuned as the
digital ecosystem moves fast. Throughout UltimateBusinessContinuity.com, I share my secrets on staying up-to-date on digital products,
services, opportunities and threats. Survival and success
means staying ahead of the competition. I will show you
techniques and tools that will make a difference.
20 – Don’t reinvent the wheel:
Digital lends itself to re-use and easy customization of
content and code at little or no cost. Bits and bytes have that
21 – Play and Have Fun!
Again, I will rely on an Einstein quote to say it better
than I can: “Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun”
Michael Jordan on playing basketball – “Just play.
Have fun. Enjoy the game”.
Marty Fox – “Digital Innovation, Transformation and
Disruption (if you are doing the disrupting) is fun stuff.
Playing and having fun leads to success in every facet of
I will share the importance of playing and having fun in
the post entitled, ‘How to Digitally Play, Prototype and
22 – Love what you do:
The adage that if you love what you do, you will never
work a day in your life, is so true. I love working with digital
technology and applying it to transform businesses and lives.
It may be a bit extreme, but every day I eat a bag lunch at
my desk, except for the rare occasion I am attending a
business lunch. I rarely take days off because I enjoy my
‘work’ more than anything else I would do. I get some flak for
all of this, but I am comfortable ‘in my skin’ and have learned
to accept it as who I am.
The best advice I can give you is this; if you are going
to a job that you despise, if you are stressing out or
depressed, if you have difficulty sleeping with the thought of
facing another day of work it is not healthy. Find another job
or career. Going to work for 40 years so you can start
enjoying life at 65 is not a workable plan.