The “Danger of Wait”: Driving Radical Change During a Pause

About a year ago, many organizations made radical decisions quickly out of necessity, not knowing whether they were the right or wrong for the organization. Now, a year on, many of those organizations are waiting to see if those decisions were the right ones, for both employees and as an overall business decision.

Michael Alonzi, CTO of Affari Group, joins CDM Media’s J.D. Miller for a Q&A to talk about the benefits of getting outside the box to help drive the company forward in an innovative and imaginative way during this period of waiting. 

Conversation has been condensed and edited for length.

J.D. Miller: There’s a danger of wait as we head into the new era. What do I mean by danger of wait? Well, a lot of organizations made decisions rather quickly. Whether they’re the right ones or the wrong ones, a lot of people are sitting and waiting to see if those decisions were the right ones, not only for the company’s employees, but also for a business decision, and there’s inherent danger in that wait. My question for you, Michael, is are people willing to take more risk in 2021? Or have we hit that limit?

Michael Alonzi: I definitely think that they are. We’re all sitting here, holding our breath. We don’t know if we’re waiting for the next shoe to drop, or if we’re going to go back to “normal”, or what the case may be. I think people realize that what’s thrown at them, they can figure it out and can solve it. Personally, I love your topic of the danger of wait. We have an opportunity here, which is amazing, if we take advantage of it. What’s gone on [since the beginning of the global pandemic] – it’s been wild and we’ve all had our teams run like heck, one side to the other, up and down, in and out. “Quick! Go change this. Go do that!” Now, we all step back, and think “Now what? What is our opportunity?” It’s not the “Oh my god, you know what’s coming down the road?” We’re thinking about where we are, realizing the benefits that have happened to us and taking advantage. 

J.D. Miller: So my question is: how do you put the brakes on while still actively mapping out a new direction for your organization?

Michael Alonzi: The question is where you put the brakes to begin with? You don’t just slam on the brakes all together. It’s not that way at all. What we do is, stop a second, look around and make an informed decision. What have we seen [since the beginning of the global pandemic] that we threw gasoline on and that fire didn’t work at all? Or, what did we throw a little gasoline on and it became a huge blaze? 

It’s not just about technology anymore. It’s about our business. It gives us, as CIOs and CISOs, the ability to speak the business language. Look the result of this is that it’s not just about this technology or that technology, it’s not about that argument. We have this incredible opportunity to look at what we do and say, “You know what, it’s not a matter of just wholesale wait. It’s selective. It’s selective emphasis on new things and changing our whole tone on how we look at what our technology is doing. It’s really exciting stuff.

J.D. Miller: What industries do you think are struggling or in most in danger of wait?

Michael Alonzi: You know, it’s really across the board. It’s all of us. I think of healthcare. You know, we were kind of waiting to get back to normal-run healthcare, and it’s not going to happen. As an example, we got telehealth, that’s a new thing. Everybody’s into it; it’s working. Okay, now, we could just wait and go back to normal again until it reverts. It’s not going to revert.

I think that the industries that are most danger of wait are the ones that had to radically shift. Behavioral health – radical shift. Retail – radical shift. I mean, it wasn’t by chance that 2020’s Black Friday was the biggest Black Friday in history by a multiplier factor. So, we don’t wait just for that and expect they’ll go back to normal. We wait, we learn, and we learn how we move our business forward with our technology from that. I’m very excited by all this, as you can probably tell.

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