Don't ignore the marathon for the sprints.

Too many organizations are powering through the sprints of digital transformation and losing the marathon. Here's why and how to run the long race.

In the digital world, we love the idea of sprints. The influence of agile certainly has a strong hand here, but the passion for sprinting goes deeper than that. It’s born out of a sense of deep impatience, that the world up until now has moved just a bit too slow.

This impatience is wonderful and world-changing. But organizations are tripped up, over and over, by powering through the sprints … and not seeing the marathon.

What does it mean to approach digital transformation as a marathon? What does an organization do differently?

Running a marathon means managing your energy differently. Think of all the wonderful “energy bursts” that organizations concoct to fuel the digital journey. Hackathons. Silicon Valley visits. Innovation sessions. From a sprint perspective, these events are fully optimized. Go in – learn something, do something, invent something – and then get out. High emotional impact in a short period of time.

But when you think about them as part of a marathon, they begin to fall short. We hear over and over that excitement was rampant for the days and even weeks after such an event … but as months stretched into years, mundane reality reasserted itself even more strongly than before.

And that’s where the sprint and the marathon diverge.

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