Frank de Boer, a Dutch soccer coach. Not even that many years ago De Boer was considered the new rising star. According to the Dutch press he would be the successor of some other world famous Dutch coaches, like Johan Cruijff and Louis van Gaal.

Last week Frank de Boer was sacked for the second consecutive time within three months. All of a sudden, he now is the worst coach ever, according to the Dutch, Italian and English press. I guess that will not be the case. But the fact is, De Boer only succeeded in a familiar environment: Ajax, the club where he grew up as player and as coach. There he had a clear approach understood by everyone, an organization he knew from the bottom till the top and a good relationship with the fans.

With his transfer to Italy, and later to England, he could only fall back on the approach he practiced the previous years. All the other aspects – organization, facilities, culture, processes, etc. – he had to discover at his new club. But he didn’t. Or at least not enough. He declared his approach as the way to go forward and tried to change the whole organization to move along.

The players didn’t understand the new way of playing soccer or possibly couldn’t adopt it within a short period of time. The management of the club saw their business-value decline with each defeat. And the fans wanted to see proper soccer, but first and foremost, good results.

Last week I was visiting VMworld Barcelona and joined the session ‘Embracing Digital Transformation’ of Greg Verdino. Greg is a business futurist and authority on digital transformation. In his presentation Greg told the audience how to make an IT transformation effectively whilst meeting the existing business demand. The key message was: only a combination of technology and the human aspect will make a transformation be really effective. Changes with just a focus on technology could be successful. Sure. But a focus on both will make each change successful!

Do you think Frank de Boer would have been more successful if he used his knowledge and expertise about the soccer game, listened to what the players, management and fans required or demanded and subsequently created a plan to achieve his goals based on all of these aspects instead of relying only on the approach he practiced before? Do you think you or your organization could be more successful in IT transformation if you focus on both technology and the human aspect? I do. ITQ does.

Jeroen Gerritsen

Author Jeroen Gerritsen

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16 September 2017

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