By Bryan Kirschner, Vice President, Strategy at DataStax\n\nInspiring a sense of mission while reminding people why their work matters is one way some of history\u2019s greatest leaders helped people through challenging times, according to Harvard Business School\u2019s Nancy Koehn.\nWe\u2019re in the worst downturn since the Great Depression. The IMF expects growth to fall 4.9 percent this year, while the total loss to global GDP from the pandemic could be $12 trillion by 2021.\nOn the one hand, we all hope beating COVID-19 will make it possible to return to \u201cbusiness as usual\u201d soon. But, on the other, I think this crisis has shown that the constraints of \u201cbusiness as usual\u201d were impeding progress in ways we should no longer accept.\nPre-coronavirus, most companies aspired to become digitally transformed, data-driven enterprises. Analyses pointed to upside in the trillions of dollars from increased application of AI and analytics across industry and government.\nThere were plenty of reasons to be inspired by this. For example, 30 percent of construction spend is waste. Likewise, about one third of all food produced never makes it to human consumption. When Microsoft Japan adopted a four-day workweek, productivity rose 40 percent.\nBut, nonetheless, we now have strong signals that we were tolerating needless delay applying technology to drive efficiency or growth. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella\u2019s statement on April 30 cut to the chase: \u201cWe\u2019ve seen two years\u2019 worth of digital transformation in two months.\u201d\nWe ought to enroll everyone in a mission to overcome everything holding back progress in the status quo ante. We should be inspired by the opportunity to define new practices in our organizations that drive a faster, bigger bounceback.\nFor me, the past few months have shone a light on three patterns for successful transformation that I\u2019ve observed over the last decade. The first and foremost is: build conviction, not consensus.\nOne CIO we interviewed told us why he was able to make the kind of progress Nadella was describing as a result of this crisis: \u201cHistorically, when we've tried to make digital transformation steps, there have been curmudgeons that have said, \u2018You can't do that. Here are all the problems. It'll never work, yada, yada, yada.\u2019 And that obstructionism is really easy to do.\u201d\nBuilding consensus takes time and effort. Reducing its cost is a mug\u2019s game. That\u2019s because increasing the correctness of beliefs by doing wins over trying to do it by debating.\nMost decisions\u2014the kind that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos describes as \u201ctwo way doors\u201d\u2014can be reversed.\nIn his words, \u201cTo invent you have to experiment, and if you know in advance that it's going to work, it's not an experiment.\u201d\nThe only thing everyone needs to agree on is that it\u2019s everyone\u2019s obligation to relentlessly create conditions for \u201cfast failure and learning\u201d\u2014and leadership\u2019s job is to celebrate it when it occurs.\nIn my next post, I\u2019ll dig into the other top two patterns for success I\u2019ve observed: embrace urgency and aim high.\nIn my next post,\u00a0I\u2019ll dig into the other top two patterns for success I\u2019ve observed: embrace urgency and aim high.\n\nAbout Bryan Kirschner:Bryan is Vice President, Strategy at DataStax. For more than 20 years he has helped large organizations build and execute strategy when they are seeking new ways forward and a future materially different from their past. He specializes in removing fear, uncertainty, and doubt from strategic decision-making through empirical data and market sensing.