Like with anything that is inevitable in life, it is easy to get into a passive-aggressive behavior pattern. Like aging, sickness, your children\u2019s life choices and election results, digital transformations can stir up all kinds of emotions. Generally speaking, passive-aggressive behavior is difficult to tolerate. But in the case of inevitable circumstances that we must live with, we do experience both patterns. If a change is indeed inevitable, we accept the new norm with a \u201cif we can\u2019t fight them, join them\u201d attitude and then we gradually find a way to embrace the new norm as our own.\nThe Digital era is practically upon us. Admittedly, I am not looking forward to a fully digital future where practically all transactions involve digital products and services bought, paid for and delivered between digital buyers and sellers. You may not be particularly fond of this picture either. But we must embrace this change, because it is inevitable.\nDifferent approaches to DX \u00a0\nThe reason I believe digital transformations illicit passive-aggressive reactions is because there are two distinct messages that I am hearing from articles, blog posts, conference presentations, and other sources:\n\nThe sky is falling: This idea is typically accompanied by a reference to a \u201cKODAK Moment\u201d. that refers to KODAK\u2019s failure to embrace digital photography and their resulting demise from this shortcoming.\nDigital transformation is not a revolution, but an evolution: Organizations that pragmatically execute their digital programs are keeping up with or even pulling ahead of competition.\n\nAs a fairly pragmatic person, given a choice, I would support the second viewpoint. After all, any internal transformation is a journey. No changes happen overnight. This was evident in a recent Abraic-sponsored market study by an independent authority to learn what CIOs opinions were on digital transformations. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that an overwhelming majority of interviewed CIOs thought, like me, that a digital transformation is more of an evolution rather than a revolution.\nThe pragmatic approach is not always the answer \u00a0\u00a0\nArmed with the market study results, I made a presentation at SIM Connect Live in Dallas this spring with a message that there was no need for panic. The presentation focused on critical success factors for a long game, such as alignment to overall strategy, governance, agility, and continuous improvement. \u00a0\u00a0\nMost of the attendees agreed with this pragmatic approach, except for one. She presented an entirely different perspective regarding her own digital program. Her organization is behind the curve, so she needs funding and executive support. Indeed, when discussing digital transformation execution, the success factors you should reference are operational in nature. When starting a new digital program or obtaining management support for existing programs, you need to build a sense of urgency among sponsors and stakeholders. This is where a \u201cKODAK Moment\u201d reference is a must!\nHere is a quick reference guide to the two ways to present ideas about a digital transformation:\nDX representation 1: urgency (the sky is falling)\nAudience\n\nTop executives\nDigital program stakeholders\nResistors to the digital program\n\nPurpose\n\nGain Support\nDefend a business case\nSolicit participation\n\nTalking points to use \n\nKODAK Moment is inevitable in any industry\nExamples from disrupted industries\nStories about the next generation building a dramatically new expectation\n\nReferences\n\nPresentations from technology visionaries\nBusiness and technology media (who look for shocking content)\nReports from competition\n\nDX representation 2: evolution, not revolution\nAudience\n\nDigital team members\nIT\nWilling participants in the program\n\nPurpose\n\nPlanning\nGovernance\nExperimentation\nTeam alignment\nTeam member recognition\n\nTalking points to use \n\nKODAK actually failed because they attempted to transform into a pharmaceutical company\nLet\u2019s follow our vision, not act out of fear\nTo mitigate risk, let\u2019s take gradual steps\n\nReferences\n\nPeer success stories\nMedia content that highlights execution success factors\nBudget constraints\nConsensus from business and IT middle management\n\nThis shows that with digital transformation, both passive and aggressive behaviors are applicable. The tactic that should be chosen depends on your audience and what you are trying to prove.\nOther key factors to consider\u00a0\u00a0\nFrom the standpoint of timeline, you should start with the sense of urgency. In this case, the \u201cKODAK Moment\u201d example is your friend. Keep stressing the need for immediate action until ample budget, team, and executive support have been secured. Once a digital team is created, it should adopt a pragmatic approach to execution. In the meantime, you may still need to resort to building urgency if you meet resistance from stakeholders and business partners.\nOne area where both perspectives on digital transformation must reach a compromise is risk. If you are successful in building a sense of urgency among your top executives, they may feel that an express digital program is a leap of faith. To reduce anxiety, you can explain to them that the program will be executed based on best practices, thus mitigating risk.\nAnother area where the perspectives must intersect is team motivation. A digital transformation team should forge forward in a calculated fashion. However, even the most talented teams can lose motivation and the stakes are much higher with a digital transformation team versus a typical operations or IT project team. There needs to be a true sense of urgency because the team is working to build the organization\u2019s future. If it fails, the organization could fail along with it.\nTo summarize, there are two distinctly different approaches to representing digital transformation \u2013 one that builds a sense of urgency to transform and the other that talks about pragmatic execution of a digital program. One may say that they represent a passive-aggressive nature of digital transformations. Both standpoints are valid like two sides of the same coin. Instead of taking sides, we need to use both representations to serve various purposes with specific audiences.