Interview with Lucia Adams
Adams works with companies and individuals to help them deliver value from their digital business. Her clients often need help aligning their organisation to a new strategy, or shifting the focus to be more customer centric; there may be a desire to innovate, but structures aren't in place to facilitate it; and sometimes it's about silos or politics standing in the way of progress. Learn more about Lucia's work here
Hi Lucia, would you introduce yourself and what lead you into consulting?
Hi my name is Lucia Adams. I'm a consultant and coach, and I work with organizations and individuals to dramatically increase the impact of their digital initiatives by transforming how their teams work. I got into consulting because I was part of the team that led one of the biggest transformations in the newspaper industry when I was at The Times newspaper, where our launch of the membership model led to the paper turning a profit for the first time in 13 years.
What is your current service offering? What do you offer for individual clients? How about speaking engagements or written articles?
I offer consultancy training and coaching. In my consultancy, I'm often working with clients to help them identify the root cause of why they're maybe not delivering against the goals that they they want to, and I work with them in order to develop a response to that. And often that's around workshopping and supporting teams develop news what new ways of working. In terms of my training, I've developed a leadership - an agile leadership program - which I run for various different industries. I've run it in the travel industry and also for open groups, and this helps teams understand what it's like to lead in an agile way. And lastly, I offer coaching - which is often working with individual leaders to help them raise their game and increase their impact.
Why do so many businesses struggle with their digital strategy? Where do you see the faults in our thinking about the digital?
There are a couple of things I think businesses really struggle with, with digital. The first is: how does a legacy organization deal with a very changing environment? Digital is really all about adapting to a VUCA world: that means Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. The old way of doing strategy is more of a linear approach - it's about having a fixed goal, a five year plan, and working towards that in a very waterfall way. In the context of digital, the constantly changing environment simply means that this way of doing things doesn't work. So that leads me on to my second point, which is about people. Digital is not simply about focusing on the technology stack. Digital is 90 percent human and 10 percent tech, but organizations often talk about it as if it's 90 percent tech and 10 percent human. Really, agile leadership is about ensuring that there is an adaptive way to work with the organization, to help them consistently adapt their approach to reach specific outcomes.
What are you working on right now? Any exciting projects coming up?
So, I've recently been working on a number of different things, which span my three service offers across consultancy, training, and coaching. On the consultancy front, I've been working with a startup to support them in developing their strategy and their ways of working after they received a large investment. I ran a workshop for them, which helped them identify what is their North Star, how are they going to deliver that, as well as how are they going to manage that journey as a team. In terms of training, I have developed a program to support leaders become more agile in their approach; and I delivered that last week, in Germany, to a group of about 30 people, and they very much enjoyed it, which was very good to see. And they came away with some really clear action plans of what they would do differently when they go back to their operating companies. And lastly, I'm my ongoing work with my coachees is often about helping them develop their purpose, and how they are going to really deliver that in their day-to-day work.
Take us through a past consultation to show how you developed a company's digital strategy.
I recently worked with a global publishing client. Now, publishing is an industry that has been fundamentally disrupted by the likes of Google and Facebook. The advertising model has been completely disrupted, and reader habits have changed dramatically as they have moved away from print to online. The company in question was really changing its operating model at every single level, and I worked with them to develop a response to how they would embed new ways of working and new culture around a new content management system that they were rolling out globally. This meant balancing some really difficult polarities: there was a push for centralization and at the same time, culturally, the company still wanted to encourage autonomy. So, navigating these complexities was very much part of the work, and it resulted in designing a program that saw the successful rollout not only of the tech, but also changes and ways of working and culture.