Aaron Rodriguez provides six soft skills for leaders looking to transform the workplace

Basketball great Michael Jordan is credited with saying, “Some people want something to happen; some people dream it will happen. And some people make it happen. Those are the true leaders.” Because if the history of the modern business world has shown anything, it is that the transformation of an organization begins with the transformation of those who have to manage that change. Workplace optimization expert Aaron Rodriguez explains how leadership should be exercised in the digital age, and what soft skills the leader should possess.

One might think that an organization undergoing change needs a steady hand, someone with digital skills who also brings together vision and experience, and who can chart a sensible path to navigate it with caution and competence. However, Rodriguez points out that none of these characteristics matter as much as one might think when sketching the sketch of the digital transformation leader.

Creativity, curiosity and knowing how to manage ambiguity also appear as highly desirable traits. Soft skills that are certainly not so soft anymore. Digital transformation is not a single process, as technological changes are continuous. The expert provides six tips for leaders facing the task of digitally transforming their company.

He suggests that leaders should be a catalyst and not a planner. Leaders must encourage, and even accelerate, change rather than plan for it. This means setting the conditions for your organization to reach its goals and then guiding your company through continuous learning, pivoting as necessary.

“Leaders must become comfortable moving forward with ambiguous and incomplete information about what is going on around them and the potential ramifications of their actions,” Rodriguez suggests. “They must learn to view their decisions and actions as working hypotheses that they can only validate by gathering feedback on their impact as quickly as possible.”

Then comes trusting and letting go. In today’s world, the ability to orchestrate collective action has never been more relevant. Leading in the digital age is an exercise in trust. It is about inviting employees to participate in decision-making and creating a culture that makes people feel confident enough to take risks and act on behalf of the organization’s interests.

You also need to be an explorer. With so much change around them, leaders must be curious, tirelessly searching. Leave the office and not “live in a bubble.” But at the same time, they must have the humility to ask questions and learn from internal experts and digital natives at different levels of the organization.

“In a word, leaders must be familiar enough with emerging technologies. They will be able to ask the right questions regarding opportunities, risks and legal and ethical danger areas, and establish the boundaries to guide the use of digital tools,” Rodriguez suggests.

Demonstrating courage must be paramount. Leaders must learn to experiment and live change themselves in order for their organizations to thrive. To become comfortable with the inevitable mistakes and unconfirmed hypotheses of experimentation, leaders need a new attitude toward risk. Avoiding opportunities just to avoid failure is perhaps the most dangerous position to adopt in the digital economy.

A true freewheeler must be ever-present. Emotionally engaged and communicating openly and authentically. Therefore, they must have characteristics such as empathy, to monitor employee stress and anxiety and try to prevent overload and burnout.

Vulnerability is necessary to be comfortable with emotionally charged interactions, not only with employees, but also with customers and suppliers. They must also be self-aware to create space for slow thinking in a fast-moving world.

And finally, leaders must live the values with conviction. Many employees will resist changing their mindset, behavior and skills unless they appreciate the value of doing so; leaders must be clear not only about what they are doing, but also why they are doing it.

On the one hand, they need agility and courage to adapt to evolving circumstances, but they also need determination and discipline to lead a company toward digital maturity. The only reasonable response to the changes in digitalization is for leaders to adopt a learning mindset and show generosity to others and to themselves.

Aaron Rodriguez discusses the importance of mission and vision in strategic planning

81% of employees who worked for organizations with a strong mission state that their stakeholders trust their leadership team; in those that do not, the figure is 54%. It is likely that your organization has a stated mission and vision. After all, both criteria define and defend what your company stands for. Aaron Rodriguez, a business optimization expert, explains the true importance of mission and vision in a company that wants to achieve a strategic plan.

Experts like Rodriguez hope that your organization is at the “Top of Mind” of your customers and that is why he wanted to delve into the topic where you can find out all about the mission and vision in the framework of strategic planning. “Despite the importance of a mission and vision, many organizations still don’t have one in place, which sets their efforts in the right direction,” Rodriguez points out. “And of course, we find other organizations that transpire their mission and vision and are imperceptibly transmitted to the experience of their customers and users.

The mission is the statement of the organization’s purpose and focus; it is a brief description. In simple terms, it explains what the company does, who it serves and what differentiates it from competitors. It is used to provide guidance, direction and inspiration to employees, while telling customers what they expect from the business.

Well-crafted mission statements serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not. They clearly state what markets will be served and how, communicate a sense of intended direction to the entire organization, and some even become the company’s core advertising.

“A genuine mission statement determines the direction of the company and its strategic planning. The mission statement tells what the company is currently doing to reach the state it wants to be in. For this reason, it is used as the “North Star” that reiterates the path that the strategic planning of any organization must follow,” Rodriguez explains.

A clear mission sets the boundaries that allow team leaders to delegate both responsibility and authority. The mission is to an organization what a map is to a tourist, and provides a framework for thinking about the entire organization and conducting successful strategic planning. Strategies should not be created in a vacuum; they should focus on the stated mission of the company.

On the other hand, the mission drives and enhances team engagement. Employees who fall in love with their work experience higher levels of productivity and engagement and express loyalty to the organization as they develop with it. According to Rodriguez, mission-driven workers are 54% more likely to stay with a company for five years and 30% more likely to become high performers than those who come to work with only their paycheck as a motivator.

To this end, it is critical that mission statements reflect a commitment to a social contribution to the community they serve. Likewise, when hiring a new employee, it is important that the new hire knows what the company does and where it is going. The mission statement forms the basis for consistency with the entire team and organization. The entire team will be focused on the same mission, which leads to greater effectiveness and efficiency.

Knowing the mission drives leaders to prioritize what matters most to customers and employees to improve the company and its services, and drive the business toward longevity and success. Clarity of mission facilitates continuous assessment because it will know exactly what to measure and how to measure it, enabling continuous improvement in the organization.

Once evaluated, change processes will follow. Rodriguez says, “Change can be difficult for many people because they feel insecure and out of control. If the mission is clearly defined, team members will be more open to change and see how it can help the organization achieve its mission. This will foster a culture that embraces change and allows for it to be used when needed.”

Ultimately, the mission statement guides corporate strategy, which, in turn, guides marketing strategy. All marketing activities should be related to and supported by the organization’s mission. It is important to emphasize that when the mission is clear and forceful, it becomes a slogan that makes an impact without the need to add more. It becomes a mutual reinforcement between the mission and the marketing strategy.

Aaron Rodriguez explains how to leverage eCommerce for business growth

eCommerce not only involves companies making sales to the end consumer (B2C), but it also opens a great opportunity to work digitally between companies, with suppliers or customers (B2B). As a quarantine trigger, in the wake of the pandemic, companies have been forced to adopt technology solutions and implement eCommerce to continue the business. Aaron Rodriguez, a business optimization expert, explains how a company can take advantage of eCommerce to grow its business like never before.

While transactions through this channel have more than doubled in the last year, this is no guarantee that all brands that have adopted it will survive this new digital age, as this requires structural change, Rodriguez says. “It’s not enough to implement a platform or an online store and that’s it. Organizations that have been more successful in moving to a digital environment are precisely because they have made real changes in their business model,” he adds.

The expert indicates that this year will see the consolidation of omnichannel and the integration between physical and digital commerce. It is important for brands to be prepared for this. Recent studies suggest that 44% of online shoppers in Peru made their first purchase in the digital channel during the pandemic, and 83% of them plan to continue shopping this way in the future.

However, it has been emphasized that eCommerce not only involves companies making sales to the end consumer (B2C), but it also opens a great opportunity to work digitally between companies, with suppliers or customers (B2B). To take advantage of the boiling of the new digital environment, Rodriguez has suggested some tips of utmost importance.

The first thing is to have digital platforms in both the front-end (user/customer experience) and back-end (support of internal processes of the company). From the order to the request or confirmation of a purchase order must be integrated, to be as efficient as possible.

Many companies still try to do business with the cash payment method when 70% of people use some type of credit or debit card to make online purchases, as it is one of the fastest, most efficient, and safest ways. Fewer and fewer people use digital means to pay in cash. Those who do not implement payment tools of this type will be relegated in the market and will lose step with the competition.

After integrating the buying and selling processes through digital platforms, it is also urgent to digitize the commercial support; administration, accounting, billing, delivery, inventory management, etc. “To boost the company’s growth, it will also be necessary to implement electronic invoicing,” Rodriguez suggests. “Not only is it more secure, but it will also save costs and time in accounting processes. In fact, a digital transformation of the entire management of the company is necessary.”

Sharing information online with customers is also a point that should not be overlooked. This year, the way forward for small and medium-sized companies will be to strengthen their relationship as suppliers of companies they are starting or have been working with, where they can really make a successful business. Then, digital sales/purchase channels between companies will achieve greater dynamism if there are automated processes and information sharing between customers/suppliers is achieved online.

“It is important to never forget the importance of training staff,” Rodriguez asserts. “One of the biggest brakes that companies have is that their staff has not been trained on the new digital business model, more demanding of service, sensitive in speed and attention, and product delivery. It must go with a complementary program for staff to adapt to this new e-business model.”

As an expert specializing in providing digital solutions, Rodriguez believes that the goal of using online platforms, electronic invoicing, and other technological tools makes a company more agile, efficient, and profitable in this new reality. The eCommerce has come to be seen as a solution in many countries, and more and more people prefer to use online platforms to be able to stock up with everything they are looking for.

Aaron Rodriguez discusses Digital marketing strategy in B2B businesses

Digital marketing refers to the promotion of a brand online, via digital communication. It aims to reach customers via search engines, social media, websites, emails, and other channels. Aaron Rodriguez, an expert in using digital marketing to optimize business, talks about digital marketing strategies for B2B businesses.

A digital marketing strategy is the planning of certain steps to reach defined goals through online means. It entails aspects such as the creation and dissemination of content through websites and social networks, email, and blog management, among others.

“Attracting new customers is the goal of all digital marketing actions,” Rodriguez assures. “So, it’s not just about getting your company to have a digital presence, but that the marketing and sales strategies are aligned, to offer a good experience in the process of recognition and consideration, which will give the customer the security to make the decision to buy from you.”

B2B (business to business) marketing is oriented to the sale of products and services between companies and not directly to the final consumer, as it is in the case of B2C. In other words, it is the companies themselves that sell products or services to other companies and not to individual consumers.

First and foremost, the needs of companies are not the same as those of a consumer, since they are motivated by more objective factors, such as profitability or productivity. Companies buy a product or service with the objective that it will help them function better, be more efficient, and get a return.

“We should know that in B2B, it can be more complicated to get the message to our potential customers, since they are usually fewer in number than consumers, and because they belong to a much more segmented niche. They are generally professionals in a specific sector, so it is not as easy to maintain communications with them through more general channels such as social networks,” Rodriguez explains.

In this sense, email marketing can be very effective if it targets the right contacts and takes into account aspects such as the specific needs of the customer (in this case, companies) and knowledge of the buying cycle of our product or service. Another point to highlight is that nowadays, companies are aware that the image projected by their business associates has a significant impact on their own image, and on what they want to convey to their customers.

B2B customers are a more informed audience, who are clear about the type of product and service they need. Therefore, they’re going to check out other options besides your company, either through a computer or even a mobile device, so it’s critical that you maintain a digital presence. “In B2B it can be more complicated to get the message to our potential customers since it is usually a smaller number than consumers, and because they belong to a much more segmented niche,” adds Rodriguez.

One of the great advantages of digital marketing is that you can create a defined audience that fits with the target audience that your product or service can really interest. Instead of sitting back and waiting to see if your direct marketing, radio, or print efforts work, with digital marketing, you can be sure that you are targeting the right audience through the channels where they spend most of their time. Before launching an ad or campaign, you can enter key information about your audience to better target them. This makes it easier for you to generate the desired impact and gives you more opportunities to increase your sales.

90% of the research and decision-making that makes customers become buyers is done online. If your company has a good digital presence and reputation you will be one step ahead in the selection process. Digital marketing is very important for businesses as it allows you to have a much better control of the quality of your campaigns.

You can easily track your campaigns and make the necessary adjustments on the fly without making them more expensive. This helps you adapt and optimize your strategies as they are being implemented to achieve better results.

“Ultimately, a good digital strategy will help you drive your company’s long-term growth,” Rodriguez concludes. “For this to happen, marketing must be aligned with business objectives, as it will help your marketing team understand the intent, interactions, and signals that drive long-term growth.”

Aaron Rodriguez explains how cloud technology is advancing commerce in Latin America

The last couple of years have been a stark reminder of the importance of the resiliency, agility, adaptability and scalability of systems provided by the cloud. Today, the cloud is one of the main foundations of the digital economy, enabling enterprise customers of all sizes to access technology at a speed and cost previously reserved for the largest private sector companies. Aaron Rodriguez, a Latin American technology insider, provides insight into how the region’s commerce is advancing thanks to cloud technology.

The technology represents a unique opportunity for governments in the region to improve productivity and facilitate the adoption of emerging and upcoming technologies. In fact, despite the inevitable economic downturn in the wake of the pandemic, cloud spending is estimated to increase 19% for the full year in the region, even as IT spending as a whole is forecast to fall 8%, according to Rodriguez.

“To reap the benefits of cloud services and new technological developments, public policies must be undertaken to calm concerns around data protection, cybersecurity, financial market regulation and privacy,” Rodriguez suggests. “At the same time, I believe it is important that Latin American companies continue to make significant investments in the cloud.”

These services have been one of the most important tools for Latin American entrepreneurs and this is just the beginning. In addition, the cloud offers a unique advantage for local companies, as they are cheaper services and help to structure their business processes and modernize.

Rodriguez says the cloud is key to growth. Many companies are looking to take full advantage of the public cloud, as they are aware that it makes it easier for their developers to experiment and extend their services to underserved markets. It also helps them bring their experiences closer to our customers and support countless online retailers who benefit from the reach and capabilities of a payment provider.

When you migrate to the cloud, you start with software development and testing first, so engineers can work faster on products that are important to customers and the business, all without having to worry about work like server management. This means a competitive advantage.

“The long-term goal is to be multi-cloud, with multiple cloud providers,” Rodriguez explains. “And of course, security is, as always, a priority. The types of protections that are implemented are those where two applications communicate with each other, even within the data centers themselves, through secure channels with encrypted payloads.”

In closing, it is important to highlight that the pandemic has brought a new need for cloud strategies. The days of companies coming out with multiple small initiatives are coming to an end. Today the attention and focus of enterprises large and small is on using full cloud adoption to drive long-term enterprise digital transformation and consolidation.

The opportunity for cloud development in each country will also depend on the education and acceptance of cloud by governments and enterprises. Innovative organizations are tasked with supporting the evolution of this and many other technology trends that contribute to the improvement, advancement and modernization of the region, in turn aiding a faster recovery from the pandemic crisis and, of course, the democratization of financial services.