Jana Werner on The Digital Transformation Card Game

Episode 464 · April 26th, 2024 · 50 mins 15 secs

About this Episode

Coté interviews Jana Werner, Enterprise Transformation Lead EMEA, from Amazon Web Services (AWS). How can you start small changes to make big changes? That's the premise of Jana Werner's organization transformation card game. Sure, it's not really a "game," but each question is meant to help nudge management and executives a little closer to changing how they operate. Many of the ideas come from Amazon thinking, but many of the are also just the type of common sense that's too often uncommonly practiced. Coté interviews her about some of the cards, but, more importantly, the thinking, management philosophy, the life-style behind the cards.

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The Cards

Here's the text of the all the cards:


  1. How can you remove 40% of the time required by a process within 45 days?
  2. How can you encourage and recognize experimentation with a community of practice?
  3. How can you use Amazon’s wheel of fortune to focus your operations meetings?
  4. How can you dive deep on one recurring problem to create a mechanism?
  5. How can you introduce Bar Raisers into hiring interviews to assess cultural fit/bar raising?
  6. How can you make visible how much of a product’s new functionality is actually used?
  7. How can you create your next prototype as a Minimum Loveable Product?
  8. How can you pick someone unfamiliar with your product to deep dive into the data and customer experience with?
  9. How can you use data to examine a decision that you made 2+ months ago for issues?
  10. How can you define your next business outcome as a Press Release?
  11. How can you visualise the decision-making for a process and eliminate 20% of the steps?
  12. How can you agree [on] the single threaded owner for each decision?
  13. How can you pick an organisational report, understand its purpose and eliminate or simplify it?
  14. How can you introduce recognition for best simplification of the quarter?
  15. How can you accelerate decision making by having more frequent, shorter senior meetings?


  1. How can you evidence that your next investment or product decision is what the customer really needs?
  2. How can you start leadership meetings with “one thing I learned this week” discussions?
  3. How can you create a feedback ritual at the end of each meeting?
  4. How can you work towards a safe meeting environment to practice "Disagree and Commit as a Principle?
  5. How can you give monthly recognition to the best cultural heck your organization has seen?
  6. How can you publicly discuss one of your “failures” and why the learnings were valuable?
  7. How can you run a culture hackathon, to identity hacks for a more agile culture?
  8. How can you schedule and protect time for retrospectives with learnings published?
  9. How can you dive deep when anecdotes and data conflict for a decision?
  10. How can you for every decisions ask what would need to be true to make the decisions faster?
  11. How can you replace weasel, words with data and customer anecdotes in business cases and reports?
  12. How can you identify a Day 2 behaviour to turn into a Day 1 behaviour with your team?
  13. How can you interview new hires within 2 months on good and bad culture observations?
  14. How can you start your next meeting with a document read?


  1. How can you identify one emerging skill your organisation will need and create a learning path for it?
  2. How can you measure, reduce, and share learnings on the Bureaucratic Mass Index of a single team?
  3. How can you identity two-way door decisions und relinquish these to your teams?
  4. How can you stop using silos (“IT”) and instead use names (“Andy”)?
  5. How can you reduce “Keeping the Lights On” time and cost for one team?
  6. [REPEAT?] How can you start your next meeting with a quiet document read?
  7. How can you give your teams carte blanche for fast escalations?
  8. How can you identify one gate-keeper process that can be replaced with a guardrail or an automation?
  9. How can you change a KPI from an absolute achievement to one that shows continual improvement?


  1. How can you use the Ladder of Inference to seek disconfirming data for key decisions.
  2. How can you identity “dogs not barking” in your leadership meetings and address these?
  3. How can you focus your next 1:1s on understanding employees' super powers?
  4. How can you create a shared understanding for phrases like “Digital Transformation” and “Agile” through lunch h-and-learn.
  5. How can you define team ambition and pride statements that resonate emotionally and intellectually?
  6. How can you create a press release describing where you imagine your organization to be in 3 years?
  7. How can you go around the room for feedback with the leader speaking last?
  8. How can you ask 10 employees about your organizations' priorities, vision, and their role in these?
  9. How can you define what makes you truly compensative using Wardley Maps or similar?
  10. How can you agree to what would help prioritize speed for your next two-way door decisions?
  11. How can you appoint and empower a single threaded leader for key initiatives?

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