It is often said that “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome”. If that definition holds true, there are a lot of insane organisations trying to find success in digital transformation. They seek the advantages of new technology, exploitation of social channels, and mobile connectivity—but their appetite for creating a digital culture to support this is missing which is a vital ingredient for successful transformation projects. How do they ensure their technology transformation is matched by a cultural transformation to match it?
Cultivating an internal culture of experimentation and innovation is a challenge for many organisations. It’s hard for digital transformation to succeed without the right culture. Culture change requires strong leadership. Without the right culture in place, employees are unlikely to adopt and embrace the new technology and processes. Below are some recommended areas of focus to enhance digital culture in your organisation as you plan and deliver your technology transformation.
1.You need to define what good looks like in terms of Digital Transformation for Your company
Adopting every new technology available under the sun isn’t necessarily a sign of digital advancement—it’s more likely a sign that the organisation is unclear about what it is they are trying to achieve. Successful digital transformation requires you to nail down the problems and use cases you are trying to address and work out how those will impact and need the support of your employees. A good starting point is to define your customer experience goals, your employee experience and engagement goals, and the focus on what types of technologies will help achieve those goals. You then need to define the shift in culture that needs to take place within your organisation to support those goals and ensure the technology delivers results.
Prior to looking into how culture change can be implemented, you need to identify the specific aspects of your culture you want to change e.g. a shift towards mobile working or paperless office or multi channel customer engagement. It needs to support the specific digital transformation use cases you are aiming for. The whole organisation needs to be bought into and personally invested in your decision.
2. Create an opportunity for employees to be bold, and think out-of-box
At its core, we all know that digital transformation means adopting new technologies that will help to enhance customer experience and grow your business, and keep up with your competitors. But how are you going to disrupt them? If your employees have a cultural environment that encourages idea generation and risk taking and enables them to innovate, be creative, fail, and learn from their failures, you’ll see success—both for your employees and your organisation.
3.Rethink the qualities you desire in the right job candidate
New technology alone does not replace ‘leadership’ and ‘values’—which ultimately are the drivers of digital culture and change. Your employees should be able to wear multiple hats (i.e. be flexible in their role) and reach across silos (be collaborative across your organisation). Also, technology that’s here today will change tomorrow. So hiring employees for a specific skill or technical specialty in the short will leave you holding an obsolete talent pool in the long term. Certainly bring in candidates for the specialised skills and experience, but where possible try to ensure they have the qualities (e.g. role flexibility and rapid tech learning) that will help move your company and digital culture forward.
4.Have a clear statement of ‘Purpose’ as part of your company culture
Defining that purpose is as important as defining your business goals, and if defined correctly it will go a long way toward creating a digital culture—one that is recognised and valued by customers and employees alike. For instance, if your purpose changed from making a line of quality clothing, to providing customers with a memorable clothes-buying experience, your culture focus shifts naturally towards “digital”. Suddenly, your employees are thinking of ways to exploit technology in brand new ways that makes for an exciting and memorable shopping experience for the customer. This is how “purpose” can drive digital transformation—and create positive change.
Your digital transformation requires more from your organisation than a willingness to use new technology. It requires an open line of communication throughout your organisation and a commonly agreed purpose. It requires freedom to choose, freedom to innovate, and a shared vision. Successful digital transformation requires supportive cultural change. Addressing the points above will help to build a stronger digital culture—no matter how challenging it may be—and will help you achieve successful digital transformation.
It is said that Culture is the key to innovation, but what we need to realise is that it’s the People who are the key to creating that culture; and not just a select few, but everyone. That’s the true secret behind innovation. There is a Special Relationship between problems and opportunities, and that special relationship is that—your problems shall contain within them the seeds of opportunity. —You want a team that pushes on through these problems to identify and capitalise upon the opportunities they contain.