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Your People and Culture Determine the Success of Digital Transformation

2 minutes, 57 seconds read

Virtually every company has thought about digital transformation, whether they’ve already made a switch or are considering doing so. The reason? It’s become increasingly clear that some level of digital management is necessary to best serve customers in today’s market. Whether it’s tools to boost collaboration among more stakeholders, harness the power of available data, or speed products and services to market, the answer often is digital.

However, successfully making a digital transformation demands that companies focus not just on the customer but on employees.

For a successful digital transformation, the organization must embrace change at all levels. Yet getting to that stage often requires a culture shift.

It takes a commitment

A Boston Consulting Group study of 40 digital transformations found that companies that focused on driving a culture shift were five times more likely to see the breakthrough performance they sought. That’s because a culture shift drives lasting behavior that supports the specific digital change.

A company can change the technology they use or the processes that gets work done, but a culture change prevents backsliding to old methods by ensuring employees are vested in the change.

Proven strategies to drive culture shifts

Consider the following steps to bring your full team onboard:

Let employees have a voice in the process.

Justin Wright, CIO of the Americas for the global architecture, design, and engineering firm Arcadis, commented in an interview with CIO that “IT organizations often feel like order takers who don’t have a voice in the company. To change the culture in IT, we have to make sure we position IT as having a seat at the table and able to work collaboratively with our business partners to solve problems.” To drive that shift, the company held a virtual town hall. IT leadership discussed the change then opened up the forum to questions from employees watching the presentation. This interactive process required IT leaders to take ownership of the shift and set an example of acceptance for employees company-wide.

Change behaviors to change culture.

Digital business strategist CI&T adopted Lean principles to help guide its digital transformation. The company found that Lean encouraged behaviors that supported the principles they wanted to achieve. Through Gemba walks, managers got beside their teams to learn, lead and investigate problems. By applying A3, managers began to build a mindset of looking for problems and, consequently, opportunities to improve.

Empower employees to drive future shifts.

Tony Colon, a success cloud product leader for Salesforce, described in a Forbes article a bank that implemented a new technology only to watch lag times increase and customer satisfaction decrease. The organization neglected to get employees comfortable with the new technology. They set out to fix that with a culture change. A critical component was encouraging employees to think about new ways to improve their job and the customer experience. Innovation lunches became, for example, gave employees opportunity to discuss tools to make big change easier for them.

Perhaps this last point is one of the most powerful arguments for culture shift. As employees take a greater role in driving a digital transformation, they become vested in its success. Suddenly your frontline—where the critical customer impact takes place—has a stake in driving further improvements.

Are you content with a single digital improvement—or are you ready to think bigger?

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