It seems that everywhere you look you see an article about digital transformation.
What is it?
Why does it matter?
Who should be in charge?
Who is winning?
Who is failing?
The X steps to successful transformation.
Top Y things to avoid in your transformation.
If you read carefully, a key concept emerges for those who are succeeding. They have understood that while technology is important, you really cannot transform without your entire organization singing from the same songbook. Why? Because Digital Transformation is a complete change in how your business operates. It certainly is about new capabilities that you deploy but, to truly be effective, your team must:
think of failure and success differently,
have agility (not just an agile methodology),
operate on faster cycle times,
change from “this is how we have always done things”.
Changes like these are not easy and will not be accomplished without a concerted effort. A note from the chairman will not suffice. However, there is a clear road to success for an effort like this. It certainly starts with telling people that the change is valuable. But also requires showing them how, supporting them along the way, and celebrating with them as the organization becomes successful. This is real work and requires a coordinated effort. It also requires an understanding that change is local. It's great to have a corporate goal, but if it is not reinforced locally, then attention becomes diverted back to the heat of the moment and change can wait – old habits take over.
But how do we get there? Some suggestions:
Get everyone on board. Make sure that senior leaders are willing to walk the walk. Make sure that people who could cast doubt are converted first and become supporters.
Have a team dedicated to making this work.
Create connections across your entire organization for feedback and advocacy.
Plan for wins and leverage those to show progress.
Coordinate and layer your communications so that everyone hears from their direct manager.
Support the messaging with support (tell them how, show them how).
Measure, measure, measure.
Wash, rinse and repeat.
This will take time, but you should see movement along the way. Eventually, you will see that what had originally been a transformation effort becomes your new Business-as-Usual, where speed and creativity are the norm. You will have won the hearts and the minds of your organization.