The Human Side of Digital

Digital transformation is not a new topic but a daily reality for most organizations. It is all around us. Despite the number of times companies attempt to transform their business using digitalization, we still experience chronic mistakes. The chances of failure are still too high even if a digital transformation has been around for a long time.

So, what separates companies that excel in their mission to transform their business via digital strategies vs. those that continue to fail.

In all my professional roles, as a business leader, a board member, and an executive coach, I spend most of my time solving the puzzle of the human factor in each digital transformation. All of us are familiar with the most common change management framework, such as “people, process, tools.” One of my essential realizations is that these three elements are not equal.

Even the most robust and eloquent processes and the best tools implemented flawlessly still can fail to have the intended impact on the organization. At the same time, some other companies might be implementing rudimentary solutions while yielding extraordinary results. The key differentiating factors are the people and the culture within each organization.

Five characteristics of a resilient culture:

  1. Transparency and clarity of mission at all levels of the organization
  2. Healthy radical candor and contractive dialog across the organization
  3. Resourcefulness in decision making, fearlessness in execution, correlation of failures and critical lessons learned
  4. Focus on outcomes rather than the journey
  5. Ability to raise the bar by sustaining constant changes and keeping a demanding pace indefinitely

You may be asking yourself if it is even possible to foster a culture with all these qualities? It is not impossible, but it is not easy to create such a culture. A change like that does not happen overnight and must start from the top. The whole leadership team needs to come together in their mission to envision a new or enhanced culture and demonstrate their alignment and commitment to change before they can expect to see any changes within the larger organization. One of the significant failures in companies, I see, is when leaders hope their teams to embrace new changes without holding themselves to the exact expectations. Another big reason for a failure is when an organization does not believe in the authenticity of its leadership.

The task of reimagining a corporate culture can be daunting and overwhelming. You must envision a future and mobilize resources to create that future state together while it may not be as clear to them in the early stages. If you are a leader who aspires to create a resilient culture in your organization, start by asking yourself these five questions.

  1. Do you have a reliable source of data to understand the true sentiment in our organization?
  2. Do you have a clear vision of how your organization should operate in the future?
  3. Do you know with confidence what matters to your employees?
  4. Do you know who your genuine influencers and unspoken heroes are?
  5. Do you know what you will hold yourself accountable for?

It is never too late to create resilience with your teams. When in doubt, always go back to basics by listening to what your groups say and becoming their actual partner. A winning culture always delivers exceptional results and a mission worth fighting for.




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