We have the ability to change our technologies, our infrastructure and our processes. But, without addressing the human element within your business, lasting change can’t and won’t happen. Culture is the operating system of the entire organization and it is time that you let culture drive digital transformation from start to finish.
Share Your Vision and Create a Shared Purpose
I am a firm believer in the notion that a business is only as good as its people. And I’ll take that thought a step further, people with a shared vision and purpose are a force to be reckoned with. Your organization, from the C-suite down to every single associate should be moving in the same direction. Why? Shared values, purpose and direction create streamlined business processes.
What is the purpose of your company? What are your values? Do you live by them? Are your employees aware of them? Do you have company-wide goals that are apparent to everyone? If you can’t answer any of these questions with ease then we’ve got a problem. So step one, answer these questions and involve your employees in the process. Use feedback from them to get cohesive answers that your entire team can relate to. Once you’re done with that process, you can move on to strategy.
Work with your employees on strategy and initiatives and let culture drive digital transformation. The key here is to work WITH your employees. Don’t just work with a team of leaders and then pass it down to the little guy. Work with everyone to be on the same page. Plus, you never know if the guy at the bottom of the totem pole will have a game-changing idea. Working with employees in this manner will develop a culture where they feel valued. The companies that I’ve seen have digital transformation success have done this. They’ve let culture drive digital transformation and you can too.
Give People Freedom to Decide and Choose
Sometimes, giving people the freedom to make their own decisions can be scary. However, when people feel free to make their own decisions, good things happen. They begin to prioritize effectively and begin to innovate. They start creating and trying new things. All of a sudden, new technology finds its way through your doors, streamlining and improving your processes.
During digital transformation, you will reach certain milestones that will require decision making from the top of your business to the bottom. Your employees should feel empowered to state their opinion. You never know what new and bright idea is hiding behind the fear of speaking out. Don’t let fear of losing control hold your company back from all of the new and exciting possibilities.
Gmail was created by an employee of Google back in 2001. A scientist at 3M created Post-It notes instead of throwing his idea away, although it didn’t solve the problem at hand. These examples are just the tip of the employee innovation iceberg. You never know what’s waiting for you inside of your own walls. Foster this sense of creativity and innovation within your culture.
Be Open to Outside Suggestion and Influences
Nothing good or new ever came from living – or working – under a rock. In fact, digital transformation is driven by innovation and learning new things. Living under a company umbrella is a surefire way to lose track of your ROI and disappoint your important stakeholders.
The technology itself doesn’t make the transformation. Instead, it facilitates the change that occurs during the transformation. You will need to be strategic in what you choose as far as technology goes. The only way to make educated decisions is to take stock of the world around you and learn. Discover new technology and ask for suggestions. Innovation requires an open mind that you cannot have without branching out of your comfort zone.
Distribute Your Decision-Making
Your employees are on the front lines of customer engagement day in and day out. And a sense of autonomy goes a long way to keeping employees productive. The days of decision-making being done in a centralized manner are gone. In fact, you should be distributing your decision-making, allowing those in the trenches to have a say in what works and what doesn’t.
During digital transformation, you may be implementing new technology at rapid speed. Unfortunately, some businesses find it difficult to choose the right tech before it’s too late. You should choose technology that works for all individuals within your business in each and every department. Allowing your employees to help make decisions creates a culture of openness and trust—something you cannot put a price tag on when you let culture drive digital transformation
Let Your Culture Drive Digital Transformation
Your digital transformation will require more from your organization than simply using a few new tech tools. It will take an open line of communication between you and your employees, a new freedom to choose and innovate, a shared vision and purpose and a sense of adventure. By fostering a company culture like this, you will see culture drive digital transformation in your organization.
The original version of this article was first published on Future of Work.