How to lead an empathetic Digital Transformation?

Digital Transformation is not about technology

In an era of intensifying competition, increasing globalisation and rapidly changing landscapes, the need to adapt to digital is a business imperative that is being felt in every industry, at every level. Digital transformation is not a new trend; it is not a buzzword or an invention spurred by COVID-19. In fact, a 2018 Tech Pro Research survey showed that 70% of respondents said their companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or are working on one. Pre-pandemic digital transformation was - and still is - very much alive and kicking.

However, just because businesses know they should be digitalising doesn’t mean they know what to do or how to do it.

Your tech strategy should be a people strategy

At its core, digital transformation is not about the latest, cutting-edge technology. It is about unleashing the possibilities of your businesses. And who is your business if not the people? This is where most businesses fall short.

It doesn’t matter how excellent your strategy is, how well thought out it is or how many hours you cried over it: if you fail to communicate the value of digital transformation to your teams effectively, they won’t execute it. 

Successful digital transformations include a shift in mindset, and generally, the old way of doing things falls away. Unfortunately, as humans, we are hard-wired to resist change - even more so if we don’t feel heard or seen.

Simply put: collaboration is king.

Teamwork and intelligence win championships

Imagine your business as a football team. No single player can bear the brunt of winning an entire season. Likewise, an effective digital transformation cannot fall on the shoulders of a single person. A culture of data-sharing needs to be at the heart of any digital transformation strategy so that business leaders can objectively assess which area should be prioritised in order to help the business move toward its most critical objectives. 

It’s true that one player can score the most goals in a game, but the ball only moves effectively when the entire team is working towards the net. Similarly, a shared digital vision breaks down departmental silos and builds a common goal. No department likes to be overlooked or put second in line in a digital journey; however, if you can communicate why another department's needs are prioritised in relation to your business objectives, you can communicate the value of your decision more clearly.  

It’s also important to understand that, yes, it is certainly possible that one department can transform in isolation from the rest of the business, but if this is not done in conjunction with the digital transformation of the rest of the business, the business loses. A single goal from a single player does not equal a win. Especially if the competition scores even more.

So…how do you build a people-centric digital strategy?

Make the technology work for your business 

While some solutions are obvious, it is important to identify what critical objectives your business is working toward. 

This needs an unbiased assessment of where your business is, where it wants to be and how to plan there most efficiently and effectively. 

Make it collaborative 

Use the data collection process to encourage your stakeholders to openly share information. Listen and understand their pain points and communicate how the transformed state will deliver value. 

In doing so, you will create “ambassadors” for new technology. 

Make a plan…and stick to it 

Build a detailed and prioritised roadmap based on your data collection and objectives. 

By understanding where they are in the journey, teams can recognise how far they’ve come together and how they are going to continue moving forward. 


This insight was originally published at Geeks Insights.