Guiding principles instead of good intentions


What capabilities will your employees need for the digital transformation in 2018?

It is becoming more and more evident that the digital transformation in big companies is primarily a process of cultural transformation. This “cultural change” refers mainly to new forms of work and ... other forms of collaboration. And it is the only way in which digital innovations can be initiated and implemented rapidly.

Even when we are talking about the company's own capabilities, its “organizational capabilities”, these nevertheless depend on the expanded skills and new capabilities of the employees. Specifically: Your employees. To secure the success of your digital transformation, employees must demonstrate a willingness to enter into this process, i.e. the cultural readiness for the digital transformation must be activated.


Developing teams now 

Our customer projects are normally concerned with fundamental strategies, how companies are changing, both at the organizational and technological level. At the same time, we also focus on rapid and specific implementation measures that use the employees’ every-day activities as a starting point. It is the only way in which the corporate culture can be changed relatively quickly.  The steps involved in this process tend to be small but many.

What process has proven itself, and where should we place our focus in 2018? Here are six starting points in particular - keeping our eye on companies that have mastered the transformation. Which of these ideas can be used as ideas for immediate implementation in your team?

Experiencing innovative forms of collaboration

New solutions do not arise (any longer) in the core team alone.  The boundaries of the team must be opened up to collaboration with external parties and partners. Set out an ambitious goal for your team for 2018. In that year, each employee should be committed to collaborating with an innovative technology or service provider (e.g. in the form of a workshop or even a small project). Or maybe you would like to assign two employees to a first development project with a start-up near you? New forms of collaboration do not fall from the sky. But you can promote these collaboration experiments ... and supervise them yourself. 

The ideas are already there

As a matter of fact, you do not have to do anything. You only need to listen carefully: what are the ideas expressed by your employees? Where can existing technologies be applied differently? Where can existing business models be developed in a totally new way? Actively search out the ideas in your team and make it clear that you would like your employees to submit their own project ideas ... and then promote them personally. 

How traditional is your project management system?

Even if your environment is dominated by classic project management methods, they should nevertheless be increasingly combined with agile approaches. The classic phase and planning model forms the shell, the framework in which your team can then work using an agile and iterative approach. Companies with such frameworks are in a good position, particularly when it comes to large transformation programs. If employees experience agile project work themselves, it will have a massive impact on their mindset and attitude toward work. A company can only become agile if its employees also work in an agile fashion. 

Less training, more learning

Another bit of good news: While it is true that the digital transformation requires a keen willingness to learn, the learning process itself can become much better (and cost-effective) than before. Do away with expensive seminar and training programs. Instead, appeal to your employees’ curiosity and send them to networking events, conferences or even a start-up event. Your team has to get out of the office. Many good ideas are generated from within, but even more from without. 

Customer centricity sounds good, but it is a lot of work

Customer centricity has a nice ring to it - but it takes a lot of work. Especially for you. You must permanently scrutinize whether decisions are based on specific customer benefits, and where exactly this customer benefit came from. How do employees become aware of what is important to the customer? This is a long, cumbersome and often painful process. But it is also the only way to ensure the survival of your company. 

The really important colleagues in 2018 will be those you do not even know yet

We tend to work only with colleagues from our own established environments. An effect that is visible everywhere in large companies. But in fact there is great potential in searching out and getting to know new colleagues. Collegiality in this sense means meeting new colleagues and becoming familiar with new ways of looking at things. And you are working with someone who pursues the same goals as you - namely to make the company successful. You can promote this attitude in your team. Just ask this question once a month: Which new colleagues did you work with? How did you find and meet these colleagues? Which issues are you collaborating on? By merely showing interest and asking questions on a regular basis, you will set the stage for more exchange and openness.  

A sense of curiosity, searching and accepting change

What does all this mean? In summary: Digital change is cultural change. And it starts with promoting the capabilities of your employees. This process should start in 2018. In your team. And with you.

I wish you all the best for 2018, along with exciting challenges that motivate you, and that allow you and your team to take a big step towards digital and cultural change.


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