Thursday, July 7, 2016

Building a Set of “Digital-Ready” Cultures

Being digital-ready is an overarching approach via building a set of “digital-flavored” cultures and taking a series of step-wise practices.

Organizations large or small are on the journey of digital transformation, strategy making is important, strategy implementation is challenging, and one of the most critical business success factors is organizational culture, which is invisible, but powerful to fail a good strategy. Culture is a collective mindset, attitude, and it is shaped based on policies, procedures, rewards, and retributions that drive behavior and it is the employee behavior that expresses "culture." In order to drive a successful digital transformation, how to build a “Digital-Ready” culture, though?

Solution-driven culture: Digital breaks down silo thinking and inspires across-functional communication and collaboration in building a solution-driven culture. Because with the status quo and inflated ego, often leaders feel that they can only be the solution when in fact they are actually the problem in some situations. If the leader lacks that self-awareness of the impact they are having, how can they realistically reflect on their own role in the mix of digital dynamics? Part of the challenge with situations like this comes down to the leader's maturity and professionalism. If they lack maturity, they might well recognize they are part of the problem but still fail to do anything about it. Good leaders focus on solutions, not on blame. They also encourage employees to do the same, focus on building capability and solving problems, reward authenticity and excellence, not mediocre or unprofessional behaviors. It is so easy to point the finger elsewhere and not look within. Just think of the time/energy/money wasted by this pattern of blaming others. Avoiding this pattern begins with a belief and understanding behaviors have ripple effects and that we all tend to be drawn into situations that force us to learn and grow, and cultivate a solution-driven culture to accelerate digital transformation.

The innovative culture: Digital is also the age of innovation. Innovation comes from the combination of need and culture of openness to new things and a better way to do things. It is important to build a working environment in which creativity is stimulated and innovation management is streamlined. Tie the innovations and the innovative culture to the organization's strategy. This ensures that innovations will be supported by management and by all stakeholders. What fuels creativity? It is a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsically, all humans have the level of curiosity, desire to learn and natural ability to maintain an open and inquisitive mind; extrinsically, we have the conditions of the environment in which we operate, with all the restrictions, the needs, the gaps and pressures that might push our creative minds to soar and also push the organization to put more emphasis on innovation management effectiveness. In reality, lacking a positive strategic intent towards innovation in large mature organizations can become a big issue; so it’s important to leverage management tools (policies, programs, and structures) for creating a culture of innovation.

The culture of inclusiveness: Digital is the age of people. Good management practice is the ability to harness the best potential of all human capital in the organization. Inclusion would be a team where everyone feels comfortable sharing ideas and thoughts because everyone has a different perspective based on their cognitive difference, different life experiences, and cultural intelligence. Inclusiveness needs to be well embedded into the business culture in a truly global organization, the beliefs, and the work needs to be sustainable so that the key is to embed the concepts and practical application, etc. into everything within the organization ranging from all people practices to engage with the customer's community, partners, leadership, etc. The focus of inclusiveness needs to focus on cognitive differences, skills, abilities and the wealth of ideas since the value lies in the contributions of the individual to the organization. These differences make the team stronger and will create a better product, service, and business brand.

Being digital-ready goes beyond applying the latest technologies. It is an overarching approach via building a set of “digital-flavored” cultures and taking a series of systematic step-wise practices. Cultural change in an organization begins with the involvement of the top management and their commitment to change. These are particularly required during changing times to keep the workforce open to innovation including a compelling future vision and the presence of transformational leadership; high organizational justice (trust); a participatory management style and organizational agility.


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