Challenging change: Shifting mindsets is key to success

Digital transformation has become an industry disruptor. Open any trade magazine and you’ll find an article on how digital technologies are transforming industries and companies. Rule books are being ripped up. New revenue streams are being created. We have access to more data, faster. New ways of reaching new audiences have been launched. Traditional barriers to market entry have been broken down.

With ‘the future’ in mind, organisations are focusing on the main technology themes that we all anticipate will have a bigger impact on our respective industries over the next few years. Many businesses are evaluating Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Blockchain, and the Cloud as enablers to address opportunities and customer pain points.

Adapt or die

Most industries know they need to adapt and fast to remain competitive and relevant. But how your organisation adapts could be the key to its future success. To succeed in this fast-paced environment, companies need to introduce new digital technologies simultaneously with a culture change programme to help employees adapt.

Implementing successful business transformation programmes is a balancing act of knowing which levers to pull and when. Here are some steps to guide your organisation through implementing a successful change programme:

Step 1: Create a shared vision

An important first step in changing the culture within an organisation is agreeing a company-wide vision. Successful change is very much dependent on beliefs and behaviours, so it’s essential that everyone within an organisation has a shared belief when it comes to driving change and digital transformation initiatives forward. Asking employees to share a vision for the company can help keep organisations focused, particularly during complex projects or stressful times.

Step 2: Celebrate success

It’s important to begin by recognising all the achievements which have led your company to the success it is has today. This will allow your employees to reflect on the strategies in the past which have driven successful outcomes. It also gives them the chance to open their minds to consider that with different challenges ahead, it may not be those same things that drive future success.

Once your company has implemented a digital transformation programme, it’s important to reflect on what has worked and what areas can be improved upon before you start a new programme.

Step 3: Clear cut focus

Often a barrier to success for companies, which are implementing new digital technologies, is having too many change programmes underway at the same time. By changing too many areas concurrently, a company risks change programmes conflicting with one another. Employees may become disenfranchised which will impact on how effective new digital programmes are implemented.

Agree which strategies are going to have the most impact and then focus on a culture change programme to help transition your company and staff. Once completed, analyse which complementary programmes will continue to drive growth. Implement them, learn from them and repeat.

Step 4: The importance of mindset

Open the mindset of your colleagues to change. Business change programmes can fail because employees may not be prepared or enthused to change. You’ve no doubt got a group of extremely intelligent people in your teams, a clear strategy and yet you may not have achieved the successes you’d hoped for.

Often, we challenge the strategy, the decisions we’ve made perhaps around technology, we even add in further controls or processes, and yet we don’t always challenge whether we’ve done enough to prepare our people for change. By challenging limiting beliefs, we challenge behaviours that revert to the ‘old ways of doing things’ when things get tough.

Step 5: Win or learn, not win or fail

For business and digital transformation programmes to succeed, accountability is key. It’s important to create a culture of leadership – where everyone in the business takes accountability for making the transformation programme a reality. For this to happen, a culture of psychological safety is recommended, where people can be themselves, take risks, challenge processes and feel comfortable providing feedback which will help colleagues, and therefore the business, move forward.

Where this culture exists, you’ll see people trying new things to take you towards your vision and recognising that you win or learn, not win or fail.

Step 6: It’s all about balance

Success will come from having a crystal-clear vision for your business and implementing the right tools, systems and processes to accompany that vision. Balance this with investing in your employees and allowing them to be enthused by change will drive your company towards its vision.

There is no significant change without some friction, and this is entirely normal. But with the right amount of focus on culture in place within an organisation, we can challenge change and shift the mindset of organisations from the past and present, to the future.

For more information and a step-by-step guide to managing transformation, download our eBook here.

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