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Your company culture plays a key role in your digital transformation. Not abandoning what have made you successful in the past. But taking a hard look at which company culture you need, to be successful tomorrow. And to do it with a clear idea on what to do first to get going.
Customer innovation driven
Innovations shape the digital market place. And your customers’ direction is the soil for best innovation seeds. Cultures seeking in-depth understanding on target markets and customers get rewarded. A job where you have to dig deeper and add more own thinking than in the past. And do it with an outside in driven mindset.
Classic cultures thrive on developing the solutions your customers want. Assuming customers have it all figured out before you.
Success in the digital world requires focus. Focus on the market segments and customers you have selected. Focus on the part of a solution where you add most value. Focus to allow execution at high speed. Drilling deep and fast is more important than drilling broad and slow.
Classic cultures tend to operate broader. Doing more things at a time. Operating with longer time horizons. With strategic choices shaped by AND rather than OR when facing options.
The digital business landscape is more complex. Where great results come from creative team collaborations. Several unique competencies put together around a concrete problem. Where success thrive on an obsession with problem definition and diverse team composition. Where you need to deliver a bit each day and create knowledge in the process.
Classic cultures rely on specialized individuals in strong silos. Silos great at driving efficiency within the silo. Where a hero in a silo can save you today based on yesterday’s knowledge. But a culture weak in solving cross domain complexities.
Promote learning, not knowing
Digital markets are very learning intensive. Both for customers and vendors. Explorers of the leading edge gain insights by doing new things. Testing new ways of achieving results. With fast turn-around times from when you learn until when you have to teach. Either teaching your own team or giving customers a hand on their learning journey. A game where you thrive on knowing great questions and picking up new learning daily.
Classic culture promotes individuals who are on top of their game. Often at the expense of picking a well-known game.
Operate with data driven decisions
Digital cultures use data in all parts of the business. Field data backing up early hypothesis on customer needs. Detailed data from each step in your customers’ buying cycle. And big data chunks about how your offering is performing in use. Data you need to collect and make sense out of with advanced algorithms. The best digital companies extract decision data from vast raw data collections. Your data and your algorithms, define a new reality for business decisions. A job done by human and artificial intelligence in the future.
Classic cultures build on analysis to find the right decisions. Paving the road for large strategic decisions. Where guts and commitment play a big role. And where change along the defined road is optional.
Blend Yes with And – instead of No and but
The digital market requires strong push into unknown territory. Where you say yes early. And test and correct along the journey. The proven recipes are few for your digital trail blazers. You need to encourage them to explore new. But at the same time taking big leaps in many small steps. Allow people with ideas to test them towards your strategic challenges. A conundrum that is largest for leaders. To set the tone in the decision making to unleash the digital potential in your organization.
Classic cultures promote doing the right things right. Based on well-defined directives and guidelines. Resulting in an and approval centered culture were “No” and “Yes, but” tend to dominate. When decisions outside of the box are needed.
See errors as proof of actions
It is hard to predict progress and results in the early stages of digital business. A reality making goal setting and performance follow-up different. You want to encourage a behavior where your team set high enough goals. Without suppressing actions. The best goals are SMART. Pushing your team beyond what they know is possible. Recognizing there are hurdles to deal with. And learning to come from every week’s experiences. A journey where actions is a safe bet for making errors sooner or later. Error proving you are progressing, rather indicating you are wrong. Allow errors as a vital sign of action. But work to secure that the same errors are not made over and over again. Without extracting the learning from your mistakes.
Classic cultures see errors as something to avoid. A measure for not doing things right. And something to punish. A scenario where inaction is a common result.
Bring authority to information
Last but not least, bring authority to information rather than the other way around. Information about how your business is developing is strongest at the customer interface. And your customer facing teams define your customers’ buying experience. This is true for analog as well as digital businesses. But the pace for digital businesses is faster. The landscape is more affected by VUCA. These two factors combined requires more authority at the front end. Secure enough authority at the point where you can influence customers buying experience.
Classic cultures tend to bring information to authority. A model working well when the experience of the past is essential to predict the future. And where the experience grows the higher up you move you move in your organization.
Question for you and your team
- What are the strong parts of your culture we will take with us into digital – use what is working well in your DNA.
- Which cornerstones do we build your digital target culture around – pick a few you can start building around now.
- Which parts of your business will lead your culture transformation – pick a focus to get off the ground first.
- How do we plan the first steps in transforming your culture – a big journey in many small steps.
- Which of your leaders can lead our digital journey – not all, not one but a few required to play well.
Additional reading suggestions
- What is digital culture, and why is it important [BLOGPOST] – by Target Internet
- How company culture drives digital transformation and business adaptability [ARTICLE] – by Forbes
- The flash report: Corporate culture for a digital world [ARTICLE] – by Harvard Business review
- Building a digital culture, how to meet the channel of multi-channel digitization [WHITEPAPER] – by Startegy&
- The company culture that help (or hinder) digital transformation [ARTICLE] – by Harvard Business Review
- Digital transformation derailed? Corporate culture may be to blame [ARTICLE] – by Wall Street Journal
- New rules for culture change [WHITEPAPER] – by Accenture