Select the right building blocks for your new digital culture

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Evolving your company culture is a key success factor for Digital Transformation initiatives. Often starting with digital culture key words around attributes. Innovation, agility, collaboration, sharing, learning etcetera. With the challenge of making all employees understand the intent in the same way.

Brutal Truths & Key Insights

Changing a business culture is hard work. As it involves changing organizational behavior in large scale. First you need focus on a few behavioral changes at a time. Selecting the vital few from a broad group of candidates. Second you need to articulate the behavioral change in a crystal-clear way. Too few words leave too much room for interpretations. Finally, you want to pick the most relevant behavioral changes for your part of the organization. Expect the implementation urgency to vary cross your organization.

Company-wide digital culture shifts  

A smorgasbord of behavioral changes can be relevant across the whole organization.

  • Collaborative teamwork – to address increased complexity in customer needs.
  • Sharing insights – becoming king/queen by asking and sharing.  Customer engagements starting digital – with sales professionals adding human value in the second half of pursuits.
  • Early decision making – start when 40% is clear and correct/pivot later if needed.
  • Learn from daily experiences – reflections from doing new is growing in importance.
  • Transparent communication – about vital contexts and a fact base enabling us to deliver at our best.
  • Sharing of insights company wide – a digital company only make the same mistake once.
  • Manage your risks well – VUCA is the new business reality for the foreseeable future.
  • Adoption of new digital tools – a challenge where digital immigrants need support from digital natives.

All replacing obstacles behaviors. Operating in silos with weak couplings between units. Stick to old ways of working rigidly. Planning yourself out of problems. Focus on knowing and keeping information. Taking too few decisions too small and too late decisions.

Performance zone

The performance zone refers to the parts of your organization driving your financial result. The sales teams who bring home the top line. The teams developing and delivering your portfolio of goods and services. Desired behaviors here are:

  • Maximize time spent in customer value adding flows – eliminate waste/idle time.
  • Embrace lean thinking in all customer value adding flows – minimize hand over points and time in in idle sectors.
  • Keep your commitments – trust from peers and customers take time to build, and can vanish fast.
  • Execute in short stints – quarterly goals and weekly follow-up is a platform for agility.
  • Take actions based on measured data points – executing plans with corrective actions where required.
  • Personal accountability – each contribution matters.

Replacing complacency with regards to ways of working. Scorecards skewed towards resource efficiency metrics. Long planning horizons and rigid budget cycles.

Productivity zone 

The productivity zone activities focus on increasing profit for a given revenue stream. By initiatives across all markets and business lines.

  • Demand driven from productivity zone – rather than own productivity priorities.
  • Refine operating model/systems – digital businesses add people around systems rather than systems around people.
  • Exploit continuous innovation – strive for small daily improvements across your operations.
  • Automate workflows – any flow that can be automated is faster and cheaper than a manual one.
  • Engage around customer decision journeys – a digital sales job is to help customers buy.
  • Agile content marketing – fueled by insights from projects with our light-house customers.
  • Exploit data assets and algorithms – use what you know and present actionable insights
  • Re-use your best practices – once a problem is solved

Replacing behaviors where ways of working did not evolve fast enough to meet demand from the performance zone.

Transformation zone 

The most difficult execution challenge. Transforming your operations around disruptive changes. Of a nature requiring the all hands on-deck.

  • Trust your digital courage – these journeys take courageous leadership.
  • Find the new waves in time – digital disruptions are irreversible and you need to catch, or be caught.
  • Unite the whole company – each mission is large and cumbersome.
  • Prioritize the next big bet – you can only succeed in building / transform one part of your business at a time.
  • Play the right disruption game – explore both defensive and offensive disruption strategies as required.
  • Manage in grey-zones – during transformations little is black or white.

Replacing behaviors with too many, too fragmented and too little efforts on what matters the most.

Incubation zone 

The cradle for all your disruptive innovation activities. Incubation of a portfolio of smaller businesses, yet to have a material impact on performance. Your Intrapreneurs thrive here:

  • Played as a survival of the fittest game – One at a time will be transformed. Some will be sold. Others closed down.
  • Customer-led innovation mindset – starting from clear understanding of the jobs to be done to get hired by your customer.
  • Daily build of customer insights – across needs, solutions and business models.
  • Prove business validity towards milestones – funded in small steps at each gate.
  • Explore eco-systems and platform logic – not a DIY game.
  • Recognize your intrapreneur advantages – from synergies with existing business in the performance zone.

Let your intrapreneurs make mistakes if they learn fast and not repeat the same mistakes. Fail fast is not a low-cost path to success. Start from customer jobs to be done, not solution ideas searching for a problem. Push all ventures towards an exit. To secure all are set up big and bold enough to be a growth vehicle.

Question to you and your team 

  1. Which digital culture shifts do we target – pick your own shorter list.
  2. What is our priority order for wanted shifts – start with vital shifts first.
  3. How do we secure instant pay-off – Aim for quick wins in the performance and productivity zone early in your plan.
  4. How much freedom can we give to teams and individuals – no shift happens unless it reaches all the way down.
  5. How do we define a clear innovation agenda – the single biggest factor come in many different flavors.

Additional reading suggestions

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