If you realize that digital developments are changing your industry and your company´s future, you need to lay out a plan of how you are going to digitize your own mindset as well as your employees. Thinking and working digital needs to become an integrated part of everyone´s approach to their job. The days when “the digital team” was someone working on its own, whilst “the others” continued doing their job as before, are way overdue.
Digital transformations are driven by technology. A lot of people have little or no interest in and little understanding of technology. They also lack experience from working with technology, and it can be hard to understand where to start to gain a tech understanding that can be applied to one´s job. The first step is to ensure that all employees understand that they can gain understanding of digital developments, and that you don´t need to have an engineering degree to mean something about digital developments.
“Nobody knows everything in times of change”
Digital development is happening so fast, that even programmers coming freshly educated out of university having learned the latest, need to re-educate themselves along the way. This is the same for everyone – no matter what kind of field of expertise you work within. So, building on this knowledge – let´s take a closer look at how you can build a digital mindset.
Personal: It is each and every one of us who makes up the entirety of a team, department and organization. We have to start with our own mindset, and ensure we open ourselves up to change and new ways of doing things. Remember – the threat is not the change itself, but rather not doing anything. Start with looking at how you work and what digital tools you use to get things done. Also, take a closer look at your skills and how you choose to spend your attention during a day´s work. Can you do anything to relieve some time each day to do something differently or learn something new? I have written a blog post earlier with some tips for business people to get started gaining digital knowledge, that might help.
“The threat is not the change itself, but rather not do anything”
Organization: The route is not set in stone for anyone in times of change, so leading the oganization means empowering your employees, and making sure you have a culture where creation and innovation is the new norm. Top-down strategies are not the way to go in these times. Ensure those already with a digital mindset are visible and their way of doing things are spread around the organization. A clear vision on how company executives are going to lead the organization through these times is important – they need to let the organization open up to change. Allowing for flow of information and collaboration across the organization is key.
Customers: Customers are leading the way in these times of digital change. They are light-years ahead of most organizations in their way of thinking, and we all need to catch up with them, and ensure we deliver on their expectations, wants and needs. Ensure you use data to understand how your customers act, so you can become truly customer centric and respond to rapidly evolving needs. Plan around the customer, and look for new ways to define the customer journey – it is not linear any longer. Harvard Business Review has a good article that explains how to compete on customer journeys.
Context: Change comes from all directions, and you need to look at and understand which trends and elements that will impact your business and field of expertise. Analyze and look at all sources that might mean change will happen. Adopt ways of working that disruptive companies use – and “attack-like” style for looking at your market, always putting the purpose of your business first.
In a world lead by a digital mindset – new ways of looking at business development, corporate culture, IT projects, etc. need to be developed. This does not happen overnight, and needs to be addressed step-by-step. There are many good sources of insight on the topic. Michael Krigsman, a well-known digital and enterprise analyst and founder of CXO Talk, a video website where leaders meet to talk about leadership, technology and innovation, is a good source of knowledge and inspiration.
Here is an overview made by Mr. Krigsman on some of the changes one can expect when moving from a traditional to a digital mindset within an organization:
Lastly – if you would like to learn how companies face challenges when undertaking digital transformation, Harvard Business Review has a good article on this.