There’s a lot to fear about. Our recent FIT FOR DIGITAL report found that at least a third of organisations realise that fear of change is hampering their ability to respond to the dynamic moving world of digital transformation. It doesn’t surprise me. Culture is the problem. I’ve long argued that culture is as important as forging a sound strategy, if not more so.
Of course, the kind of culture I’m talking about is disruptive, and it’s scary. But, that’s invigorating. It concentrates minds. It gets the creative juices flowing. For me, there are three aspects to a Fit for Digital culture.
The first is creating and communicating a MEANINGFUL MISSION
Your people need a strong purpose. Everyone should understand it and live it. Any technology change should serve the mission, not be the mission. That means moving away from talking about success in terms of growing revenues to “making life better for customers”. If your employees believe they are achieving something meaningful they will work with greater commitment and ambition. And they will be committed to achieving often considerable personal growth too. It’s the kind of atmosphere we’d all want to work in.
Next, you need to innovate. Have new ideas, and be good at testing them both quickly and cheaply. Learn from your mistakes so you can successfully evolve those ideas. Failure is creative. Work to avoid it, but don’t fear it. Cultures where failure is a dirty word encourage individuals to cover it up, re-paint it or ignore it completely. This leads to those mistakes being made again and again.
Digital culture doesn’t gloss over failure because it’s seen as useful feedback which can be examined, to learn how to improve ideas and solutions. For established organisations recognising failure is often the first step towards important insights into how their world is changing. For new entrants, failure can reveal that you that you are pushing the envelope of your market, or capabilities, to be all that you can be. Either way failure is something to look for, not hide away from.
Lastly, you must understand what your corporate mindset is right now, and be honest about it if it’s what is holding you back. Harness the ambitions and emotions (remember fear is an emotion) of your people to counter the fear and rigid structures that are slowing you down.
A culture that is NOT fit for digital is one that’s obsessed with technology and technological processes
Technology is a means to an end, not the end itself. Sounds obvious when you say it out loud, but it’s actually hard to put into practice. Digital has been understood by many senior executives as a set of fancy new technologies, rather than a seismic shift in the expectations, motivations and capabilities of their customers, employees, investors, suppliers and regulators. So, it’s no surprise that technology is often mistakenly given the lead role, rather than being an important member of the supporting cast.
Working with someone from the outside helps you do that. It’s hard to see the ‘wood for the trees’ when you’re in the middle of the forest. You need to get broader perspectives from a partner whose job it is to help you see reality. Fujitsu’s research highlighted that organisations are looking for partners on their journey, with 67% looking for a partner to help them with digitalisation, and we’ve adopted a co-creation approach with our customers to help them on their digital journey and to address the topics above successfully together, holistically.
Get it right now, and that culture will serve you long into the future, whatever happens in your sector. You’ll be fit for digital.
If you are interested in digital and culture watch my video on YouTube or directly here: