Enabling a digital mindset to drive organizational transformation is not an easy task for most, in organizations slow to change, laggards in embracing technology solutions. Moreover, it is a constant communication battle, not a flavor of the month launched and forever set on autopilot. Taking a step back, why change at all? Why shift to intelligent automation solutions? “We’ve been doing it this way forever, and it’s worked just fine…” If you just had a flashback, you have the experience and understanding of that comment not holding weight. Fostering a digital mindset and culture leverages the variable of velocity. Enable a community resistant to change, expect nothing. Inhabit a culture of digital cohesion in the advancement of the individual and organizational quality of work, and you are likely to realize the upside. We reap what we sow.
The two main issues are timeless: 1) people are naturally resistant to change (especially when there is little or no communication of the initiative), and 2) the roadmap is often unclear, held tightly to the chest of few, or non-existent. Have your doubts? Poll varying levels of your organization and ask them: What is our digital transformation strategy? I’ll wait.
Let’s address each accordingly.
First, start with ‘why’. Yes, I pulled in the ‘Golden Circle’ via Simon Sinek. Granted, the methodology is often overused, but in this instance, it is very relevant. Digital transformation can be intimidating if the ‘why’ is not clearly articulated. Is this purely a headcount play, or are we embracing change to stay in the fight and gain a competitive advantage? There is a canyon of emotion and reasoning between those ‘why’s”. Failure to effectively communicate and your subject-matter experts who drive ideation and innovation will stalemate your efforts. Failure to effectively communicate and your journey can start feeling like that twenty-two-hour road trip in July you remember from your childhood to see Aunt Milly—painful. Effectively communicate on the other hand, and you and your constituents will ask yourselves why you did not start the process sooner. Opportunities—or golden nuggets of value—will rise to the surface from the most unsuspecting avenues.
Exactly ‘how’ do you articulate the path forward and deliver engagement? Let’s dive into some best practices.
Best Practices in Enabling a Digital Mindset
Establish a Charter
Establishing a digital transformation charter is a methodical tool for bringing together key variables and interested parties. While longer charter formats can be utilized, a simple but effective single-page charter is more than sufficient (and easily scalable). Moreover, the process brings clarity and perspective as you identify the problem statement, goals, stakeholders, team members, activities, and milestones. Formed appropriately, charters extract executive support, qualify funding, and demand cohesion of KPIs and timelines – all critical to the success of a digital transformational journey.
Embed within CI
Manufacturing Lean Six Sigma and continuous improvement teams are tasked with moving organizations forward by driving efficiency and eliminating waste. Their core activities are identifying problems, fixing and solving those problems, learning, and sharing the learning to continuously improve.1 Intelligent automation (or hyperautomation) is a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA), where AI enables insight-driven analytics, decision-making, and personnel management, and RPA automates processes and reduces human participation in them. Embed your digital strategy within lean and CI groups for greater-leveraged impact and ask the following: Does our current improvement plan include digital technology? If we incorporated [RPA/ML/etc.], what would be the impact on the end-to-end solution?
Over Communicate and Educate
A single communication will not hit the mark. People need to read a passage at least twice to retain it. People need to read a passage at least twice to retain it. Reinforcing your message is a necessary endeavor to bring along the masses. Communicate and educate in broad and creative
avenues. A few practical real-life examples are as follows—hold a digital mindset webinar series, host lunch and learns highlighting RPA with a partner, launch a digital optimization roadshow traveling to various internal organizations, or gamify ideation to encourage engagement. All in all, do not underestimate the level of internal “selling” required to start a digital movement. It is always better to over-communicate.
Developing a digital mindset culture is nothing more than a process. That said, it starts at the top and requires a plan. Before you hit predictable stagnation, make a plan or enlist a partner. Above all else, communicate.
1People: A leader’s day-to-day guide to building, managing, and sustaining lean organizations.