Digital Transformation is key to survival for organisations today but with such a high rate of failure – 84% of companies fail at digital transformation, according to Forbes  – more needs to be done to realise the full benefits from digital transformation.

 Earlier this week I took part in a masterclass focusing on this very subject at the TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World Series 2020. I joined Myriam Doerffel, VP Head of Mobile Business Steering, T-Systems International and GC Partners, Björn Menden, Managing Partner, Detecon and Mike Smith, Client Director, Concentra Analytics. Here is a little taster of our discussion…

Vicky Sleight, Director Diversity, Inclusion and Culture, TM Forum opened the masterclass which over 500 TM Forum members registered to access. She kicked off by asking us how we can align the board and workforce culture to create a transformational mindset that is digitally enabled.

We must start by asking whether the management team is aligned on what needs to be done and how, according to Björn Menden. He says, “Often there is a missing alignment. It’s important to start by getting the management team together to figure out where they are.

“We use The GC Index® to figure out what team we have in front of us and whether the team is fit for purpose.  We try to figure out what the key issues are that they experience at work.”

Mike talked about the importance of data. He says, “Data has a part to play from the outset – it helps us visualise and understand the opportunities.” Bjorn agrees, “It helps to know where you are at and ultimately if you want to take staff with you this is crucial.”

People need to know ‘how’ they are contributing to transformational change

We talk about having a transformational mindset. But I often say if people don’t know how they are contributing to transformation how can they have a transformational mindset?

What we need to be saying to people is: ‘You are here. How are you going to contribute and make a positive impact to the business? Are you someone who wants to make sense of things, make things happen, do things differently or someone who wants to make things better perhaps? This is how we are going to value you.’ It’s about valuing people’s contribution.

Organisations going through transformation have had a corporate rhetoric saying things like “We all have to change.” This is not very helpful, we know as humans that many of us fear change, at a fundamental human level we are all creatures of habit. Therefore the rhetoric needs to be focused on showing their people how they can contribute to the process of change. This is a much easier message than simply telling people to change. It sounds like a small shift but it is one that has a huge impact in driving a transformational mindset.

You cannot expect to get everyone on board

Bjorn says it is an illusion to get everyone on board. He says, “You have to make up your mind with how you deal with those who won’t get on board, otherwise they could become toxic to the process.”

Ultimately we need to spell it out to everyone that the change is what the organisation requires – this is what we have to achieve to be successful. By understanding what people are good at and where they are energised we can then identify how they can best impact the changes and he role they can play.  Taking this approach ensure employees are far more engaged because it aligns people to what the business needs.

  Focus on how people contribute to change

It is a simple principal really. If individuals are doing work they are good at, work that they like, work that they are energised by and work that is valued then they start to feel way more than engaged – they start to feel potent and masterful.

Mike warns us that transformation can’t be done all in one go. He says, “We are seeing a shift to change as business as usual – we need to have the engine in place to deal with continual change now. It needs to become a continual cycle. Staying still won’t work for organisations.”

All transformations have tensions. The bigger opportunity is the inter team collaboration. Organisations are made up of collections of teams and business units focussed on their own objectives and there will always be tensions at the boundaries of these entities.  How often have you been to a meeting where the innovation team is at loggerheads with the delivery team? What the GC Index® does is create a simple language and framework of impact that gets teams talking and valuing each other to drive collective transformational results.