The business world is abuzz with talk of Digital Transformation. It has become quite the buzzword these days. The shift to applying various forms of technology to improve efficiency and effectiveness is certainly important, and sometimes vital to an organization’s success.
But there is one part of a digital transformation that often gets missed and it is likely the part that will make it or break it…Cultural Change.
The shift from one way of doing business to another through the application of digital technologies must take into account the need for people in the organization to adopt new processes, ways of working, and approaches to break down silos and relate differently to customers.
These practices and attitudes that are key to executing digital transformations successfully.
The Hardest Part
The fact that culture change is so time-consuming and difficult is precisely why most organizations ignore it. It is also the #1 reason why these endeavors fail to achieve the desired outcome.
Change is a complex process. There are many issues to consider when approaching an opportunity to change. The need for change management skills is a constant in the quickly changing world of organizations.
That is a central finding from McKinsey’s survey of global executives, which highlighted three digital-culture deficiencies: functional and departmental silos, a fear of taking risks, and difficulty forming and acting on a single view of the customer.
Although culture change is hard, it is relatively simple.
This six-step change model will assist you in understanding change and to make changes in your team, department, or company effectively. The model will also help you understand the role of the change agent, the person or group that is taking primary responsibility for the accomplishment of the desired changes.
Six-Step Change Model
These change management stages will help you to approach change in your organization in a systematic manner that will help ensure you effectively implement the change:
Step 1: Initiation
In this step, one or more people in the organization realize the need for change. There is a nagging feeling that something is not right. This awareness can come from many sources, both inside and outside of the organization. It can also occur at any level in the organization.
The people who are most familiar with the work often have the most accurate idea of what needs to change. Organization members may identify the need to change by viewing other organizations, benchmarking other organizations, or by bringing in new senior leaders or consultants with experience in other organizations.
Step 2: Investigation
In this step, people in the organization begin to investigate options for change. They begin to create a vision or picture of what the organization could look like after the changes.
They should also determine, at this stage, the readiness of the organization to change.
Step 3: Intention
In this step, the change agents in the organization decide upon the course of change. They create the vision of where the organization should be and could be in the future. Planning and definition of major strategies occur during this stage of the change process. Recognition that change always requires a change in the organization's culture is important.
Step 4: Introduction
In this step, the organization begins the changes. The organization must have goals for the change and strategies for reaching those goals. This is the stage where personal reactions are more likely to occur.
Leaders must begin the change by changing themselves. Leaders and other change agents must establish clear expectations for changes.
Involve as many of the employees in the organization as possible in initiating and implementing the change plan.
Step 5: Implementation
In this step, the change is managed and moves forward. Recognize that all will not go perfectly. Change always takes longer than anticipated. Change activities are ignored as employees tackle their day-to-day responsibilities.
Maintain constancy of purpose. The organizational systems must be redesigned to support the change. Provide recognition and rewards (positive consequences) for people who exhibit the changed behaviors. Lower your tolerance of those who do not adopt the new culture.
Step 6: Integration
In this stage, the changes become the norm and are fully adopted. This may not happen for 18 months after changes are initiated. A complete cultural change can take many years. When the changes have been successfully integrated into your organization, a new employee would not realize that the organization had changed.
When you take the right steps, involve the appropriate people, and tend to the potential impacts of change, cultural resistance to change is reduced. These organizational change management steps will help your organization make necessary and desired changes.
Digital transformation isn’t as much about technology as it is about organizational agility – an organization’s culture plays a vital role in the digital transformation of any business.
Culture leads the adoption of technology. Don't get so blinded by the technology that you miss the critical analog component.