Digital Leaders Blog

Managing Digital Transformation

A recent article in the MITSloan Management Review has warned against looking for quick fixes when it comes to managing digital transformation.

In particular, three ‘superficial’ fixes should be avoided at all costs:

  • Avoid creating a transformation office unconnected to the rest of the organization: This will only create a culture of “cool kids” isolated from the rest of the workforce; as well as dismissing individuals already doing valuable transformation work elsewhere in the organization.
  • Avoid digitizing processes without rethinking the organization’s business model: Focusing solely on IT misses the point. A rapidly changing world requires new business models. Meaningful improvement must include transforming how the organization operates not just digitizing existing processes.
  • Avoid just hiring a lone “chief ________officer”: This pins the entire hopes of the organization on one individual. The reality is that organizational transformation is everyone’s responsibility.

Rather than looking for ‘quick fixes’, the article argues that there are three meaningful strategies that will deliver results:

  • Reward delivering results differently and better: Instead of striving to change organizational cultures head-on (an impossible task), the C-suite should actively support and reward those parts of the existing organization already delivering results differently and better. This will act as a catalyst for change.
  • Adapt organizational values and goals to the changing world, don’t just change mission statements: Focus on being nimble and adaptive to achieve agreed outcomes. Delivering results differently and better will ultimately transform organizational cultures.
  • Champion everyone across the organization to be positive change agents: Meaningful change happens across an organization when everyone realizes that anyone can become a change agent. There should be no need to be formally approved as an agent of change.

The six bullet points raised above have major implications for digital transformation initiatives across a broad range of sectors, including the public sector.

You can access the full article here.

Take care.

Jim H

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