(Digital) Transformation begins from within the company

(Digital) Transformation begins from within the company

Digital transformation – who has not heard of it? Yet, what do companies mean when they declare that they are now focusing on their “Digital Transformation”? 

While “digital” refers to new technologies, connections and often, different business models, it is not where “digital” change begins. The Digital Transformation in companies requires a radical change from within the company. It goes to its very core, which is human. A successful change starts with the workforce, their mindset(s) and their readiness to embrace the transformation. 

Let’s look at a few buzzwords around the Digital Transformation and set them into a human-centred context. 

  1. The Digital Transformation relies on AGILE WORKFORCES
  2. MINDSET SHIFTs begin with curiosity
  3. Change is EMPOWERMENT

1.The Digital Transformation relies on AGILE WORKFORCES

Many companies train their workforce in using agile instruments. Agile and lean thinking have become powerful methods applied by almost any company these days. Yet, how useful are tools and techniques, which people have trained to use but which do not match where people are standing at?

Do one of the following sentences sound familiar? 

“But we have always done it like this.” 

“We have to give this to the steering board, before we can make a decision.” 

“Let’s put this into a powerpoint presentation before we decide on next steps.”

Sentences like these kill the creative flow as much as radical change towards a digital mindset.

Before giving your workforce tools and methods, maybe take a step back and address the following questions:

  • Where are our companies greatest barriers to agile action?
  • Which are the beliefs about how our business model works that we should critically assess?
  • How can we let go of routines and processes that motivate employees to bring in their ideas and talent?

2.MINDSET shifts begins with curiosity

The latest research on neuroscience states that agility is a state of mind. However, the longer our brains repeat thinking and behavioural patterns, the more it acts in predefined pathways. Those pathways take up a lot of space in the brain. They are basically like motorways that steer decision-making, action and beliefs on a route that has been taken many times before. 

Before different action and decisions are even possible, the human brain needs to leave these neuronal motorways in order to discover new and smaller paths. Going off the track, however, is not easy. It means questioning routines and the “known”. But it is where agility in the mind starts. 

Let me give you some easy exercises to create agility in your mind – and maybe try them with a childlike curiosity:

  • Take a different route to work every day. 
  • Start a meaningful conversation with a colleague you have not talked to before. 
  • Shower with your eyes closed. 

3.Change is EMPOWERMENT

Maybe you are wondering now: But she talked about the Digital Transformation in the beginning and now I have to shower with my eyes closed? How does that relate back to a radical change within our company? 

Change takes time and it does not happen instantly. But it won’t happen at all, when it is built on the back of an established company culture. Letting go of routines and beliefs starts by creating an awareness for it and with people that are willing to address the routines and beliefs that are limiting change. Letting go is not easy. It may be painful because it implies taking a different, smaller and undiscovered path.

Going new paths begins with people within the workforce who have experienced for themselves that change can be practiced and done. Those people will feel empowered from the inside because they know that change is possible. When the company empowers the workforce to go these personal steps towards change, they will also provide a sign that radical change and agility for the whole company is possible. 

The Digital Transformation relies on the readiness of the workforce to embrace change from within. It relies on empowerment, curiosity and agility in the brain. 

Let’s do this and have fun while we discover those new paths.

What are your company’s greatest challenges in the digital era? How are you experiencing these changes? Feel free to share in the comments.

About the author:

Dr. Martina Dopfer is CEO & Co-founder of mynd:way. We offer mindful learning journeys for employees, leaders, teams, and organizations. Martina has a PhD in economics from the University of St. Gallen and is a startup- and mindfulness coach. Over the past 10 years, she has accumulated her digital expertise through working in online marketing startups, in the digital units of large corporate firms, and as a consultant for digital business model innovations.

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