Whether companies are launching cloud migration initiatives or going all in on a full digital transformation strategy, the tech and tools are likely top of mind — and as tech people, we get that. 

But companies can all too easily miss some of the most crucial factors of their transformation playbook: the people factors and the crucial role leadership plays in building their teams’ investment in change. 

Blankfactor’s Chief Growth Officer & Transformation Programs SVP, Denise D’Angelo, offers leaders these tips to make digital transformations successful.

With inspiration, go beyond checking the change management boxes

As teams transition to new systems and tools, you’ll be checking mission-critical tasks off the list, ensuring you have the talent and training to sustain the shift. 

But effective digital transformation leadership means doing more than training everyone on the new system. 

Think about going deeper. Motivate your teams to stretch, reach their goals, and refresh their ways of working by creating a shared vision. Inspire curiosity and encourage teams by bringing your own enthusiasm to the new challenges of digital transformation. 

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  • Offering transparent communication about challenges and opportunities. 
  • Inviting teams to share a new sense of purpose.
  • Celebrating the values and the victories. Be personally involved in successes along the way to inspire commitment and generate a culture of enthusiasm.
  • Bringing teams into the problem-solving process when possible to ensure crucial accountability.

Foster a new culture and way of working to ensure cohesion

Only 11% of CEOs think their company has a strong culture. (Vistage) That places improvement of their company’s culture at the top of mind — and digital transformation initiatives present a compelling moment for leadership to do just that.

But how exactly do you foster a strong culture, especially around digital transformation and change?

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  • Promoting digital culture. Digital-focused companies tend to share certain values: customer centricity, collaboration, and a drive towards innovation. Foster a shared mission around these values and your company’s unique values.  
  • Fostering autonomy for subcultures. Remaking company culture under a new banner of innovation means building company-wide unification — and then figuring out what you can leave to your teams, preserving unique company subcultures. Acknowledge the space for those subcultures and engage teams to help optimize what’s working and address what’s not working.
  • Reinventing old ways of working — and thinking! Building a new, innovation-focused company culture with digital transformation also means rebuilding approaches to working. Invite your teams to imagine new, creative approaches as you leverage new tech and tools. Embrace new ways of working as part of a refreshed company culture. 
  • Prioritizing communication. Teams that are in the dark are less likely to feel connected and fully productive — and that’s a poor formula for building culture. Ensure that your communications are clear, frequent, and motivate positive action toward transformational change. (McKinsey & Company) By building a sense of community through your communication, you achieve more than merely keeping teams updated. 
  • Checking in and checking in again. Recognize excellence and celebrate successes. Enlist others by appealing to shared aspirations. Encourage teams to connect in different forums and through various activities. Company culture doesn’t shift overnight, and it won’t happen on autopilot. 

Pair change management with understanding and engagement 

Many people will rise to the moment and embrace change, but digital transformation may be an exhausting prospect for others on your team, and they’ll need time to get through the process. 

People may feel betrayed, get stuck in denial, or grieve what they’re leaving behind — and in some cases, they can resist the change completely. 

Be prepared to handle the challenges of change and face them head-on. 

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  • Proactively considering objections. Brainstorm a step ahead and consider the possible objections to the change. Have some reactions and remedies ready to support teams that need help with the transition.
  • Inviting teams to talk. Sharing between leaders and teams is essential to ease concerns, either in small groups or at the team level. More importantly, continually share the vision, leading them away from fear and towards curiosity. Be open to the recommendations and voices of those impacted by the change.
  • Supporting the shift to optimism. Communicate positivity and a commitment to optimism while acknowledging the realities of the shift. Encourage experimentation, and move towards acceptance of the change.

Power your transformation with a digital mindset

Growing your business through digital transformation is about the tech — and it’s about a passion for digital-first. That means cultivating a team mindset that’s always looking for opportunities through innovation and the latest technologies, from cloud-native to data engineering to artificial intelligence and beyond. Those are the kind of teams you’ll partner with at Blankfactor. 

We design and deliver custom solutions from end to end to move your company forward — fast. Whether you need to modernize legacy systems, rethink your data strategy, or are ready for digital transformation, we can help. Contact us today for your 60-minute solution session.

Featured images from Freepik.