Five Steps to Fostering Digital Culture in Your Business

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As you digitally transform your company, a cultural shift must take place in response to the changes.

You now understand the crucial difference between digital change and digital transformation. Your leadership team knows that many traditional ways of working are incompatible with a successful digital transformation and a culture change is required, but how do you make digital culture change happen? 

We have compiled five steps to get you on your way:

1. Understand what digital culture is

According to Danish business leader and leadership author Torben Rick, digital transformation isn’t really about technology, it’s about organizational agility – and culture plays a vital role in the digital transformation of any business.

Digitalization  is about allowing technology to drive your organization – your products, services, customer interactions and core operations – in order to move faster. However, digitalization also requires a workplace culture where people are both prepared and willing to adapt to change. Thus, digital culture and transformation go hand in hand. Ignore culture and risk transformation failure.

Rick identifies digital culture transformation as leading the adaption of new technology; it is the shift from traditional, analogue culture, where decisions are based on market research, detailed business cases and detailed in-house reporting, to a digitally-driven environment, where decisions are made by cross-functional teams based on live customer-centric data. It’s being prepared to fail fast rather than be adverse to risk.

     “Digital transformation isn’t really about technology it’s about organizational agility – organizations culture plays a vital role in the digital transformation of any business.”    

— Torben Rick

2. Prime your leaders

Organizations don’t transform, people do. There’s no doubt that your digital transformation will impact every single one of your employees. This is why it’s important to initiate and communicate cultural change first, before your organization rolls out any major technological changes.

Digital culture is an organization-wide change in mindset and behavior that will only succeed if it is instilled from those at the top. Your leaders need to demonstrate their enthusiasm for new technologies, and be prepared to develop new skills themselves in order to empower your people to transform with your organization.

Ultimately, transformative success hinges on having everyone on board, prepared and willing to adapt to change and innovation.

3. Create a state of constant revolution

Digital organizations move faster, favoring continuous iteration over refining a product or service to perfection before launching it.

Culture change models identify examples of this constant iteration as being:

  • an attack instead of defense
  • taking calculated risks rather than maintaining the status-quo
  • utilizing technology to gain insights as they happen
  • and evolving in response to these insights.

4. Establish flatter hierarchies

Another key element of digital culture that is highlighted in many digital transformation articles is the great benefit of flattening organisational charts.

When collaboration across teams is encouraged and valued over individual effort, and employees are trusted to make judgement calls – no matter what their role – they will become empowered. Empowerment feeds motivation, which leads to faster decision making and, ultimately, more wins.

5. Focus on your customers

Finally, as digital culture embeds in your business, your organization’s focus will inherently shift outward. As your teams learn to collaborate, your organization will become more transparent. Outside expertise and customer feedback will be sought-after rather than feared as your organizational culture changes into an agile and resilient technological powerhouse.

In summary, digital transformation depends on having a digital culture supporting it because digital culture:

  • drives transformation
  • empowers employees across the organization
  • encourages quick thinking
  • values collaboration
  • focuses on customer needs

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