The Critical Link Between Digital Transformation and Your Culture

Digital Transformation Is Not About Technology - It's About People

By: Anastasia Crane

Digital transformation is a hot topic these days, almost to the point of becoming a buzzword. Executives view it as a way to reinvent and transform their businesses, while IT leaders are scrambling to keep up with the demand for newer and better technology, allowing for more seamless communication and collaboration within organizations.  

Technology is critical, and it has enabled businesses across the world to become more efficient while accelerating growth by shifting from paper to screens. What’s more important than technology, however, are the people who use it, and how they interact with their organization and each other.

How are culture and digital transformation linked? 

Over the past 15-20 years, companies have naturally transformed to a more digital environment thanks to the pervasiveness of the internet. For this reason, leaders have been incentivized to prioritize their digital transformation initiatives, looking for a more purposeful and strategy-driven execution. In some organizations, the shift was organic and relatively easy. However, these companies are in the minority. Many of these initiatives fail, and it’s not hard to see why.   

Sustainable digital transformation can’t happen without culture. The long-term success or failure of your digital transformation initiative relies heavily on your organization’s culture. For example, some cultures are slow to change. These are ones where people frequently use the phrase “we’ve always done it this way,” when presented with a new idea or process. 

This mindset will kill your digital transformation before it even gets off the ground. 

Conversely, having an agile mindset leads to an environment where people embrace change, or even seek it out. Create an environment where people proactively question, “how could we improve this process?” This is the type of culture where innovation and productivity thrive. And, more importantly, it’s the type of culture that gets results. 

Creating a results-driven culture

Culture can be seen as a “nice-to-have” rather than a must-have. But whether you like it or not, your company has a culture. 

Culture will:

  • Create negative or positive experiences for employees, including senior leadership
  • Cause positive beliefs to be squashed, while negative beliefs flourish, and vice versa
  • Impact your overall results, affecting the outcome positively or negatively

And if you think your culture isn’t playing a role in your business goals and outcomes, consider this: companies that focus on culture are five times more likely to have a successful digital transformation. Creating different, more positive experiences for everyone within your organization will help drive the change you wish to see, particularly when it comes to beliefs. Positive experiences = positive beliefs = sustainable change.

Experiences shape our beliefs, and beliefs drive our actions. If your employees believe they are empowered to take ownership of outdated processes and technology, it ultimately leads to the results your organization is targeting through action.  

So: why is culture important? Simply put, you cannot drive or accelerate lasting change without addressing the beliefs living in your culture. The only way to move forward successfully is to create an environment where your people feel empowered, take personal accountability, and connect with the goals of your organization.  


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