While “It’s all about people” is a cliché we hear regularly, most leaders are approaching digital transformations as though they are technology initiatives. Sure, they are technology enabled, but unless the human dimension within is properly understood these initiatives will not succeed. But when transformations become talent driven, they almost always guarantee success.
Unlike technology implementations which follow a waterfall, agile or another methodology, transformation initiatives go through 4 major stages in a particular sequence. Each full cycle sets up the next iteration of transformation.
Stage 1: Leadership and Decision Making - This is where leaders establish vision, priorities and concepts.
Stage 2: In this stage, teams begin the innovation of business models, products or services and business processes.
Stage 3: Here business and IT teams (ideally) collaborate in bringing innovations (new products, services and processes) to life. This is where experiences are also reinvented.
Stage 4: Teams finally rollout transformed products, services, models and process, and begin to measure the results. Results may be both good and bad.
The more data-driven the approach, the more objective evaluations and decisions tend to be and therefore a higher the probability of success.
As transformation cycles evolve from one stage to another, involvement expands to a broader set of employees across the organization. Through each stage, the emotions, commitment and effectiveness of all those involved changes.
As new initiatives launch, there is a mix of fear, anxiety and excitement. When companies communicate effectively and adequately invest in training, employee emotions shift dramatically from fear to confidence and finally to expertise. Along the way comes an inherent vesting in the new business models or processes and a determination to improve things.
As a cycle transitions into a second round, you have employees who are well trained, understand expectations and do not fear technology anymore. They are now deeply committed and want to ensure success of the cycle as opposed to being asked to do their best. With each transformation cycle, teams experience increasing levels of success and along with it comes a positive attitude, stronger commitment and higher effectiveness.
CHROs must influence CEOs and all leaders in companies to fundamentally understand that digital transformations are powered by employees, not just technology. HR Leaders who focus on the ‘human’ dimension of ‘human resources’ by ensuring role-based training in every initiative will influence the success of digital transformations across the company.
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