Surprise! Company Culture is not just a buzzword!
Instead, it has been around for a while and is slowly but surely sneaking onto our radars more as it pairs up with digital transformation (DX). Yay! Moreover, it has quickly become a new consideration as companies try to modernize organizational culture and digital transformation (DX) efforts to adjust to this “post-COVID” world. Companies also treat it as a real fundamental shift in how they operate and adapt in this digital age in which we’ve found ourselves. For example, think about the remote and hybrid work model debate. It’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This post explores how a modern company culture could help more than hinder when trying to drive DX. Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list — the further we get flung into the future — the more things change. Nonetheless, here is a small list of the types of company culture that hinder DX.
I’ll highlight some essential elements of company culture that help fuel successful digital transformations. Overall, the goal is better to understand modern business culture’s impact on DX initiatives and know what to look for.
Company Culture vs. Digital Transformation
Before we start, we need to consider this: can orgs cultivate a “modern mindset and environment” to embrace change and leverage digital technologies effectively, or is more needed?
The general answer: Of course not, more is needed!
Below is what to look for or pay attention to.
Foster Innovation and Experimentation
The look of modern company cultures is different from one business to the next. One of the looks encourages innovation and experimentation as essential drivers of DX. What does that mean? For one, it seems that companies who are more agile throughout can better enable this type of mindset. At the same time, they may be able to foster a culture of innovation more easily. Why? By default, they empower employees to think creatively, challenge the status quo, and generate new ideas. These companies also tend to develop digital or technology products instead of solely offering a service.
Orgs that foster innovation and experimentation like this typically provide platforms and resources dedicated to specific employees to test and iterate their digital solutions. This culture fuels a continuous innovation cycle, enabling organizations to adapt to market changes, anticipate customer needs, and seize new opportunities.
Embrace Agility and Adaptability
This one goes hand-in-hand with the above example. If it is not apparent yet, modern organizational culture emphasizes digital agility and adaptability, which are vital in today’s digital landscape (and, again, dependent on your business model). Nonetheless, organizations that successfully embrace these principles seem more adept at responding to market shifts, customer demands, and emerging technologies. For example, consider how things needed to change at different companies at the onset of COVID-19.
Companies that embrace agility and adaptability seem to prioritize flexibility, iterate on strategies, and adopt iterative approaches like Agile methodologies. Of course, other companies can adopt this mindset well in the face of uncertainty. However, the challenge comes when whether or not a company can maintain this type of mindset and ideals outside of those periods. For example, consider how employees and customers responded to companies who “changed their tune” once vaccinations were released during COVID-19 or when masking mandates were lifted. Nonetheless, this culture enables organizations to pivot (in any direction) more efficiently, data-driven decision-making, and stay ahead of competitors in the face of change.
Collaborative and Cross-Functional Approach
Digital transformation thrives in collaborative and cross-functional business cultures. When orgs break down information/communication silos to help foster collaboration across teams (including digital teams), departments, and management, it unleashes their workforce’s collective knowledge and expertise. Then, by effectively encouraging cross-functional collaboration and being inclusive, sharing insights, and leveraging diverse perspectives, it enables new communication opportunities, promotes knowledge sharing, and drives innovation across the organization. Don’t believe it? Check these out:
- How Diversity Can Drive Innovation – Harvard Business Review
- Diversity Confirmed to Boost Innovation and Financial Results – Forbes
- Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters – McKinsey & Company
Businesses that flawlessly collaborate cross-functionally can more easily build their digital transformation efforts. Why? Because DX is more about communication than integrating new functionalities into existing technology stacks. Of course, digital transformation has its challenges and is not easy. Ultimately, DX requires a fundamental shift in organizational culture that begins with communication — between everyone.
Continuous Learning and Growth Mindset
A culture of constant learning and a growth mindset are integral to successful transformation. Modern company culture, evidently, encourages employees to acquire new skills, embrace emerging technologies (like AI), improve business operations, and stay updated on industry trends. Of course, those who invest in training programs that provide learning opportunities and support employees’ professional development.
Orgs that award employees for continuous learning milestones and a growth mindset empower individuals to adapt to digital advancements to proactively drive innovation by contributing to digital transformation projects.
Have a Customer-Centric Focus on Company Culture
Modern business culture places the customer at the center of DX efforts. When organizations prioritize a customer-centric approach, it helps to foster empathy, a deep understanding of customer needs, and a commitment to delivering exceptional experiences. This culture drives a relentless focus on improving customer interactions, personalizing offerings, and leveraging customer insights to drive decision-making. Not an easy feat!
Every organization should have a customer-centric focus embedded into their digital transformation initiatives and overall company culture. By putting customers first, organizations can align their initiatives with customer expectations, enhance loyalty, and drive sustainable growth. Ultimately, where would businesses be without customers?
Leadership and Change Management
DX requires strong leadership and effective change management. Moreover, modern business culture emphasizes leadership qualities that inspire and guide teams through the transformation journey. Leaders who promote a shared vision can better communicate the value of DX and create a safe space for innovation.
Lastly, companies with a modern company culture understand that leadership and change management go hand-in-hand. They drive change by fostering transparency, managing resistance, and empowering employees to embrace a digital future. They also know this has more layers and trickles down from the top.
The Takeaway: Company Culture + Digital Transformation = Possible
Modern company culture plays a pivotal role in driving successful DX. By fostering a culture of innovation, embracing agility and adaptability, promoting collaboration and continuous learning, prioritizing customer-centricity, and empowering leaders, orgs can create an environment that embraces change and leverages digital technologies effectively. It may also help them to be more intentional about using tech for good.
The transformational power of digital technologies gets harnessed when coupled with a culture that supports and nurtures the mindset, behaviors (we need to uncover company culture issues, too), and practices needed for digital success. Through adopting and implementing modern business culture perspectives, organizations can unlock the full potential of digital transformation, achieve strategic goals, and thrive in the digital age.