Leaders are embracing such transformation wholeheartedly because they recognise its power. But as companies advance from pilot programs to wide-scale adoption, they often run into an unexpected obstacle: culture clash.
"If you ignore culture, your transformation will almost certainly fail.”
The reason it can be confusing to executives (and then go unexplained to employees) is because a digital transformation isn’t just about investing in new digital technology.
Recently released research by the Boston Consulting Group found instilling a ‘digital culture’ has the greatest impact on the success of a digital transformation.
Which begs the question what does a digital culture mean, exactly?
Culture is the values and characteristic set of behaviours that define how things get done in an organisation; a tacit code of conduct that steers individuals to act appropriately and make the right choices, ones that accord with the organisation’s purpose, strategy and goals.
The key message of the research was if you ignore culture, your transformation will almost certainly fail.
We assessed 40 digital transformations in the research. Those that explicitly focused on culture were five times more likely to achieve breakthrough or strong performance (90 per cent vs 17 per cent).
Over a 10-year period, the results are even starker: 79 per cent of companies that focused on changing their culture by identifying desired employee behaviours and creating systems and incentives to reinforce them sustained strong or breakthrough performance.
Not one of the companies that neglected culture achieved such performance.