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How To Make Culture Work For Your Digital Transformation

April 2022
Alexandra Lekkou
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Stanton Chase Athens’ HR Leader Series addresses the digital culture challenge

Today, digital technology is at the heart of most business transformation programs. There are many expectations for a critical enhancement of business outcomes, but there are also many challenges. But for more than 70% or organizations, digital transformation efforts fail to produce the desired results. A key barrier in this process is not technology itself but mindsets and ways of working — in other words, an organization’s culture. More than 80% of executives say having the right culture is important for their digital transformations, although it still presents hurdles.

Because fostering culture so that it an enabler and not a barrier to digital transformation is at the top of organizations’ agendas, the Greek People Management Association (GPMA) dedicated the HR Leaders session in March to this topic.

Stanton Chase was the learning partner of GPMA for the session, where we presented and discussed with GPMA members around the digital culture challenge and more importantly around strategies that significantly increase the chances of success.

Here are some key takeaways from the session.

How To Approach Culture

At the heart of cultural challenges lies our approach to it, because we often fail to apply a technocratic methodology to managing it like we do with other aspects of our business. So, it is vital that we apply business methodologies and tools that make culture simpler, tangible, measurable, actionable, and to manage it with insight and consistency like the strategic asset that it is.

Today, models, data analytics, online surveys, and interactive workshops can be combined to support transformation that brings business results. Cultural and digital transformation need to go hand-in-hand. We need to manage culture proactively and in alignment with technology, and before it becomes a barrier in the transformation journey.

Seven Elements For Successful Culture Management

  1. Leaders’ commitment
  2. Visualization of the culture we need to enable the strategy of the specific organization in a concrete, measurable way
  3. Measurement of the culture we have, mindset, practices – not the culture we think we have, because our own perceptions may be misleading
  4. Measurement of the impact of each leader on the organization’s culture, as the leader’s example has a crucial impact on the team’s behaviors
  5. Identification of cultural gaps that are relevant to digital progress and also that make a difference in performance – we need to know in which areas resource investment is impactful
  6. Achievement of the needed shift in practices and mindset, through focused action plans, which will change the workplace and thus affect people’s ways of working, and by leaders’ example, which can be enhanced by increasing self-awareness around their impact on culture
  7. Organization-wide engagement through effective communication as well as involvement in activities

Seven Cultural Elements That Support Digital Transformation

Each organization has a unique culture and there are no one-fit-all guidelines. However, there are seven cultural elements that seem to support digital transformation, so fostering these to the extent appropriate for each specific organization is beneficial. They include external orientation, agility, boldness, lean approach, openness, data orientation, and digital mindset.

About the Author:

Alexandra Lekkou is a Director at Stanton Chase Athens.

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