Accelerate Digital Transformation with Culture HackingAugust 15, 2019
Change aversion stymies transformation more than any other factor. Unwieldy change programs do not get to the heart of the problem — how mindsets invisibly shape responses to change. CIOs should take small steps that unlock growth mindsets and accelerate change.
Digital business transformation will be continuous, not a one-time change. Transformation requires agility and creativity more than established knowledge and stable processes. However, most organizations have spent decades hiring and rewarding workers based on the latter. It’s no wonder workers find it hard to change previously successful behaviors just because management now asks them to.
Past practices that inadvertently shape change-averse cultures frustrate many transformation efforts. People get stuck in their comfort zones, frozen by uncertainty or fearing failure. To break through this perennial culture gridlock, CIOs must address an often-invisible root cause: people’s mindset. In particular, CIOs must guide people to overcome a fixed mindset that may hold them back during transformations and, instead, to show up more often with a growth mindset, especially in key moments of change.
Here are key challenges in accelerating digital transformation:
- The hardest part of transformation is people and culture change. This is not news, nor is it easy to solve. Without a fresh approach to this perennial issue, the organization will be unable to move at the speed digital business requires.
- Digital business transformation requires agility and creativity more than established knowledge and processes. However, most organizations have spent decades hiring and rewarding workers based on the latter.
- Just telling people to “get on board” with the change will have minimal impact and can even backfire. CIOs who fail to address people’s deeper intrinsic motivators will struggle to close the gap between digital ambition and actual execution.
CIOs who need to address issues around leadership, culture and people should take these steps:
- Create a narrative for how infusing growth mindset traits in your culture can accelerate transformation. Develop language (for example, “learn-it-all beats know-it-all”) that you routinely use in meetings and key change situations.
- Avoid relying solely on big change programs. Instead, or in addition, take small steps, or culture hacks, to encourage a growth mindset. Design hacks as small changes that elicit an immediate emotional response and signal to a group that change is tangible and happening now.
- Devise hacks that encourage the growth mindset traits (for example, creativity, collaboration or continuous learning) most needed in your culture to accelerate transformation and discourage self-limiting aspects of a fixed mindset (such as fear of failure).