In our Digital Matters Podcast November 29th, 2022, we spoke with experienced technology CTO Steve Homan (who’s previously delivered transformational solutions to Fitness First, The Daily Mail Group and Metapack) around his thoughts on transforming cultures and leading tech-driven change. Here we dive a little deeper into what he had to say and present some key take-aways.
‘Digital transformation’ sounds akin to providing staff with new laptops and Gmail - a project or a box ticking exercise - where it should be a cornerstone of your business. Instead of digital transformation, try tech-driven change. As an ongoing process, how can you make your company the best it possibly can be, using technology?
Sometimes key stakeholders are resistant to change; they’ve always done things ‘their way’. How do you get them on board?
The best way to win an argument is with compelling evidence. Gather as much information as you can to support your conclusions. “There’s nothing more powerful than landing the message repeatedly”.
How do you empower your teams to be high performance risk takers?
As a leader, your job is to solve their problems. Your team may not come to you looking to discuss their fears, so patiently look for them. Create conditions where they feel able to discuss the fears they’ve build but haven’t vocalised and you can have difficult conversations at the right time. Do that and you can unlock your teams’ desire to take personal risks and make greater discretionary effort.
Not a new concept, but worth remembering: - people overcomplicate things. Find the guiding light, the North Star. Realise what your true purpose is. What we do at gravity9 begins right here – helping you discover what you really want from a digital change – the next step is how to get you there.
Don’t think of this as a project, but as continually improving your business.
Get pivoting in your business. Pivoting means that you understand that you can change your mind and react to external pressures and influences (how organisations responded to Covid-19 was a great example of the success of pivoting). So long as you’re learning. It’s ok to get things wrong, change direction and try something else, so long as you’re learning. This creates a genuine cultural shift that will yield the real improvements you want to see.
People can become too easily fixated on ‘the answer’, whether it’s funding, pleasing the board or just getting stuff done – but it may not be the right stuff.
Frictionless and product-led – that’s the ideal destination. Make it clear where you’re going, where you are and where you aren’t going to be. Steve speaks fondly of Fitness First, where the vision was so clear they had it printed on the wall of every gym. If people know where they fit, it helps them understand their contribution. Marry that with transparency of what everyone is doing (even if it’s a pain to link together) and the result is one true story.
To help shape your vision, try a strategy map (there’s plenty of examples online). The top level will be the destination, followed by what you need to do to get there, followed by the strategies to achieve this change.
Lastly, Steve recounts some of his favourite business advice; “If you go to bed every day thinking that you’ve overcommunicated – you might have just done enough”.
Communicate often and consistently but find the gold in a conversation. If you can say “there’s only one story, this is all we’re doing, this is all we have to think about” it gets true focus and people get very excited by it.
More than ever before, it’s clear that tech-driven change is not just a hot topic but is taking a driving seat within organisations. We’ve seen how important it is that you can clearly communicate a simple, well realised vision that aligns your business at every level, clearing distractions and removing fears to leave stakeholders and teams that know what they (and everyone around them) are working on and what that means for the long term future of your business. Tech-driven change is for life, not just for Christmas.
We practice this every day in the work we do for our clients, ensuring their digital change is exactly what’s needed and will stand the test of time.
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