Digital Transformation Conference 2020: Adapting to Change

On the 3-4th of June we attended the Online Digital Transformation Conference, a virtual event for digital and business leaders to discuss new technology and digital transformation initiatives – particularly in light of Covid-19.


On the 3-4th of June, we attended the Online Digital Transformation Conference, a virtual event for digital and business leaders to discuss new technology and digital transformation initiatives – particularly in light of Covid-19. 

It’s safe to say that almost no one saw the pandemic coming. By the time it was upon us it was already too late to put plans and systems in place. Many of the digital transformations that have happened in the past three months have been achieved quickly, through necessity rather than desire. And yet now more than ever organisations understand how important it is to embrace new technology and ways of working if they want to survive. 

Digital transformation is not easy to achieve, as many businesses will attest. One of the main issues that many businesses have – larger ones, in particular – is that the umbrella term ‘digital transformation’ isn’t particularly helpful, or relevant to what is actually needed. Much to their dismay, they find that every department, and every team within the business, has its own set of needs, and its own processes, which each require a mini-transformation to facilitate the change of the whole. The job simply becomes too big and too much for one person, or even a team of people, and what happens is a compartmentalised transformation, often isolated to a single area of the business, where its effectiveness is limited and its results are mediocre.

How to avoid this problem? “By implementing change from the ‘ground up’, says Alistair Heath, Digital Adoption Lead at Mars, “and placing the ultimate responsibility on the individual to adapt and transform.”

The nature of change

There are five elements to individual and organisational change: awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement (ADKAR). In awareness, we are aware that we have a problem that is impeding our success. This awareness leads naturally to desire, where we become motivated to change or implement something to remove the issue. This leads us to knowledge, where we acquire enough materials to diagnose the issue and plan a strategy to treat it. The acquisition of knowledge leads to an increased ability to handle our problems, which we do through the execution of the strategy. We then reinforce our new learnings and success by replicating this process in other areas.  

This model, created by change management expert Prosci, allows both businesses and people to identify problems and follow steps to find, and implement solutions. For an organisation with many moving parts, it is obviously more complex, and this framework would need to be applied to different areas of a business to achieve a complete picture of what action is required. To learn more about ADKAR click here

Before we can begin implementing our findings, however, there are several intermediate actions that businesses should take. 

Intermediate steps to lasting organisational change

  1. Adopt internal principles that offer guidance 

Every company that achieves success has a prominent ‘north star’ that guides their actions, as a group and as individuals. By creating and communicating positive, intelligent principles that offer guidance and show what the company is attempting to achieve, employees can invest fully in the vision and do their best work. 

       2. Accept responsibility for your own transformation 

When employees are fully invested and understand where a business is going, they naturally accept responsibility and accountability for their success. Resistance to change, in this case particularly digital transformation, is often just a case of miscommunication, or no communication at all. By keeping teams up to date and offering robust training programs (see ‘K’ in the ADKAR model), this can be almost entirely avoided. 

For more information on digital transformation, get in touch with the team today.

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