In many cases, when an organisation isn’t keeping up with today’s technological advancements, the top of that organisation is aware of that fact. But still, no changes are made and no digital transformation is set in motion. Why is that? In a number of instances, there is no sense of urgency – no sense that not only something needs to happen, but it needs to happen right now. In this blog, we’ll give you a few tips to create this urgency and set digital transformation in motion.

What if you’re the only one getting nervous seeing the competition introducing new technologies into their organisation? When you seem to be the only one that’s bothered by outdated business processes and burdensome software? Or worse: everyone is bothered, but no one is doing anything about it.

It could be that there’s a sense of urgency lacking in your organisation. Everyone knows digital transformation needs to happen in order to stay relevant, but it doesn’t seem to be high on the priority list. Thus: nothing happens. So how do you create this sense of urgency, in order to make digital transformation happen?

Make sure they understand the situation

Change starts in people’s minds. And, let’s be real, at the top of an organisation. These people are the ones whose palms need to start sweating whenever they see someone working on Windows Vista, and shiver at the sight of a competitor who has successfully implemented yet another new technology – while they haven’t upgraded their company technology in years.

It is very possible that others have simply not perceived the situation as you have, if at all. Are they even aware of the changes around them? Or rather, the lack of change within the organisation itself? And most importantly, are they aware of the eminence of digital transformation? First of all, it’s important to find out if others have indeed seen what you have seen. If they’re already doing something about it, or sticking their heads into the sand. Or if they’ve been completely oblivious. If so: enlighten them.

Explain the consequences 

What will happen if, well, nothing happens? And when? Create pressure by giving realistic scenarios of what will happen if nothing changes anytime soon. Make them concrete: use predictions based on numbers and actual facts, or examples of similar companies who ignored the inevitable. I mean, look at Blockbuster. Oh that’s right – you can’t anymore. It’s a great example of a company that completely ignored the digital advancements around them and went under because of it. Give them a timeline of when these consequences will occur, and how soon any transformation should start to avoid them.

Here are some example questions that you can answer to get approval for your desired change:

  • What are the safety risks if you don’t change?
  • What are the safety risks if you don’t change?
  • What are the hidden costs that you make obsolete by changing?
  • What is the impact on different departments and people’s work?
  • What impact will this change have on the licensing, consulting and maintenance costs?

Keep in mind here, you want urgency, not emergency. A firm but nuanced approach is appropriate here; you don’t want to create panic. Because panic makes for panic reactions. It’s the difference between fire-proofing a building and pressing the sprinkler button while the building’s burning down; the first one is making an improvement to benefit from in the future, the second one is a panic reaction and, though effective, only has a very short-term effect. Where after you’re still left with the scorched debris.

Provide a solution – and a way to get there

Consequences are important to understand, but consequences alone may not always get people in the right mindset to set change in motion. Only emphasising what will go wrong may even do entirely the opposite. It’s cognitive dissonance: people don’t like the problem, they don’t want to hear it, think it’s too unpleasant to deal with, so they shove it away in the back of their minds and pretend the problem doesn’t exist.

As said before: change happens in the mind. For a big part, it’s about emotion, and not only the negative ones. So give people not just a vision of impending doom, but a vision of a better future. Incentivise them with how better things could be – the carrot on the stick, if you will – and a concrete way to get there. Don’t worry – you don’t have to make an entire step-by-step plan – as long as there’s some idea of what the change would look like and require. Taking steps is not so daunting if there’s already an idea of what these steps would entail.

It’s always good to show examples of others who’ve done it well. And why not show competitors who’ve successfully accomplished change? Sometimes, nothing can kindle the desire to change like seeing competitors doing it (and succeeding at it). You can find great examples of companies who’ve successfully digitally transformed, from giants such as Walmart, to local care homes for the elderly.

Do your part to help

Be part of the solution. Do not just urge people to change, but offer to support the change yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to take on the entire project; just figure out what you could do to help and offer to do so. Because many hands lighten the load, right?

Realising change isn’t easy, especially if change isn’t even on people’s minds. Motivating change bottom-up can be intimidating, but don’t let that discourage you. Because if it’s necessary, it’s necessary, and in the end, everyone will be better off for it.

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Do you feel the need for digital transformation within your organisation? Check out the hybrid functionalities of the adaptive unified workspace for a gradual transition to the cloud, or the benefits of using an adaptive unified workspace to stay future-proof and lighten the burden of future digital transformation.

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Georgien Modijefsky

Georgien Modijefsky

Master of Content

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