This might sound odd for someone who gets paid to inspire people around digital transformation. And who talks on the TV and radio about technology. BUT Digital Transformation is NOT about the technology.IT'S ABOUT THE PEOPLE.
It's taken me a few years to be 100% sure on this. And don't get me wrong it - annoys me (as a techie futurist.) But it's the people that make the difference to your business. Not the technology. As the wrong people - even with the best technology - we still be the wrong people. And so the outcomes you get - go wrong. Or are wrong!
You can give someone a calculator. But this doesn't make them an accountant. Or even a good accountant. You can give someone excel but this doesn't make them a financial director.
It might seem simple and trite.
But the right people make the ALL the difference.
However, don't just think that this is therefore an HR issue. It isn't. Picking the right people is hard.
But keeping them is even harder. Which is the job of the leadership team (and dare I say management team.) It's the job of the leaders who create the right culture in which your best people can be happy and flourish.
WHAT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY THEN MR TECHIE?
Ok. Technology IS important. It can bring amazing opportunities for businesses to have a competitive edge. Technology brings social change. It is often the trigger for shifts in understanding and opportunities we couldn't even imagine. Did we know the internet would bring remote working, or mobile phones - the gig economy.
Just think what the printing press did. It helped bring about the Protestant church and the reformation. Or what the washing machine did... You get my point.
But technology is the trigger. After that you need the right men (or women) to do (or not do) the work. So AT work. You need technology. You need to get people the right tools for the job. You can't run a launderette with people going down to the river to wash the clothes.
But you might be surprised how many people are trying to do that right now. Conceptually.
"They are thinking like the past (not just in the past) - when managing the present and even the future." (Dan Sodegren 2019)
Only after we free our minds. Will the rest follow.
Your people need to be trained up in the future of work.
For your organisation to have a future.
After all this. Then let's give them the clever tools and technologies that allow digital transformation to take place.Why the rant?
It has been triggered as I was listening to the wonderful Prof Helen Marshall give a great speech at The University of Salford. In which she detailed (in ways I will not blog about here) the landscape for Universities.
- The external pressures they are under.
- The internal need for change.
- About how with the right vision - Salford IS doing extremely well.
But like many organizations - they have:
- The wish to become agile and to change.
- To make sure they not only survive but thrive.
- She talked about being "fit for the future"
- And how culture is all important. Which was music to my ears after investing in FLOCK.
"How a train is coming and it's our job to get our people out of the way."
So they have a plan. Which many businesses do.
It is a speech that I have heard many politicians and leaders give whilst working around large organizations like the NHS and in education. Both areas renowned for not changing rapidly. And it reminded me of a slide I use in my talks around #DigitalTransformation.
I hope you find it useful.
And as you see here - successful change isn't about technology. It's about the people. The resources (which you can argue technology is part of) is only one small part. As without the right skills and training in place how can you expect managers to change? They don't they just create ANXIETY.
And if they don't change and they punish people below them that try to.
How does the organization change?
It gets hit by the train. Whilst blindly crossing the tracks.
So the question is HOW DO YOU HELP CHANGE HAPPEN?
One way I am seeing more and more clearly is that you use technology to help people understand their own motivations and values. You do this en-masse. For your employees and for you too. And then as leaders you get this feedback (decided by them and not a computer) and YOU make calculated (scientific) data driven decisions. Not easy decisions. But data driven / psychologically proven / #future of work decisions.
You might find that some managers might not really be suited to be managers. Some people might need to swap teams.
Some people might need to be helped to leave. And you might want to truly recruit the right people (based on values and attitudes) from the talent pool. The idea of keeping the same people in the same jobs isn't going to work.
BUT YOU CAN TRAIN PEOPLE.
Yes - you can train people. But what if "training" isn't the point. What if they don't share the same values as the organization will need to do - to survive. This isn't a point of training them to use the calculator.
What if they don't like training or the point of the calculator. If someone is fundamentally internally opposed to it... what happens next?
Do they make your life more fun. And the workplace better? Or do they create issues and problems. And cost you lots of money and energy.
In fact, are there people doing that already. As you can see the train on the horizon...
THAT TRAIN 'AINT STOPPING.