Welcome to Week 4 and the final week of our Digitally Fit bootcamp series. For those of you who’ve been here from the start, a huge well done! And if you’re just joining us, you can catch up on our previous sessions of Digital Agility, Digital Strength and Digital Speed.
We’ve saved something very special for our last session – our Mind Gym.
Being digitally fit means being agile, strong, and fast, but none of that matters without the most important ingredient – mindset.
As we’ve said from day one, digital technologies are inherently vital for digital success. But if the workforce as a whole doesn’t have the right mindset, which is fostered through a culture overhaul, then success is more difficult to achieve.
You might be sick of hearing it at this stage, but we’ll dare to utter it again just to make sure it’s sinking in; all the bright and shiny new tools in the world won’t make you digital if you don’t have the mindset to match.
This can seem overwhelming – we know, so we’re going to break today’s Mind Gym session down into bitesize chunks – the digital way of learning!
And remember, a lot of what we’ll talk about today has already been showcased in companies and businesses across the world (since COVID struck and forced us into lockdown) and our new work from home realities.
Like what, you ask? Well think about this:
Resilience – TICK
Comfort with Ambiguity – TICK
Digital Prowess – TICK! Yes, even mastering Zoom and a digital calendar is Digital Transformation, so please give yourself credit where it’s due!
We now live in a world where work routines have gone out the window, traditional management structures and styles have been turned on their heads, the pace of change and reinvention is lightning fast, and even the traditional physical office space has changed unrecognisably.
So, it’s more important than ever to look at people’s resilience, communication skills, confidence, complex problem-solving ability, comfort with ambiguity and emotional intelligence as part of the overall journey to success.
Right! Now that we’ve warmed up our minds by focussing on the WHAT, let’s get down to the business of HOW to foster mindset change and prepare teams for Digital Transformation.
Critical Thinking & Complex Problem Solving – We all think at work, right? We think about how we should approach something, whether it be a task or a conversation. But how many of you give your opinion if your boss asks for it? And honestly, how many bosses would override their own opinion for that of their staff? Well, we’re here to be very radical and turn this whole thing upside down. Why spend time and money finding the best people for a job if the boss is always going to be right? Successful Digital Transformation requires collaboration, communication, and critical thinkers with complex problem-solving skills. The pace and volume of digital change is rapid, there’s no rule book and employees have to work more autonomously given the sheer pace of transformation. And that means they need to be able to outline their thought process, see other points of view, and collaborate on the best way forward.
Creativity – In this context, creativity isn’t about being the next Van Gough. It just means you need to learn, adjust and be open to new things. There obviously is a technical aspect, but don’t be blinded by that. Being creative in your thinking patterns, in how you approach new and old tasks, in what training you ask for at work, and in how you use new tools and apply them beyond what they’re intended for. Don’t be afraid to take a risk and approach everyday tasks innovatively. You don’t need to be Steve Jobs to make a few well-informed suggestions. But you do need to be confident to speak up, and open to collaboration. And if you are really scared about automation and machine-learning, you need to realise that creativity and creative thinking are all the more important in the battle for survival!
Resilience – These are themes you’ll hear throughout our Digital Transformation programme, but the sheer pace and scale of Digital change in unchartered waters means you need a workforce, and infrastructure, armoured with resilience. Resilience is also built from leaders who are open and honest, and from a HR function which ensures internal communications are regular, effective and informative. Resilience should be an important part of an organisation’s overall worker well-being strategy, regardless of global pandemics and other unforeseen disruptors – because resilient staff are more productive and that means the business is in turn more successful. What we need to ensure is that when things go back to normal after COVID, we don’t forget this resilience. Granted, it took a global pandemic to accelerate a lot of Digital Transformation first steps, but the lesson is that we need to be ready for ANYTHING. And that means future-proofing teams so that we can react and adapt quickly, collaboratively and effectively with minimum trauma for employees.
Comfort with Ambiguity – Yip, we have to stress it again, Digital Transformation means a continuous state of flux. The only certainty in the digital economy is that nothing is certain. And that means you need a workforce that can deal with uncertainty, is confident to take risks and make decisions without knowing the full story. Some people are better than others at dealing with ambiguity but the secret to success for organisations is striving to always reduce ambiguity, while accepting it does exist. The art to fostering this culture goes back to open and honest communications, a managerial open-door policy, a clear, visible and agreed-upon Vision Statement, individual goals with constant and consistent feedback, and an environment of collaboration and confidence where no one is afraid to ask questions and challenge the status quo.
Emotional Intelligence – Traditional learning focusses on courses with tangible results but this means the focus on soft skills, like communication, leadership, conflict resolution, and motivation, has been perilously neglected. Emotional Intelligence is one of these non-tangible skills that are vital in successful leaders and employees. In fact, LinkedIn’s 2020 annual study of the most in-demand skills lists Emotional Intelligence as a new entry. But what does it even mean? That same study classifies it as “a mix of self-awareness, self-regulation, social skill, empathy, and motivation.” Put simply, these traits help teams come together to make Digital Transformation a success. Strong leaders are emotionally intelligent and lead by example. If they can’t sell the vision, motivate and inspire, how can Digital Transformation succeed? Empathy will also play a hugely important role on the path to success. Recognise the naysayers and the cynics – and there will be many! But don’t ignore them; work harder to help them understand the vision, and as we suggested a few weeks back here, use early adapters as Peer Mentors to help generate buy-in.
So that’s it, the last in our Digitally Fit bootcamp series. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and always feel to reach out if you have any questions or topics you would like us to cover in our blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Alana Fearon