digital transformation

Role played by Leadership in digital transformation

All your digital transformation has to be led from the front, by the leaders of your organization. Digital transformation cannot stand on IT’s shoulders. IT does have a strong role to play, in seeking and catalyzing this ownership. Let’s see how this needs to be done from the lens of my experiences. 

In this concluding article of the nine-part series on Digital Transformation, we are talking about leadership. In the first article, we talked about the Evolution of Digital Enterprise. In the second article, we talked about Building Trust among the various stakeholders of the enterprise eco-system. In the third article, we talked about how Experience Design is an important pillar. In the fourth article, we discussed how Technical Debt slows down the journey. In the fifth article, we talked about importance of Architecture; how to build a team, how to engage your partners. In the sixth article, we talked about the right Perspective for Partnerships for success. In the seventh article, we discussed how building the right kind of Culture attracts the Top Talent towards an enterprise. In the eighth article, we talked about how Risk and Governance impact the digital transformation journey. 

How many people does it take to realize digital transformation Vision?

The entire leadership team of the company! A CEO or CIO cannot do it alone. We need to find ways to engage the company leadership immersively in the exercise. It has to connect not only at the intellectual level but also at an emotional and an existential level. 

I was sitting with my CEO. He was very passionate about digital transformation. He said to me, “Jagdish, let’s work on it” I replied “I understand your passion, but is your Team ready?” By his team, I meant my peer group of all the CXOs, the BU heads, the CHROs, the head of manufacturing etc. 

I said “you can’t drive it alone, it’s your team that has to drive it.” He asked for my ideas to align the entire leadership team. We designed a leadership offsite. We worked with a top technology partner. We gavethem the mandate that we have to educate, align and transform the mindsets through action-oriented workshop.

We went on a two-day offsite. On day one, we threw light on how the brick-and-mortar companies are transforming digitally. Because people thought that the new age companies and service companies have relevance of digital transformation. That myth needed to be broken.

The second day was a design thinking workshop. ~30 people came together in a room where there were no tables, no high chairs, standing most of the day and just white-boarding a lot of ideas, on transforming the company. 

Consider involving your leadership team in an immersive manner, to experientially understand digital transformation through expert sessions.  You want them fully committed to sponsoring the digital agenda in their respective functions. 

To what level

Did we stop, only getting the leadership team trained? No! In a large organization, we need to keep the momentum going. So, once we realized the power of design-thinking, we started talking to management institute professors for running a massive initiative and to build design-thinking as a competency itself, targeting many more evangelists within the company. 

Once the leadership is aligned, you’ll find a greater acceptance and sponsorship of your initiatives, a greater collaboration with their departments, and a complete shift in the way the leaders and their respective divisions look at IT. You need to support and catalyse this buy in into action.

Leadership involvement and ownership of their own function’s digital transformation is the holy grail where IT takes a supportive role and Digital Transformation transcends into Business Transformation with Digital Technologies.

Leadership involvement and ownership is about engagement at all levels: emotional, business as well as at existential level – I need it for surviving and thriving 

The true success of digital transformation is when leaders commit to it at an existential level.

With this we conclude the nine-article series on digital transformation. Please leave your comments here, or in the author’s LinkedIn Posts.  

The article has been written by Jagdish Belwal, Founder and CEO, Jagdish Belwal Advisory

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *