The Skills Every Digital Transformation Leader Needs

September 24, 2018

Transformation is not an easy process. I’m talking about real transformation, not just the “let’s develop an app that will do…” kind of transformation. I am talking about the one that changes your organization from the inside-out, changes the way you operate, the way you collaborate and lastly the way you delivery quality. This process is hard, and it requires work and amazing leadership to see it through.
Time after time, our experience has shown us that companies have great intentions of change, but are blocked by the lack of some fundamental skills in leadership. Therefore, if you want to be part of the transformation that inevitably is going to impact your organization, learn these three skills early and often to make sure you are up to the challenge and to lead the change.
80% of leaders in organizations have participated in something that had to do with design thinking, a brainstorming session, a workshop, etc., you could almost say: this is nothing new! I already know it! BUT there is another important metric, only 15% actually implement design thinking in their decision making process.
Design thinking is a simple process that pushes you to get out of the center of the universe, and put the user (customer) in the center. It pushes you to ask better questions, to be curious, to prototype early and expose your findings and try your hypothesis and find better solutions through organic iterations. Design thinking is not about being “creative” or “think outside the box” and “brainstorm” all day. It’s about not being self-centered and creating relevant and sustainable solutions, not just what I wish. It’s an objective and proven way to solve problems, and you should apply it to your everyday problems, big and small.
There are many, many, many ways to learn about design thinking, though you don’t just need to learn about it, you need to MASTER IT! The best way to do that is to actually go through it, fail, learn, practice and keep doing it. Become a master at it.
Data is power. The more you have, the more you can do with it, and the bigger your view of the universe becomes. The beauty about data is that it is a storyteller. Data tells you things about your organization, about your consumer that you can not get any other way. You need to listen to your data, to really be hungry for data, analyze it, try and observe it from different points of view, detect patterns, play with it and see where the story takes you. You need to learn how data is stored, where is it coming from, how can we mine it, how can we make it smarter. You need to be curious about data, and most of all, you need to make decisions with data, not just with feeling, but with actual objective data. Creating a culture of objective data in your team is one of the most important aspects of a transformation.
Data will change your view of the world. It will give you an objective and deep view of the situation. Sometimes it will be confusing, and you will need to surround yourself with people who are masters at reading data, and you will learn from them. Create a habit of centering yourself in data, both quantitative and qualitative and you will be able to anticipate behavior based on smart data.
We like predictability, that is how our brains are wired. It is good to reduce risk by knowing what is going to happen, , what is not good is to believe that the best way to do that is by having long planning cycles that end up in a never changing program that results in obsolete outcomes. The truth is that things change, all the time, and if you don’t apply a methodology that allows for change you will not succeed.
To be agile is to be able to adapt in the face of the inevitable change, in every aspect of business (and in life too btw). If you are leading a transformation process you need to be adaptable. You need to be able to change, to know where you are, to know the direction you’re going and to be aware that success is built by short iterations, not by loooooong stretches of unseen production. It’s about small, incremental, visible, tangible, accessible outcomes.
There are many, many, many ways to learn how to be agile, a lot of methodologies, but again, you don’t need to just learn it, you need to MASTER IT! you need to do it, in your projects, within your teams, you need to become an agile master!
Mastering these three skills turns you into a superhero. Many people today in organizations have heard about these skills, many! By this time you would think that because they have heard this for so long, most leaders would be applying these skills. Well that is not the case, and that is also your opportunity. You don’t need to just know about this, you need to master these three skills, to apply them to solve every problem you face daily.
Great leaders are not easy to find. It’s important that you learn these skills that will set you apart from your competitors and will enable you to lead the transformation.

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The Cultural Hacking Studio specializes in boosting organizational transformation by designing change strategies, transformation roadmaps, and cultural visions. It combines change management, organizational design, upskilling, organizational behavior, and talent engagement, focusing on crafting cultures of empowered people that help organizations reach their purpose and business goals.