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  • Digital Evolution Forum

5 Crucial Steps Leaders NEED For Successful Digital Evolution

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

It's becoming an increasing requirement across industries to digitally evolve if it is to remain competitive and relevant for the years and success awaiting in the years to come. But there are 5 crucially important steps your leaders need to take to implement the successful digitisation of your business.

At the Digital Evolution Forum, we always want to make sure you have quality resources available to you to ensure a successful digital evolution that moves your business and teams forward. So let’s take a look at these five important steps you need to take as a digital leader.

If at any point you want to get an outside trusted viewpoint on how your business can have the leadership for a digital evolution, you can contact the Digital Evolution Forum where a member of the team will be ready to help.

Let's start with a fundamental aspect to doing most things worthwhile in your business.

Step 1: Be clear about the WHY of your businesses

Your why can be broken down into three distinct areas: purpose, culture, and goals.

Businesses that possess a clear sense of purpose and direction are more often more effective at digital transformation than those that don’t.

Digital transformation challenges every aspect of your business including its culture which affects its ability to compete in its market. This can create challenges for your colleagues and customers.

We looked at the opportunities you can leverage by having a culture that clearly communicates the vision and the 'why' in the guide '3 steps to prepare your business for a successful digital evolution'.

Leaders must be clear about their business's goals and clearly communicate what they are to the business and its customers. Internally it gives proof to your team how the business is going to reach its vision. On the customer side, it shows the excellence you're committed to and how you're going to measure it against results.

Without the clarity in these three distinct areas, the result is often a series of small, disparate change initiatives that are not joined up and don't deliver against your expectations and overarching business strategy.

Step 2. Candidly assess your organisation's current level of digital maturity.

Your business should begin by defining what it means by digital transformation. And once you are armed with a common language and understanding of digital transformation, you can then assess your business's level of digital maturity relative to your customer's expectations and your competition.

It is pivotal to understand your business's digital maturity starting point relative to your customers, existing competitors, and would-be market disruptors. Because only once you understand your level of digital maturity, can you then take the right steps to improve your competitiveness concerning your customers and competition.

As well as the traditional change areas of people, process, and technology, you should also measure your digital maturity across strategy and customer experience. If your existing customers and competitors are more digitally mature, then your business must quickly digitally evolve if it wants to survive in its marketplace.

Step 3: Focus on digitally transforming your people in the business

Digital transformation looks to strategically reinvent how your business and its people maximise the amount of value given to customers. Change is as much about business culture as it is about technology.

PWC highlighted the importance of upskilling your team and used the notion of preparing everyone, everywhere, for the digital world. Because people increasingly need to be ready for new digital processes, both internally and externally.

This doesn't mean your team needs to become pro-coders, but it does mean that they need to have learned about new technologies such as artificial intelligence and data analytics on the agenda. Which comes from leadership focussing on the people in a transformation project.

Digital transformation requires a deep understanding of your customers and colleagues' current and future business needs. Therefore, you must take time to understand your employees and customer feelings, their customer journeys, expectations, and emotions to design end-to-end digital processes that delight both stakeholders.

We looked at the importance of putting the training and needs of your team at the forefront of the change in the guide 'Digital Training: Is It Really Worth It for Your Business?'.

You must encourage employees and customer collaboration that results in their buy-in, their bringing forward ideas, and insights that deliver customer value. Armed with this information, you can determine your organisation’s future business model, required skill set and overall transformation plan.

Step 4. Obtain buy-in and program alignment at every level of your organisation

For your digital transformation program to succeed, everyone in your business should understand what is required of them and what the proposed digital transformation will mean for your customers. It requires effective and continuous, effective communication and genuine engagement and involvement from leaders, executives, and employees at every level of your business.

It is not a one-off presentation to all employees or something to be delegated to the CIO. Employees must willingly embrace change and contribute effectively to your transformation program. Leaders must proactively show evidence of their collective commitment to the business's transformation vision at every opportunity.

Executives must stop and test their employees' commitment to their digital transformation vision regularly. If they need to adjust their actions to get employees' buy-in, then it is better to do that as early and as often as possible before progressing further. Everyone must be committed to your digital transformation in action, word, and deed if it is to succeed.

Step 5: Leaders' words, actions and deeds must clearly demonstrate that digital evolution matters

For a digital evolution to flourish, leaders should demonstrate, through their collective actions, that they are committed to your organisation's digital transformation journey.

They must act to demonstrate that digital transformation is front and centre in terms of their priorities daily including; having total clarity on your organisation's digital transformation roadmap; communicate this vision and how important it is to employees as often as possible; set digital key performance indicators and metrics to create visibility and measure progress; evidence a growth mindset by developing their own digital skills and learning from digital natives to successfully lead their organisation's digital transformation and lots more besides.

If employees see that executives are committed to digital transformation in word, action, reward, and deed then they are more likely to commit to change too.

What about your business's next step?

We've provided you with a 5-step roadmap to get ultimate success as a leader with a planned digital evolution. You might now have questions on where you might be going off target in your current journey or how you can make a great start by having a clear strategy and vision from the get-go.

We've seen successful digital evolutions of all sizes at the Digital Evolution Forum making us well equipped to help you answer questions such as these.

You can speak to an experienced member of the team today to discover how you can start maximising results by getting your leadership mindset right.

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