Today, the easier it is to convince a business leader to adopt digitalization as a pillar of business strategy, the difficult it has become to hit the ground running with it. It’s a problem of bringing an otherwise convincing value proposition from the power point in board rooms to a business situation on ground.
Digital transformation is argued as a fundamental shift of gears, which a business can make towards the journey of survival in the new age economy. Big ticket change is a core for any survival instinct and it is no different here as well. It can be further argued that the organizations would need a collective belief in this change while getting ready for it.
To think digital – it has to move beyond the benefits of efficiency and automation. It has to become fast responsive to a society which is discovering itself through digital interfaces and adopting it as a secondary skill up the sleeve.
The organization preparedness to this change is a direct function of how the employees respond to this change. Since no two persons are same – the difference between various employees responsiveness is a key factor on which the eventual organization’s success story would depend.
While technology nuggets can be brought from outside, the core of transformation will still be around business models and people who shall run them in next avatar. An organization embarking towards digital transformation, therefore first needs to scan the readiness of its employees and thereafter invest its resources with prudence.
So how do we identify which employee is better prepared to positively respond to this digital change? Is it a foregone belief that younger employees are a guaranteed bet for this journey? Are we making a right choice by believing that millennial hiring is the solution to this problem?
But organizations have been hiring fresh / younger managers at entry level positions on annualized basis for decades now. So infusing a young talent has been an established practice – therefore – why should this now be seen as new anthem of change readiness. Well, stepping up the volume of entry level hiring and thus helping in decreasing the average age can be argued as a possible new value enhancement?
Are we assuming too early then that young age is the proponent of digital transformation?
Some organizations have ended up positioning younger managers at leadership roles very early and thereby driving in a newer mindset at decision making levels? It is argued that they bring in a mindset which is fast to adapt change. Therefore, isn’t the ‘openness to change’ in the behavior which should drive the hire and not necessarily young age factor in the first place?
In the zeal to pace towards the digital path, by hiring millennial in bulk, we may end up creating an organization with a tilted age ratio towards youth having talent but at the cost of experience.
How else does an organization identify a dream team for this change? Do we have a yardstick to measure suitability of an individual towards Digital Readiness? Which person shall be most suitable to be a change agent and contribute best to the digital transformation agenda of an organization? As a hiring manager how do you identify a talent which is more ready for the digitalization of your organization.
If a millennial is a target group seen as conducive to this journey, then will every millennial be equally responsive to a stimulus carried over / generated towards digitalization? Or should we focus on individual specific attributes and not generic band based decisions?
A survey was undertaken as part of my research work, with a representative sample of respondents and overall 927 different and elementary responses were generated. These responses ranged from demographic factors, micro economic factors, psychological factors, social factors, behavioral factors, organizational cultural factors and technology factors.
A word cloud created out of these 927 responses culminated into 93 different sub-categories. A further round of focus responses identified that there are 6 different personality attributs which show up high in people who are digital savvy.
These 6 attributes can be easily collated as UCCCEE© framework. The acronym expanded as Updated, Confident, Connected, Curious, Experimentative and Efficient.
The research work states that an individual’s readiness to respond positively for a digital transformation journey is driven by his/her zest for staying updated with latest information, higher self-confidence in handling diverse & sometimes adverse scenarios, curiosity to go beyond the normal gatherer attitude, extend hand outside to reach out to people & situations around you, an affinity to stay productive in given resources in hand and willingness to experiment with options and ideas in a given situation.
Almost all of the 927 different behavioral responses were either deductible to these 6 attributes or some were found insignificant to impact a behavior.
The individual’s status on a maturity index of these behaviors was named as DQME-Type-Indicator and is a range scale method of identifying the status on a given attribute. There are two range ends – 0 and 1 and an individual maturity can fall anywhere in between. The closer to 1 signifies the proximity to a higher maturity level and otherwise.
Based upon various combinations an individual score on these 6 attributes may range between 111111 to 000000. However, these are ideal cases and seldom exist. A majority of the personality indicators shall have a mix of these binary figures in their personality-type indicator.
So how does this solve the challenge of the higher failure rates of the digital projects or organizational drivers of a digital transformation journey?
Well, the underlying fact remains that a majority of these projects don’t fail because of the technologies, but because of the behaviors of the talent which works on them. In the space of digital transformation, a precision engagement works far better than a carpet bombing strategy.
If we can identify talent which scores favorable on the DQME Type Indicator then the probability of creating a conducive workforce to change can be established. The organization’s responsiveness is an aggregation of an individual behavior which is commonly seen as organization culture – thus enabling a more conducive culture.
Peter Drucker famously said that “culture eats strategy for breakfast” and digital transformation strategy is no exception. How much an organization prepares itself to softer elements of this change will define which organization will see the end of this decade.
Author is President and Group CIO at Welspun group. He is also a research scholar at NIIT University and his areas of academic interest include digital persona and its influence on individual behaviors. The UCCCEE framework and DQME-Type-Indicator is a copyright work of his and for details may be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. The details mentioned here are his person opinion on the subject matter.