23rd February 2024 11:25 am
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Why your digital transformation journey starts with hacking the culture

The big theme for this year’s Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, currently underway in Cape Town been the idea of supercharging your organisation’s digital transformation into a state that the research firm refers to as ContinuousNext.

It’s an idea that organisations, led by the chief information officer (CIO) in particular, take a multi-tenant approach in ensuring their business not only has a competitive edge, but also leverages the leading technology and practices to overhaul their entire thinking.

The first step

No easy feat, so where does one start to launch such a significant initiative?

According to Gartner, the best possible starting point is with culture, with the company also pioneering the notion of “hacking” culture in order to spark lasting and tangible improvements.

This aspect of ContinuousNext was presented by Kristin Moyer, distinguished analyst at Gartner, as she explained how CIOs and others within an organisation can undertake this intriguing task.

Little by little

When Gartner refers to hacking, it is not in the nefarious sense that many may think of it, explains Moyer. Rather it’s about identifying a small part of one’s culture or ecosystem that’s vulnerable to change, she adds.

These can be things like changing the hierarchy with which ideas are shared, to making each person that comes up with a new idea becoming the “CEO” of that specific idea.

These hacks can also be designed and carried out in as little as 48 hours, with Moyer noting that organisations should look to do a bunch of smaller hacks in a continuous series as opposed to turning culture change into one large project.

This is because culture is something that constantly requires addressing, and no organisation, no matter how good the culture, is completely invulnerable to hacking and change.

As such, Moyer advocates that organisations be in a constant state of hacking if they are serious about addressing the culture within their business.

Added to this, culture hacks should evoke some sort of emotional response from employees, according to Moyer, with them also required to be visible throughout the organisation.

Give it a go

Along with eulogising the importance of changing the culture of an organisation in order to handle the demands of digital transformation, Moyer also listed 10 possible ways that CIOs and others within a business can try to hack the culture.

The methods that Moyer says are worth trying out are:

  1. Celebrate failure and learn from it
  2. Let everyone lead in some capacity
  3. “Let it go” (relieving stress)
  4. Collect leadership beliefs
  5. Reward decision-making
  6. Share stories and experiences of culture
  7. Invite hard questions (and provide an answer)
  8. Create a motto the team can get behind
  9. Make innovation its own CEO
  10. Run a culture hackathon to share lessons learned

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]

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