How does your organisation deal with change? Does it find it hard to embrace change because it’s still hanging on to tradition? It’s our nature as human beings to want to stick to the things that have always worked for us. The biggest stumbling block when attempting to introduce change in big organisations is the sentiment, ‘but this is how we have grown the company,’ or ‘this is what our clients love.’

Success requires that organisations be willing to learn new things and embrace change. This is especially true because there is no guarantee that what once worked will continue to work in face of rapid developments being brought about by technology and software. The fact that it only takes less than 25 years before a dominating company gets toppled over by an incumbent, necessitates a state of paranoia (constantly scanning for threats and opportunities) as Andy Grove, the legendary CEO of Intel would put it.

This explains why it’s an uphill task for traditional businesses to successfully move to digital with the conventional people who represented the old ‘ways’ in place and why it’s also much easier for start-ups built on the foundations of digital innovation to have a culture that anticipates and embraces change.

Culture shift

Successful digital transformation requires a shift in culture. It requires a digital DNA; one that embraces experimentation as normal part of learning. It recognizes that without experimentation which sometimes results in failure, there is no pushing one to their limits. Hence all tech companies on their path to growth have had a fair share of failures. Talk of the Amazon’s Fire phone, Google with Google+, and many other such endless tales of experimentation and failure. In fact, to aptly depict this culture, in its formative days Facebook had a mantra “move fast and break things,’ which caught on with many tech companies.

Leadership

To successfully carryout digital transformation, businesses need supportive and visionary leadership. The right leadership not only tolerates and supports factors for successful digital transformation; they are also digital transformation evangelists, who do everything in their powers to ensure that digital becomes part of company culture. They have support mechanisms in place and these are reflected in the amount of money they set aside to support digital, the investment they make in hiring, training and retaining the right people and the tools they acquire to support the overall digital strategy.