The Role Of Managers In Creating A Culture Of Digital Transformation
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Building A Culture Of Digital Transformation: How Managers Can Create A Resilient System

The role of managers within organizations must evolve. Today, managerial methods are often embodied by invisible, unwritten practices that are hard to measure but that ultimately sculpt corporate culture. By default, corporate culture is essentially the result of the current managerial methods in place within the company and is therefore the sum of the individual behavior of managers.

eBook Release: Digital Culture At Scale
eBook Release
Digital Culture At Scale
Discover key best practices for implementing digital culture at scale through training in your organization.

Even if the function or “manager” title sometimes disappears in new organizational models (freedom-form companies, holacracy, startups, etc.) traditional management functions live on. You still need to know how to manage a project, delegate, take a leadership role depending on the situation, etc.

In recent years, there has been much talk of the shift from managers to coaches. This evolution is happening and testifies to the challenges posed by digital transformation. What is the manager’s role when a company announces projects focused on innovation and disruptive technology when 50% of staff struggle to upload a video in less than a minute? The manager must not only convey the organization’s strategic vision, but also provide their team with the means to understand and adapt their work accordingly.

Support And Empowerment

In terms of day-to-day support, managers have a key role to play. Transformation is not so much a question of competence as one of culture and training to fit this culture. It becomes a matter of empowering staff by allowing them to explore and learn and helping them anticipate the obsolescence of their current skill set.

A manager’s main role is to encourage this almost organic skill improvement by identifying learning opportunities based on strategic corporate goals. Managers must also support and encourage self-training. As previously mentioned: training used to be done at specific times or dates, now, our relationship with learning has changed since we are continually training and learning new things. This also implies that managers give staff time to learn by allowing them to manager their schedule, for example, and creating dedicated time for training.

Finally, managers need to nurture employees by helping them understand multiple viewpoints and understand the goals of other departments within the company. This is essential to allow staff to fully understand their work by viewing it as an ecosystem and not merely as a set of meaningless tasks without concrete, measurable and understandable outcomes for the employee.

Centralizing And Promoting Best Practices

When a company is continually learning and adapting, managers tend to take on another role: that of centralizing, facilitating, and promoting best business practices and methods internally.

It is up to him or her to encourage their team to document best practices, to highlight them, develop a process, and circulate content that is produced. Managers are in charge of creating optimal working conditions in order to develop collective intelligence within the company. This role is paramount, especially when there is a generational renewal taking place within a team. Orchestrating the transmission of knowledge between senior staff members and younger employees (and vice versa) is essential. This helps save time and increases performance by leveraging knowledge accumulated within the company and making it actionable.

Implementing new work methods at the team level is also the manager’s responsibility. Often, digital transformation efforts fail because the organization is taken as a whole; transforming everyday, micro-practices of individual employees tends to be much more effective, especially when there is a team dynamic involved. This is what we have experienced at 360Learning; over the past several months, clients from different sectors have visited us to understand how they can leverage our work practices to accelerate their transformation. Our answer is the same each time: start by deploying discernible actions at the team level, like Inbox Zero and by highlighting immediate benefits employees will see (no more email overload, easily find information, etc.)

Making This Transformation An Individual Goal

To implement a company-wide transformation, do not expect any miracles. You will need to translate this cultural evolution into individual objectives. Culture must be a performance indicator for managers, you can even index part of their variable pay on their contribution to the company’s transformation.

If you want to learn more about developing a digital culture within your organization, download the eBook Digital Culture At Scale.

eBook Release: 360Learning
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