As published on CIOReview.com
With the advent of the ‘digital age’ and the globalized economy overhauling the way we work, communicate, and live, businesses across the globe have had to respond more and more rapidly to emerging consumer expectations and market demands. This has made the digital transformation mission highly critical for businesses of all sizes over the past decade. However, digital transformation, like other business transformations, typically has a low success rate of only 30% according to recent industry reports. More often than not, this goes back to how executives and decision-makers might focus on what digital transformation means for their companies, and not necessarily their people. Ning Wong, Principal at Daggerwing Group in APAC, has observed many projects that start off with a focus on the tools and tech solutions, rather than a focus on the employees who would leverage them every day. She reiterates that business leaders should always first address the fears and resistance of employees when it comes to change. Failing to empathize with employees’ concerns or expecting them to embrace the change with little to no explanation often leaves them hesitant to get on board — resulting in an ineffective digital transformation journey. In this situation, how do executives successfully implement digital transformation strategies? Providing an answer to the question is Daggerwing Group, a Top-10 rated Global Change Consultancy, who focuses on the people side of change.
By acknowledging that every CEO’s growth agenda is tied to the success of employee and customer behavior change, Daggerwing works with their clients across North America, EMEA, and APAC, to make sure change is a habit that becomes part of the culture, not just a series of initiatives. “We help organizations put their people at the center of their digital transformation journey from the very start to let them set a solid foundation for the rest of the process that is met with far less resistance moving forward,” says Ning.
The company believes that even though the introduction of new digital tools might seem like a no-brainer for an organization’s initiatives, people are actually hardwired to resist sudden change and may even have some biases about what this change means for them, their role, and the business as a whole. Especially when it comes to digital transformations, there are three different biases that tend to crop up.
First, there is the Status Quo Bias or a preference to stick with what one knows — even when presented with something better — for reasons of convenience, tradition, or simplicity. To combat this backlash, Daggerwing assists leaders in outlining a simple framework to explain how the pain points of the current system will be released and find ways to establish the transformation’s meaning and impact on employees.
Then there is the Loss Aversion Bias, the perception that losses are twice as powerful as gains. This bias prevents employees from pursuing the benefits of a digital transformation since they are primarily focused on not losing legacy ways of working, no matter if they are less efficient. This is where Daggerwing comes in. “We help leaders ease employees’ concerns by addressing what they are fearful of losing and clarifying how this change can yield better results. A key way to reinforce this is for leaders to take the first step in adopting the new ways of working to share the benefits to their people,” says Ning.
Lastly, there is the Availability Bias, also known as the ‘fear of missing out’ bias, which Singaporeans refer to as ‘Kiasu-ism.’ This bias occurs when business leaders seek the latest digital platform or tool to not lose out to competitors who are leveraging the same technology to gain market advantage with better insights, better customer engagement, speed to market, and so on. However, they might not optimize the benefits of their choices when these decisions are not strongly tied to their organizational objectives. To avoid this dilemma, Daggerwing explains to employees all the far-reaching implications of the transformation process and its functions, rather than focusing on their competitors. “When you are implementing change from a place of belief, rather than a place of fear, change is much more likely to stick,” states Ning.
Taking this people-centered approach to digital transformation and in fact every kind of organizational change, Daggerwing Group is helping clients narrow in on what exactly needs to change across structure, processes, capabilities, talent, and culture to enable meaningful and measurable transformation outcomes. “As one of the biggest obstacles to digital transformation is the way in which it is communicated, Daggerwing Group continues to bring business experts and psychology together to help employees connect personally and understand how these changes are being implemented to improve work-streams and enable them to work more efficiently in the future,” concludes Ning.