Transforming organizations, teams, or even yourself is challenging. There's no one-size fits all method to achieve success. The most successful enterprises are continually experimenting to learn what works and what doesn't. They focus on meeting customer needs by clarifying goals, shortening feedback loops, and measuring performance based on outcomes, rather than outputs. To become a high-performance organization, you must develop the capability to continually adapt, adjust, and innovate.
The digital transformation market is expected to exceed $462 billion by 2024, according to MarketWatch. Given the sheer size of the market and forecasted growth, clearly startups aren't the only organizations looking for new ways to work. Regardless of an organization's size, industry or hierarchy, nearly every company can identify with the appeal of startup culture: fast-moving and frequent sources of innovative ideas and processes. Digital transformation can often be a frustrating pursuit for many companies because change is hard. As executives and innovation leaders set out to embrace change and drive growth, what practical lessons and tactical solutions can be applied to align an organization around implementing new projects, products or strategies at scale?
We talk a lot about needing a culture of innovation to thrive amidst digital transformation, but we should take that conversation a step back. A culture of innovation cannot exist without a culture of experimentation. If you want your organization to make the most of digital transformation, your success is going to hinge on your ability to determine what works best for your company. Modern business is far more competitive and data-reliant than it was in the past, and that means a misstep can set your business back tremendously if a project doesn't pan out as expected. Testing is crucial to avoid failures and to uncover any hidden potential a project may have.
Shortcomings in organizational culture are one of the main barriers to company success in the digital age. That is a central finding from McKinsey's recent survey of global executives (Exhibit 1), which highlighted three digital-culture deficiencies: functional and departmental silos, a fear of taking risks, and difficulty forming and acting on a single view of the customer. Each obstacle is a long-standing difficulty that has become more costly in the digital age. When risk aversion holds sway, underinvestment in strategic opportunities and sluggish responses to quick-changing customer needs and market dynamics can be the result. When a unified understanding of customers is lacking, companies struggle to mobilize employees around integrated touchpoints, journeys, and consistent experiences, while often failing to discern where to best place their bets as digital broadens customer choice and the actions companies can take in response. And when silos characterize the organization, responses to rapidly evolving customer needs are often too narrow, with key signals missed or acted upon too slowly, simply because they were seen by the wrong part of the company.