What you should do if ‘comfort’ is killing your digital transition

Change is one of the most difficult things to implement in a large business but ignoring it can face you with even bigger problems and difficulties. One of the biggest obstacles for change is people not wanting to leave their comfort zones and thinking with the mentality of “if it does the job, it doesn’t need changing.” This is a dangerous way of thinking, which stunts innovation and progression in your business, and it is also entirely false.

Just because something does the job, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good and it can sometimes mean that it’s actually holding you back. If everyone thought like that we would still be using dial-up internet, booking holidays on Teletext, restricted to using your phone in one room because of the large curly cables, going to the toilet in your freezing cold garden, and saving all your work on a floppy disk.

There is nothing wrong with these things but there are definitely better methods, which in the long run make everyone’s life easier and more enjoyable.

Floppy disk with world wide web written on it

 

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According to research by Sloan, 63% of executives revealed that the pace of technology change in their organization was too slow. In the same report, the most frequently cited obstacle to digital transformation was “a lack of urgency.” This brings us to our first tip for overcoming the comfort zone in your business:

Create a sense of urgency!

A man pointing to his watch saying tick tock

You need to make it abundantly clear that if you don’t adopt the new digital process or system then your business will fail! One of the reasons people feel that their resistance is justified is because they think digital transformation is a luxury, not a necessity. You need to switch this way of thinking, by proving to them that it is, in fact, necessary to digitally transform your business. Below are a few examples of companies whose digital transformation leap helped them to become more successful and relevant.

New York Times – In the States, newspaper circulation during weekdays has shrunk from nearly 60 million in 1994 to 35 million for combined print and digital circulation today. The New York Times were becoming increasingly aware of this, so decided to implement a subscription for their online content. This meant they could still deliver quality content, which they had been delivering before in print. By doing this they bought in almost $500 million just in digital revenue. Moral of the story: The newspaper did the job but it wasn’t doing it in time with the new digital age. 

Virgin Media – They noticed that paper was slowing their business operations down and the time wasted looking for guides and manuals, and writing out forms and checklists was a huge drain on productivity. They deployed a digital operations platform to eliminate paper, cut costs, speed up, and improve manageability. They saw the time it took to do workplace checklists reduced by 80%, an increase of 7.4% in their knowledge ratings from customers in just three months, along with a 2.2% average increase in sales month-over-month. It also meant they had 20% more space for sales opportunities. Moral of the story: Paper did the job but it wasn’t doing the job fast enough to keep up with the pace of customer demand.  

Caterpillar – They were noticing an issue with breakdowns and downtime of their machinery. In order to progress, they needed to find a solution which would stop breakdowns in their tracks. They deployed predictive diagnostic tools which took all of the data from the bulldozers and hydraulic shovels and turned it into meaningful information. This helped their customers catch potential maintenance issues before breakdowns could occur. Moral of the story: Their machinery did the job…until it couldn’t do the job anymore, they needed a digital solution to keep up with the pace and significantly reduce time lost from broken machinery. 

Tips:

  • You need to give solid reasons and facts as to why the problems which you want to address are causing your business to fail and fall behind the competition.
  • Tell them about examples of companies who NEEDED digital transformation to succeed or even survive.
  • Demonstrate to them how well competitors are using technology, this will make them worry about losing market share to their rivals.

Let them know what they are missing out on

There is a famous quote from Henry Ford which said:

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said, faster horses."

People resist change because they don’t know what they are missing out on. Why do you think companies offer free trials and samples? They are giving potential customers a taste of what they could have and making them realise what they are missing out on, ‘ignorance is bliss’ is not a motto you want your company to live by. Your colleagues may not know what they are missing out on, but you do, so it’s your job to teach and educate them.

Tips:

  • Get them to try out the product and learn about it. Your leaders can’t possibly know what they are missing out on or champion your solution until they use it and see the benefits for themselves.
  • Create your own learning material, which should include your colleague’s biggest frustrations, alongside the way the digital system solves them.
  • Find examples of other people or competitors who do the same jobs but in half the time.

Make their job harder

This one sounds worse than it is but hear us out! The whole point of digitally transforming your business is to make things easier and more efficient for your employees AND your customers. This means employees can do double the work with no more effort required than what they already do. You shouldn’t be happy with your employees doing half the amount of work than they could be doing if they used your new digital solution! The only way you can make them realise this is by ramping up their targets and goals and speeding things up.

A man cycling really fast with a doughnut hanging in front of him

Tip: To make them realise they need to change their way of doing things you need to ramp up the pace and your expectations. For example, the time you give your managers to carry out audits may be 2 hours because of the sheer volume which needs to be done. However, the new digital solution you have found promises to cut this time in half, tell your managers they now have just an hour to do the job. You can bet that the majority of them will come back to you saying that is impossible, then is your chance to tell them why they need to digitally transform.

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Written by Hayley Lloyd

Published 31st January 2019