How Company Culture Drives Digital Transformation And Business Adaptability

I don’t think companies put enough stock in their cultures.

Company culture is like an employee’s attitude; it will make or break you. Your company’s culture is a strong determining factor in its adaptability. We’ve established that the only constants in the future of business are change, agility, and the ability to pivot in response to market shifts—and that technology is essential to the success of a company.

Your organizational attitude is marked by your business’s aptitude to change. Are you prepared for the future?

Stress Test Your Organization

The best way to see where your company stands is to test the waters. Digital transformation by its very nature scares enterprises. It goes against the grain of management methods we’ve been practicing for centuries, as power shifts from top-down to peer-to-peer. The sharing of information is now more organic, and expertise develops naturally.

You might have a problem if you think decision-making power still belongs in the C-suite. We’re no longer at the point where top-down processes mean efficiency. The companies embracing digital transformation and eschewing traditional company roles are best poised to adapt. The risk-averse find themselves vulnerable in the face of change. You should do a mental inventory, as the following characteristics are common among companies with undesirable cultures:

  • A slow decision-making process. Whether they’re due to internal politics or a lack of efficient communication, stalled decisions produce a vulnerable company.
  • An inability to show value. When your return on investment (ROI) calculations are lacking, your C-suite, stakeholders, and investors lose faith in the organization as a whole.
  • Tunnel vision. When your company invests too much in one aspect of its business—technology, for example—it loses opportunities to achieve meaningful change.
  • Fear. Senior-level managers may fear they’re losing control of basic company functions because of digital transformation.

Is your organization guilty of any of these weak spots? If confronted by a large change, which one would affect your business most?

Set A Business Adaptability Goal

Once you’ve assessed your weak spots, formally begin your journey to business agility by setting an adaptability goal. Your company culture is as important as—if not more important than—its strategy. A toxic culture will keep your business from achieving its goals in a time frame appropriate for today’s competitive marketplace. Fortunately, you can correct your weak spots if you address them in the right ways:

  • Eliminate political infighting with a clear sense of vision and shared purpose. Your organization, from the C-suite down to every associate, should be moving in the same direction. Shared values create streamlined business processes. I’m a firm believer in the notion that a business is only as good as its people.
  • Freedom trumps fear. When people feel free to make their own decisions, good things happen. They prioritize effectively and innovate. Don’t let fear of losing control hold your company back from exciting new possibilities.
  • Be responsive to outside influences. Living under a company umbrella is a surefire way to lose track of your ROI and disappoint your shareholders. Take stock of the world around you and invest in new technologies strategically.
  • Distribute your decision-making. A sense of autonomy goes a long way to keeping employees productive. Centralized decision-making is an outdated mode of thinking—let those on the frontlines of customer engagement have their say in what works.

The common thread in all of these solutions is adaptability requires involvement from every level of the enterprise. Your organization can’t be adaptable without the help of the entire organization. Adaptability, when combined with execution, is what creates business agility and the ability to keep pace with today’s competitive marketplace.

A version of this was first posted on Forbes.