Gartner: Digital Business Requires ‘Growth Mindset,’ Not Just Technology

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Too many organizations ignore the human aspects of digital transformation when they begin to add or enhance their technology, the research firm Gartner says. In order to succeed, technology changes must be backed up by corresponding cultural shifts. Without those, the entire digital initiative is put at risk.

Change Management ButtonThis is an especially important point to consider as HR technology continues to expand its role in companies of all sizes.

“For any transformation to be successful, people need to buy into your vision,” observes Gartner Research Analyst Aashish Gupta. Business leaders have to pay as much attention to the cultural aspects of the transition as they do to the technical, “because culture will form the backbone of all change initiatives for their digital business transformation.” If employees aren’t encouraged, and enabled, to align their approach with new technology, the entire business transformation could be detailed, he says.

To succeed, Gupta says, employers must understand the nuances involved in attracting and retaining talent whose values and mindsets sync up with its mission and culture. Employers should maintain a “psychologically safe team environment within a growth mindset organizational culture.” That means team members must feel safe when they ask for help, admit mistakes or express concerns that management or colleagues may not want to hear.

To begin shifting the workforce’s mindset, Gupta recommends taking four steps:

  1. Create a compelling vision that can inspire and motivate desire for the change. Everybody should understand that a “growth mindset” needs people to be comfortable with the speed of today’s–and the future’s–digital era. “They must be willing to make quick and risky bets instead of slow and safe bets,” Gupta says. To adopt a product mindset, people have to “own what they create” and take full responsibility for its success and failure.”
  2. Define key behavioral attributes that reflect the intended mindset change. These attributes can be individual accomplishments that contribute to the team’s, business’s or customer’s success, as well as a willingness to take on more projects or acquire new skills.
  3. HR should be involved in implementation to ensure that performance metrics and descriptions of roles and responsibilities are updated to include these new attributes. “Acceptance will happen only if the change is visible throughout the organization,” Gupta says. “You should incentivize people to share knowledge or learn new skills.”
  4. Wait and Measure: Allow some time for the changes to percolate, then continuously measure the changes through anonymous surveys (and, we’d add, other means that are becoming available). For example, Gupta says, you can ask workers if they understand the company’s messaging around culture, if they believe leaders are practicing what’s being preached, or if they see their colleagues taking the initiative seriously.

It’s an exercise in which patience is a virtue. “Fostering a growth mindset culture that requires behavior changes among your staff takes time,” Gupta observes. In addition, he notes that cultural change requires significant investment. While the reward can be considerable, “organizations need a way to measure the value that investment is delivering.”

Image Copyright: Le Moal Olivier

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