Digital Transformation, Modern Workplace, Digital Workplace etc. There are so many terms and definitions about this out there, but all of them have one thing in common.

They are all about a VISION!

“Mobile-first, cloud-first” – February 4, 2014

“Listen more, talk less and be decisive when the time comes” – September 30, 2015

“Help professionals transform how they work, realize new career opportunities and connect in new ways” – December 8, 2016

“I like to think that the C in CEO stands for culture” – September 26, 2017

“We are all in on Open-Source” – June 4, 2018

“If you want to be cool, go work somewhere else. If you want to join a company committed to making others cool, join Microsoft” – July 18, 2018

All these quotes are from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and all of them have something to do with a vision, with a mindset. As of today CEO, Satya Nadella / Microsoft acquired over 50 companies helping to pave the way to his / their vision. If you haven’t read his book, I highly recommend to get a copy of Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone

With this series, I will share my ideas and thoughts about Digital Transformation and what is important from my point of view. Later in this series we will focus more on Office 365 and Microsoft 365 as it is a great way for fulfilling the path to digital transformation. If you want to start becoming a Office 365 Master check my articles about that or check my most ridiculous article on How to build a crazy survey.

Start with yourself

What is most important for you? Technology? Money? Work? Your career?

For me, it is: culture, empathy, appreciation and people

If you think you are always right, your vision is the only truth and that you only need resources instead of people, you are wrong. It is more important than ever that you understand the people, that you listen to them, that you care about their lives and that you respect them. Especially with the new “young” people working with you.

They want to work with your company, not at or for your company.

Digital Culture

Create a digital culture. Sounds easy, I know. It is not!

  • Baby Boomers | mid 1940s to 1964
  • Generation X | mid 1960s to 1980s
  • Millennials | mid 1990s to early 2000s
  • Generation Z | mid 2000s

All these people need to think digital to make your digital transformation a success.

Working Styles

traditional working style likes the network share, they like to communicate face to face, phone or mail and they prefer a desktop application over web interfaces.

A mixed modern working style likes a visually appealing web page as their information hub, they like to have a defined communication flow but little interaction via the tools.

The modern working style is based on communication formats such as blog, streams and landing pages that serve specific communicative functions. They like to consume news at any time, even if they are not in the office. This style likes to have the capabilities to access content in office, while traveling or even in their private time.

Please note, that the above definition is the perspective from me and is not scientific research.

Get in touch with people from those generations. Listen to them and let them explain what they love and what they hate. Your digital transformation needs everybody. Not only senior management. You need people which are in your company for 5 months as well as those with 5 years of experience working in your company. You need people not only from your HQ, you need insights from all your subsidiaries. Only if you have combined the perspective from everybody, your digital transformation is for everybody.

Empathy and appreciation

Create a open feedback environment. From my perspective, feedback will become a crucial part in every company. Millenials and the Generation Z are in need of more feedback on their work than Baby Boomers and the Generation X. An annual appraisal is just not modern anymore.

Talk with your colleagues more about their future, not once or twice a year. Go with them on a weekend trip. Not everything has to be work related. Engage with them as friends. For me as a German especially the words “Staff”, “Employee” of “Staff member” is the first step into the wrong direction. It just sounds like “I am the manager, you are my resource”.

A top-down working approach is just “old-school”. Only with your colleagues you can ride the icy train and plow through rough times!

Icy Train
Icy Train plowing through rough times

An article without a GIF is just not funny, right? 🙂

Appreciate the person and say it to your colleague. It is something they probably don’t hear too often. Build with them their future and use the tools which help you on your road to the digital transformation. If your colleagues feel that you care about them, they are more willing to use new tools and it get’s easier to understand why it is the right direction.

People

Everybody is different, no news there, but do you know how different?

Showing empathy to a culture you are not familiar with is even more crucial, but also pretty challenging. For me as German, it is sometimes hard to understand that people are not that focused to be in a meeting on-time, are precise and that much detail-oriented. I have to say, that I am also pretty much the German stereotype, when talking about that.

Ask your colleagues what you can do better?! They probably don’t tell you their honest opinion first, but this is important for you. Your colleagues should be the people opening your eyes when you are not able to do it yourself!

Go out and have lunch together, or have a beer with your colleagues. The more friendship they feel, the more they will tell you the truth.

The best leaders are humble, treat you as a person and show your respect. Create a vision together with your colleagues. At least try! I think you will be impressed what certain people in your organization could help you building and developing such a thing!

Summary

Get out of your comfort zone! Do the things you wish your colleagues do. Be a role model for digital transformation by starting building a digital culture and mindset!

Comfort zone
Get out of your comfort zone

This is part 1 of the journey to digital transformation. The whole series is a mix between my perspective on leadership, technology and how to combine these things to make your journey a success!

Stay tuned for part 2 and follow me on Twitter to get notified when the next part is online!

If you are interested in a podcast about these things, please let me know on Twitter. I think on your commute to work or whenever you have time, a short podcast could get you excited and inspire you!

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