Heidrick & Struggles: Building A Digital Culture

Executives widely acknowledge the promise of digital, yet the majority of digital transformations fail—and not just because of challenges with adopting new technologies or finding the right know-how. How people work together to transform the organization is critical.

Indeed, companies with ambitious digital aspirations are often hobbled by attributes such as resistance to change, lack of knowledge sharing, and risk aversion. These behaviors can impede change in any situation, but they are especially harmful to digital transformations, given the pace of technological advances. Therefore, unlocking an organization’s full potential requires a shift in mind-set to embrace the speed and agility made possible by digital technologies. In the firm's experience, organizations succeed best with digital transformations when they match any investments in technology with a commitment to reshape the culture.

Recent research Heidrick & Struggles has conducted, however, indicates just how badly companies are faltering. They assessed 12 factors central to digital transformation that are also part of our larger framework for accelerating corporate performance, which we summarize as the ability to mobilize, execute, and transform with agility, or META. Their initial research found that companies are particularly trailing on the factors related to culture. For example, having an adaptive culture—critical to enabling a two-speed organization that can effectively digitize the current business while incubating digital innovations for the future—was rated by executives as second lowest among all 12 factors.

How should companies address their cultural weaknesses to unlock the promise of digital? By starting with an understanding of where their company falls along the journey to digital acceleration, executives can determine in which areas they should invest time and resources—and how—at each stage to build a fully digital culture. Companies can follow a proven culture-shaping process to cultivate a more digitally innovative organization, with a workforce that can thrive under the tension of being a two-speed business continually reinventing itself.

Here are a few of the topics addressed in this white paper:

  • 5 levels of digital acceleration
  • 12 META factors for digital acceleration
  • The jaws of culture
  • 4 tactics to accelerate culture change
  • Aligning digital maturity and culture shaping

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