digital culture

Building a Digital Culture

Digital technologies can make corporations agile and smarter with an improved outcome. Executives recognize the promise of digital, yet many digital transformations initiatives fail. What organizations need to match up to the world’s best corporate cultures is “digital acceleration”. What does this mean? Simply put, every organization needs to revamp their culture and mindsets to enhance their ways of doing business.

Digital acceleration does not happen overnight and certainly not by swishing a magic wand. The key elements that comprise of digital acceleration are META (Mobilizing, Executing and Transforming with Agility). Most C-level Officers knowingly tap into their strategies first. The next step involves budgeting for all structural changes that are required like reorganizations, process re-engineering, systems installations and configurations. With all these changes in place, the top officials feel certain about digital acceleration. But a recent study by Forbes reveals that 84% of digital transformation efforts by companies tank because of one major barrier, culture. If the work culture has a passive and rigid attitude, digital acceleration is a faraway dream.

Levels of Digital Acceleration

Digital acceleration is not a wish granted by a genie. It has its own levels that a company needs to go around to finally be able to bring the big digital transformation. There are five such levels of digital acceleration.

1.            Digitally embarking: Initial efforts with digital transformation

2.            Digitally evolving:  Getting familiar with the changes

3.            Digitally steady: Getting stable with digitizing the business

4.            Digitally advancing: Making necessary upgrades in the digital sphere of the organization

5.            Digitally accelerating: Successfully executing the digital transformation

META Culture

Companies that are able to excel in all four elements of META will be well positioned to harness digital technologies to achieve sustained business impact.

• Mobilize

History is evidence to the fact that whenever any revolution has excelled, its obligation is backed by a mass engagement. In companies, employees need to come together to back the digital transformations initiative. Senior managers must communicate the added benefits of acquiring the digital incentives which will prove to be beneficial for the employees.

GM, the automaker brand which was bailed upon by the US government due to financial crisis, decided to upgrade their strategy into technological interventions like electric and autonomous driving technologies and ride sharing. They are focused on becoming the next breakthrough in the auto-making sector with their technologies and their employees are thrilled to be competing against leading innovative car makers.

• Execute

Digital transformations strengthen work effectiveness and boost efficiency. When you have the aid of sound tech support, what would traditionally be a complex process can be simplified very easily.

The Weather Channel for instance struggled until it sought to data insights. It took to cloud-based infrastructure and augmented data sets. The crowdsourced micro-climate data helped TWC reach the kind of reputation it enjoys now.


The extra leap that the organization needs to take to manifest technological changes must go beyond just the core business. When the organization does not fear changes and innovations, digital transformations are bound to set in.

Cisco for example staged an Emerging Solutions council of three executives who worked together just so that internal innovations get a platform. Intrapreneurs are as crucial as an entrepreneur. Even though the owner of the company is one, their ideas are further extended and cultured by these Intrapreneurs who lie within the workforce of the company.


A company must align all their strategies in line with digital success. A matured mentality of trial and learning needs to be developed. Adaptability, resilience, openness, and flexibility all add to a supportive environment in the organization which will embrace technological changes.

Most of it ultimately boils down to what is the mentality that the organization and its people hold. Culture in that sense plays a key role. A cultural change is not easy to accept but can be done so by a few means.

Tactics to Accelerate Cultural Change

Align with purposeful leadership

The C-level executives need to absorb the culture of the organization. When the seniors are hopeful and welcoming of changes, they shadow the influence over their subordinates. For the admission of new technological additions, a rationale has to be developed among the workforce. A senior official who can align the purpose and need of such additions can drive the change and develop a digital culture.

Initiating personal change

Only when words are put to action one is taken seriously. Every senior member needs to make changes for digital acceleration. When the extended team witnesses such a change in the mindset of their superiors, they are inspired to adopt the same. More of insight-based learning needs to be propelled in the organization which will only happen in a top-down approach.

Pushing brand engagement

Once the top-level executives are convinced and aware of how important it is to build a digital culture, this thought needs to trickle down and diffuse. This is where testimonials and group discussions play a role as motivators.

Keep a sustainable plan

The higher authorities must ensure means which will keep the budding cultural change in the digital sphere afloat. Companies must resort to institutional practices, performance drivers and systems to run the desired culture.

The initial stages of digital transformation are always clouded but with every advanced stage, it is the responsibility of every individual and the management to keep the mindset evolving. What is digital transformation today, may not be so tomorrow. Organizations need to develop this mindset which can aid in pushing the envelope for further digital acceleration.

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