Changing the culture

Allan and Liam weigh in on what it takes to make digital change within an organisation, common hurdles to transformation and ways to get things done and ultimately deliver. Scroll down for full transcription. 

Liam: I think it always comes back to, “Why do we need to do it?” “What's in it for me?” “How do I look good from it?” I think there's an element of, I know what today is. I can do what today is. What tomorrow is...is scary. I don't know it. I'm not that good at it, and I may not be the best at it anymore.

Allan: Yeah, I think the issue that I see is paying stakeholders, or people with the money investing into a digital program, at the executive level or otherwise. The reason why they want to transform is because it's not working. And so you're automatically inserting yourself into an environment that's relatively hostile. Almost self-selecting that kind of environment to insert a business into. And so then you really quickly show some value to these people and make sure they're getting what they need. That oftentimes, the transformation is so different to what they're used to receiving, reporting on, all the checks and balances they would normally apply to these kinds of things --their health checks that aren't there anymore. So you got a lot of resistance and sometimes irrational resistance to the kind of change that's happening.

So they don't understand why...they just know they need to change. They don't know what it is --and you have to be really cautious about how you take them on that journey and make sure you're there to hold their hand, and you're just stoic about the effect of the outcome and show material progress.

Because you're not going to fix things overnight. Every time the frustration is broken, you’ve got to fix it. You need to get things fixed in this amount of time, and they need you to fix delivery or they need you to fix product, or they need you to fix whatever it is. And it's a journey. Sometimes they don’t get that this is not something you do in two months or six months. It's a never ending journey. You'll be in a constant state of change from this point forwards, evolving all these practices. It's a huge mind shift from, I run a waterfall process. And, I have this labor, and I get this commercial report... and, and, and, and, and.

But the problem is like I said, the reason why transformation exists is because it's the whole process, the whole environment's not working. So oftentimes people that don't think they're gonna be transformed, they're just as in need to needing to go on that journey as well in terms of how they put information in, how they put money in, when they do those things, at what stages they receive feedback, and how to learn from the feedback and adapt how they work. It's not just talking about how technology or organization functions.

It's not just throw some information in, throw some money in and walk away, and the bread gets baked. The way a modern organization works today is very collaborative. There's a lot of people involved and there's dissemination of accountability all the way through the structure. But it's not a blind handoff.  A waterfall program, like I say. We perhaps put something in with some new information and have this really rigid process with a series of dependent steps, the feedback loops are much shorter. It is a very different mindset, and as soon as stakeholders want to fix this, and oftentimes they go, "Well I don't know why these things are happening to me, so why should I have to care about what's happening in technology?"