In the movie Back to the Future, Marty McFly is accidentally transported back in time when life was different, while the movie Blast from the Past saw Brendan Fraser’s character move forward 35 years into the future. If you could time travel, where do you want to be and what would you have done differently?
Since 2010, organisations have been reshuffling their businesses backed by technology. Grab redefined the meaning of mobility while WeWorks reimagined office spaces. In retrospect, this was unheard of in early 2000. Yet, new technologies have given way to new business models, levelling the playing field for everyone involved. The pandemic may have been an uninvited guest in our lives, but it has accelerated the digital transformation journey for most organizations.
A critical question that all organizations ask themselves is – do I have the people with the right digital mindsets for a successful digital transformation? Before diving into how to measure a digital mindset, let us first understand what it means to have a digital mindset and how to leverage it effectively. Let’s get started.
What Does It Mean by Having a Digital Mindset?
Gone are the days when an organisation decides on a strategy and executes it over the next five years or so. Today, every part of a business is subject to new expectations, threats, competitors, channels, and opportunities. Companies such as Grab, Uber, and Airbnb did not exist before the year 2000 but are now considered multi-billion dollar poster children for digital disruption. How did they do it? By adopting a digital mindset.
Embracing a digital mindset is not just about becoming an expert in all things digital. It is about having a set of attitudes, behaviours, and beliefs that influence curiosity toward disruptive digital technology within an organisation. It is about working in an environment where both employers and employees are comfortable working with digital technologies and applying them to solve problems and drive growth. While there are many definitions, let’s keep this simple and define it as follows:
- Adaptive – responding well to change and disruption
- Growth-oriented – being intellectually curious and committed to continuous learning
- Receptive to failure – viewing failure as a learning opportunity
- Ecosystem focus – prioritizing the well-being of the entire multi organisational system and not just the company
Let us share with you a famous analogy known as The Pike Syndrome. Have you ever wondered why some organisations are successful while others are not? This syndrome is based on a classic experiment conducted in 1873 by German zoologist Dr Karl Mobius. A large pike and small bait fish were placed in a large tank with a heavy glass pane separating the two. Seeing the fish prompted the pike to charge at them.
But each time it did so, it crashed violently into the glass. Several painful attempts later, the pike gave up. But when the glass pane was removed, the pike and its prey peacefully shared the tank. The pike learned that pursuing the fish caused a lot of pain. Based on the experiment, four lessons can be learned from the experiment:
Most of us are not much different from the pike, allowing self-limiting beliefs, past failures, or perceived shortcomings to hold us back from new efforts. When confronted with such drastic transformation, organisations may find it difficult to change if the culture is built around silos. Hence, building a culture for successful adoption requires everyone in the organisation to work together openly and transparently.
Cultivating a Digital Mindset
Efficiency in the digital age is about seamlessly bringing people and technology together. Not to mention how increasingly interconnected the world is becoming today but not all of us know how to make the most of it. So, how do we achieve this? KNOLSKAPE, an experiential learning company that delivers digital transformation solutions, may have an idea:
A. Build a vision for digital transformation
This stage requires leaders to create and execute a vision that focuses on change and agility while being able to lead the organization through the era of digital disruption.
B. Practise employee empowerment
Empower employees to experiment with new ideas and remain relevant in their roles, the business and industry, as well as the organizational structure and culture.
C. Simplify the digital execution
Get rid of antiquated processes that hinder growth and agility, while developing the digital culture, capabilities, and mindsets for executing strategies to deliver results.
D. Cultivate the right skills
Organizations need to understand the skills required for success in the digital age and redefine strategies and business models to respond to opportunities presented by digital disruption.
E. Assess the digital readiness of the workforce
Traditional reporting structures and rigid hierarchies restrict autonomy and innovation and should be replaced with new models that assess your company for digital awareness, readiness, and maturity.
Assessing a digital mindset
Technology is drastically shifting beyond our personal lives and the emergence of new digital technologies is reshaping the way organizations transform themselves. From the digitization of products and services to the way business processes are carried out, the transformation of companies is no longer a question of what if, but rather a question of how should we do it.
Talent strategy requires an understanding of what your organization is trying to achieve in the next few years. A good measurement of a digitally ready workforce is via the key competencies in skills and roles.
According to KNOLSKAPE’s Digital Blur concept, there are four types of personas that can thrive in today’s digital environment:
Someone who operates with a collaborative and sharing mindset, while focusing on leadership without authority using influence as the main currency. A networked leader is defined by their:
- Fluid mindset
- Organizational dexterity
- Social Intelligence
- Systems thinking
Someone who finds a way to integrate data and intuition to hone decision-making, while driving critical thinking in the team. A sense-making leader is defined by their:
- Insights-driven mindset
- Computational thinking
- Critical thinking and decision making
Someone who projects an abundance mindset to drive exponential growth, while balancing desirability, viability, and feasibility to create winning experiences, and unlock innovation in the team by being inclusive, process-oriented, and taking smart risks. A design leader is defined by:
- Exponential mindset
- Innovative solutions
- Being inclusive
- Calculated risk-taking
Accendo’s TalentPulse is home to over 3,000 talent and job profiles that organizations can choose from to define and benchmark talent for organizations. Each proficiency level is attached to a particular skill in TalentPulse’s framework, from basic work performance to expert capabilities. Companies can also manage talent and role customization easily on TalentPulse. Transform the roles based on what the business needs and optimize them by configuring and adjusting the skills and competencies where necessary.
Creating a job description and analyzing the technical skills and qualifications are only a “glass half full”. The other half comes with the business direction, assessing candidates, and turning potential candidates into confirmed employees.
Conducting the Talent Assessments
Creating a macro view of your talent assessment strategy can provide you with the insights and data on how to build an agile workforce. Once you have your talent assessment processes in place, you can identify the ability of your potential talent. This involves a combination of talent assessment methods, including psychometric, cognitive, and behavioural assessments.
The areas of focus in Accendo’s TalentPulse talent assessment framework are leadership, agility, and cultural fit.
Organizations can use these assessments to evaluate candidates’ leadership potential, their adaptability, learning capabilities, and their cultural impact based on the alignment of values, beliefs, and behaviors within the organization. Organizations can also use these assessments to study a candidate’s ability in the handling of data and insights, digital communication, virtual collaboration, strategic solutions, a coaching mindset, and relevant business acumen.
Interpreting Reports in the Digital Age
So, how do you assess whether your current workforce fits any of the desired personas? A digital awareness assessment can assist with that. This assessment method structures and provides an overview of where an employee stands in terms of awareness of digital trends and technologies, strength areas, and areas that need focus.
The digital awareness assessment will generate a comprehensive and detailed report of which persona your employee falls under. In the report, two types of texts can be found:
- Definition, which represents the standard description
- About you, which represents score dependent description
The scores found in this section follow a 1-5 rating, with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest, and are displayed using colour ranges (interpreted as below):
An example of a detailed persona report will look something like this:
The report also shows the highest and lowest competency scores for employees who fall within the personas, giving the company an understanding of their strengths and development areas.
Digitally-empowered organizations are already tapping into today’s wired job markets for talent, competitive opportunities, and easily accessible online recruitment tools. The labour market is becoming more fluid than ever and companies cannot afford to sit on the sidelines. Therefore, it would be requisite for modern companies to use all available digital software to attract, assess, and retain current and new talent.
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