Digital transformation is dependent on engaged leaders

Issue 4 2023 Training & Education, Infrastructure

Humans – not technology – will pave the way to digital transformation success. Indeed, having a digitisation strategy in place is the starting point, but to truly activate a digital transformation programme, organisations need a strong leadership team that has acute self-awareness, and can positively contribute and direct their influence toward the people affected by change.

People managers are often uninvolved in the executive decisions of digital transformation strategies, sometimes only learning about organisational changes as these projects are being implemented, or worse – at the same time as the rest of the business. This leaves managers unable to support their people through the change because they do not fully understand the organisation’s vision, how the project contributes to that vision, or what the success of the project looks like, but, most importantly, how as leaders, they can contribute to the project’s success.

“Ineffective leadership affects employees’ ability to adapt to new technologies and processes, resulting in delayed adoption and a failed implementation, which has a quantifiable negative financial impact on business,” says Isabel Adams, People Enablement Director at AVeS Cyber International. In fact, a McKinsey report found that at least 70% of digital transformation projects fail due to employee resistance.

The need for self-awareness

To improve project outcomes, leaders need to be equipped with the skills and mind set to lead their organisations through uncertain, ambiguous, and sometimes volatile changes. Self-awareness has become a critical characteristic and a foundational requirement for effective leaders.

Self-awareness is understanding what type of leader you are, what leadership and communication styles your employees respond to, and how to adapt these to get employees motivated to embrace the changes that need to happen. It provides the basis for understanding your emotions, and how your conduct affects the people around you, allowing you to tap into your personal strengths and better manage relationships, to support and guide teams to the best possible outcomes.

By participating in a leadership programme that includes an Enneagram profiling assessment (an archetypal framework in personal development), leaders can identify the strengths and weaknesses of their personalities and through the exploration of their basic fears, motivators, passions, and temperaments can align their core strengths to business strategies and better lead their people through digital change.

“Our team at AVeS Cyber Security have used this powerful tool to improve communication, collaboration, and engagement through a clear understanding of our team member’s individual Enneagram types. We believe that it is important for managers to understand how their own style affects those around them. We have seen first-hand through our own experience and work with clients who have used our Leadership 4.0 programme, how developing self-awareness in leadership dramatically improves the success rate of ambitious digital transformation and change projects,” says Adams.

By using Enneagram to maximise collaboration and engagement, leaders can nurture the strengths of each personality type and limit the behaviours that may derail projects, while improving organisational performance and increasing project success rates and speed of adoption with healthier morale.

“Operationally focused leaders need to start putting people first to achieve the efficiencies and productivity improvements promised by digital transformation. By finding out how their leadership styles are enabling or thwarting the efforts and how they can use their strengths, leaders are better equipped to motivate and support their people and get the best out of them for more successful digital transformation outcomes,” concludes Adams.

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