Influence, Persuade, Inspire

Over the last two years, the title of Digital Transformation Specialist has become more and more prevalent. There are now C-Suite roles that encompass this activity and the impetus for Digital Transformation is increasing day by day. Despite the noise and the chatter, there is still a real hiatus in successful projects being declaimed from the media and social platforms. Why is that? From my experience, it revolves around the need for emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence and the soft skills that are all too often hard to find.

How then do organisations actually get Digital Transformation done? Over the last few years, I have seen two distinct approaches: one that brings with it some success, the other not so much. The first approach offers an almost total focus on the planning and the delivery process, with little regard for the people required to deliver it, let alone engagement around their motives to deliver it. The second places the people at the heart of the planning and the process. The teams, therefore, have a level of commitment and pride to the quality of the output, thus impacting the efficiency and standard of deliverables.

The only real difference is the level with which the organisation allows their staff to influence, persuade and inspire on all things digital across all aspects of the organisation they touch.

“The major challenge for most companies is that digital is

everyone and no-one’s responsibility.”

What is interesting to me is that most of us get very little, if any, formal training on how to influence, persuade and inspire our colleagues, peer groups and indeed bosses. There are of course some unique characters that are naturals, who ooze charisma, who can “talk the legs off a donkey and then convince it to walk again” to quote the inestimable and sadly missed Douglas Adams. They are the exception rather than the rule though.

Successful digital transformation projects are reliant upon a set of softer more fundamental skills that are native to us all, but that are stressed and stretched when it comes to day-to-day use, never mind in such a dynamic and fast-paced initiative as driving digital transformation across an organisation.

This is why One Pebble has developed its IPI Development courses that help create organisational Digital Ambassadors. They assist in the delivery of the digital roadmaps we create, by up-skilling those responsible for the delivery of the roadmap in the softer influence, persuade and inspire (IPI) skills they need to get the whole organisation moving in the right direction. The staff involved in delivering the roadmap usually have no command and control authority (such as a line manager) and they are often being asked to operate well beyond their area of authority. This means they need to affect change through their ability to get things done without instructing change directly.

I often talk about these “Digital Ambassadors” operating in the white space that surrounds the traditional operating models of most organisations. That white space is a “boss-less, authority vacuum” where only the influencers and persuaders make progress.

Digital in 2019 touches pretty much every aspect of every type of organisation from sales and marketing to finance, admin and HR to day to day operations.

It is everyone’s responsibility but often no-one’s day job.

Herein lies every C-Suite’s challenge. They know they need to digitally transform, they know they need to do it now and do it quickly. They also know how to find out what to do – they hire in a company like One Pebble to develop and deliver the roadmap, business case and organisational reports (something we’ve done many times, to great effect). Where the C-Suite then traditionally struggled is implementing it. That’s where the motivation to develop our courses came from. I see this missing link cropping up repeatedly when working with businesses. Whilst we provide guidance and outline activity, they needed that additional shift in mindset and culture to really push things through. So, leveraging my leadership development background, One Pebbles team of experienced consultants came up with our I.P.I. courses, which aim to up-skill the team, challenging them through experiential learning and interactive workshops all driven by roadmap outcomes.

“Truly digitally-able organisations empower their people.

Creating a collaborative workforce rather than siloed activity.”

If you are going to invest in the roadmap, commit to investing in up-skilling your people to be able to influence, persuade and inspire. That, aligned with the objectives of your roadmap, will have a much greater chance of success than if the roadmap and it’s attendant plan are deployed in isolation.

Digital is changing behaviours and expectations of all your stakeholders (audiences and staff members, partners and directors).

You need to look at the culture of your business and how you embrace this change for the positive. If you fail to do so, you will fail to drive true digital success.

Published by One Pebble Consulting

I am a seasoned digital professional with over 20 years of expertise at my disposal. I have lead transformational change programmes across three major digital agencies and have spent the last three years leading digital strategy adn roadmapping projects for clients as diverse as EDF Energy, National Theatre Scotland, Affinity for Business and Falkirk Community Trust. A board Trustee of Turning Point Scotland I am passionate about how digital can transform lives.

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