By Bernd Fischer / Dipl.-Kfm./ Managing Partner Digitalisation is bringing about numerous changes and opportunities. In order to make the most of these, however, challenges must also be recognised and mastered. One of these is corporate culture. Traditional organisational structures are often an obstacle and stand in the way of successful digitalisation. For the digital transformation, it is essential to break down the rigid structures that are often found in traditional corporate cultures. Many companies focus too much on the technological aspect and their IT department when it comes to digital transformation. However, digitalisation must primarily take place in the minds of the employees, the organisation and the corporate culture. Rigid adherence to established structures impairs successful management of the digital transformation. Digitalisation requires new standards. The inner attitude and the lived practice are decisive for a digital corporate culture. Because the digital world is very fast-moving and is full of unpredictable changes with enormous effects. In order to survive and ensure sustainable success, flexibility and adaptability are important prerequisites. An important keyword here is agility. The communication and decision-making channels of classic corporate cultures have to be changed significantly. Digital platforms enable the rapid exchange of documents. This allows teams to work together regardless of time and place, which simplifies and accelerates work processes.

How digital corporate cultures must be lived by employees and managers

In highly hierarchical companies, where all decisions are made at management level, employees’ own initiative and sense of responsibility are low. Valuable potential is wasted in the process. In an agile organisation, the focus is on working in autonomous teams. Employees are given much more freedom to make decisions and personal responsibility than before. An open feedback culture is also an essential part of the agile organisation. The team is encouraged to take risks and push their own ideas. By dealing positively with mistakes, employees can learn and develop further. The competitive thinking that is often so prevalent in traditional structures is also no longer appropriate in digital cultures. Instead, team spirit and collaborative working are encouraged. The freedom that is created by helping to shape the company and acting on one’s own responsibility holds enormous opportunities. Because they contribute to the motivation of employees and the development of their potential. Teams in companies that already implement a digital corporate culture are more satisfied and more successful. Digitalisation also places new demands on managers. Their role must change decisively and is to be seen much more as a coach instead of a decision-maker. Time-honoured qualities such as assertiveness are no longer sufficient in a digital leadership. An important task of agile leadership is to exemplify a digital corporate culture and to inspire employees to embrace it. In contrast to previous structures, leaders in agile cultures focus more on trust than on controlling the team. An exchange with the team at eye level is also of central importance.

The digital transformation in customer service

Customer service also needs to change significantly to adapt to the digital age. An agile corporate culture wants to get to know the customer better, inspire them and find the right offer for them. The positive customer experience must be in the foreground. Digitalisation offers many new opportunities to better understand the target group, to address them directly and to influence their buying behaviour. But the customers themselves and their behaviour have also changed greatly due to the digital transformation. Via mobile devices, information is available at any time, anywhere in the world. Even the purchase of products or services is no longer bound to time or place. The customer wants his request to be processed quickly. In order to meet the increased demands of the customer, real-time service is necessary. The customer experience can be optimised through the different sales and contact channels and new digital technologies. Solutions need to be continuously adapted to the needs of the customer.

Learning and vision

A digital culture also manifests itself in a constant willingness to learn and innovate. This requires a creativity-promoting environment in which new ideas and experiments, even with failures, are given a space. Because in digital corporate cultures, defeats are understood as important elements of the development process. Existing solutions and rules are regularly questioned and discarded if they do not bring the desired success. Vision must also not be neglected in a digital culture. This is because employees only approach unclear goals half-heartedly. However, if they recognise the advantages for themselves and the company, motivation and willingness to perform increase. Managers should therefore communicate a clear vision. Especially if the team is given the necessary freedom and trust, they are willing to drive the company in the desired direction.

Competent support in the transition to a digital corporate culture

Only through a suitable corporate culture can the digital transformation be successfully managed. Because only when digitalisation arrives in the culture of the company and is lived by the employees can its potential be fully utilised. F&P is at your side with a high level of expertise if you also want to adapt your corporate culture to the digital age. With an intelligent change management strategy, we ensure the necessary changes.

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