Why digital capability is your secret weapon

This week we were joined by Isabel Massey, Global Digital Director for Marketing at Diageo, for an event looking at why digital capability is so important for marketing teams – and how to build it.

The power of digital capability

We believe that digital capability is the vital ingredient for long-term marketing success. Ambitious companies are growing their marketing people; how they think, what they do and how they do it. It is the people element of digital transformation. And it is vital.

Digital capability is the sum total of a team or organisation’s:

  • Mindset – how people think
  • Behaviours – default behaviours when it comes to work
  • Skills – what people know how to do
  • Experience – what people have done or what they have seen being done

So how do you build capability in your organisation?

Building digital capability at Diageo

We’ve been working with Isabel and her team at Diageo to build the digital capability of their 1,500 strong marketing team. The program has achieved fantastic levels of engagement and delivered tangible ROI, in terms of sales, within three months.

“It’s critical to think about your capability investment as you would any other part of your marketing budget. I want to have an immediate impact, as well as keeping an eye on the long term vision.” – Isabel Massey, Diageo

Isabel shared insights into all elements of the programme, including two milestone events – Digital Leaders, an event for a group of global change makers, and Future Makers, an event for the entire marketing community. One hundred percent of participants in the Digital Leaders programme wanted to be part of the change community to accelerate transformation. And 86% of Future Makers participants identified immediate actions to take in their roles.

Isabel shared her five top tips for an effective capability program:

  1. Set the right mindset: enable people to think beyond existing systems and processes.
  2. Ownership breeds buy-in: allow people to be part of the planning process to create collective commitment.
  3. Be experimental: To keep learners curious, mix familiar and surprising learning techniques.
  4. Senior level participation: involve senior management to build trust and incentives to shift behaviours and mindsets.
  5. Get local: use change makers to share their learnings and inspiration with their own  teams.

Two ways to approach capability

We have two key approaches to building digital capability. Inside out, or outside in. An inside out approach focuses on changing current mindsets and behaviours in your teams. This can start in select teams or groups and spread organisation-wide. For an outside in method you begin by changing the current ways of working – and consciously build capability as you do, focusing on mindset, behaviours and skills.

The importance of 70-20-10

Most digital skills training takes the form of e-learning or classroom based training. Yet this only accounts for 10% of the potential learning impact for your audience. To unlock the full potential of your team you need to address the full spectrum of learning. Some 20% comes from peer-to-peer conversations, as well as coaching and mentoring. The remaining 70% of learning impact is from on-the-job experience – and having the space to reflect on what you’ve learned in the process.

Starting the capability conversation

Building digital capability starts with understanding the current state of your digital capability – and where you want to get to. Here are four questions to help you begin a meaningful conversation about capability in your team:

Do we have the right mindset?  

Mindset is what we think and what we believe. How we look at the world has a huge impact on how we approach our roles.

What are our default behaviours?

The key is not to create a wish list of ideal behaviours, but to have a better understanding of the behaviours that dominate and, ultimately, make up your culture.

Do we have the skills we need?

Understand what you have and what you need – constantly keep this in focus.

Is there space for us to learn?

To build digital capability, you need to give your teams space and time to try new things – and the permission to fail.

Our digital maturity assessment tool, Sonar, is also a great place to start (try the individual version for free here).

If you would like to discuss how you can build digital capability in your organisation get in touch