Why capability is core: notes from the dinner debate

Last week we were joined by an invited group of senior marketing leaders to discuss the opportunity and power of building digital capability to drive digital transformation. Attendees from brands including John Lewis, Schroders and Which? shared their views on the challenges faced within their organisations.

Language is important

To achieve transformative goals within an organisation you need a common language. Removing complexity is key. Make sure that you can describe any initiative, and where you want to get to, in plain English. Do not allow the words you’re using to alienate stakeholders or the wider organisation.

A digital mindset is an experimental mindset

Digital transformation isn’t an end state. It is an ever evolving, adaptive way of working. Focus on your customers’ problems and work out how to address them. Get started – then refine. Be open and collaborative. No single individual has all of the answers.

Becoming comfortable with uncertainty is the only way to prepare for the challenges ahead.

Leaders need to be bold

Senior leaders must have a fundamental understanding of the digital challenge, of the context businesses now operate in. Delegating digital to one person, or even a department just doesn’t work. New, digitally savvy recruits can quickly adopt ineffective ways of working by emulating their senior colleagues.

A quarter isn’t long enough

The short-term focus that comes with shareholder revenue pressure is challenging for transformation. Organisations with a longer-term view often outperform those focused on ninety day cycles. Instigating – and succeeding at – programmes of this scale takes brave, bold leadership.

Leaders should ask themselves how they’d like to be remembered by the organisation – have they led real, measurable change? Or have they been merely managing the status quo before moving on?

The customer is in charge

A digital mindset is a customer-focused mindset. Connecting with your customers has always been the priority, it’s just the how that has changed. Customers attitudes to your brand are now shaped by, and compared to, every other experience they have. You’re not just competing within your industry – you’re competing with the experience of Instagram, of Uber.

The power of capability

We believe that digital transformation is not just about digital. And it’s not about transformation to an end goal. Digital transformation is about continually adapting to changing customer expectations. Capability programmes that develop and embed mindset, and focus on creating a better employee experience can be a powerful lever for transformation and growth.

The books that inspired the debate

Get in touch to talk to us about your transformation challenges.