Managing, Leading & Personal Effectiveness

Why should you learn about digital transformation?

Jill Shepherd explains that we're all living through the digital revolution and the best thing we can do for our careers and organisations is to start talking about it, figure out how we fit in and learn more about it.

As my colleague Tony Blue states, digital transformation can feel scary, exciting and very fast. It can be easy to assume you will understand it as you go, like picking up a coffee or lunch on the move, or get so lost in the idea that you cannot face engaging that deeply with it – life is busy enough already.

Yet we know several things that are relevant here:

Sharing vulnerability can be helpful. If we all pretend we are all fine with it all, then we will be less productive, creative and generative. Put simply, we will make far less value out of digital transformation if we do not show our emotions. It will run away from us rather than be a part of us in ways we are content with.

Digital transformation is a journey. Perhaps we should talk far more about digital maturity as we know that the more digital initiatives, the better... and the more that involve people, the better.

Without engaging, you can become more scared that tech will take your job away. Learning about the digital revolution and leading in the digital age can help you to embrace how it often can lead to upskilling opportunities that take the boring part of your job out. It can make recruitment and people management more inclusive. It can make hybrid working work for you. It can make you more prepared to take informed personal decisions and your staff make more informed decisions.

Learning about digital transformation have several components

1. Practising sharing vulnerabilities to work out your digital transformation persona. Your persona might include how you adopt new technologies designed to improve your personal digital productivity, from MS Teams and Miro to using MS Power Suite's automation capabilities to take care of the more boring parts of your daily job. It might also be the role you play in product teams where team members might include deep technical specialists alongside those who understand the business from different functional areas (digital marketing, operations, sales and so on).

2. Appreciating how different models of digital transformation can be used by you to understand digital transformation as it unfolds in your organisation. There are many models – comparing and contrasting them can help you make sense of where your organisation stands. It helps you work out what digital initiatives to get involved in and how they might work.

3. Getting your head around tech. Experiencing tech can demystify it. It can help you understand how to open up and have productive conversations with technical specialists. Now, of course, tech moves on, so you need to understand how much you need to know. If you are a tech specialist, you obviously need to know your stuff and be updated – constant upskilling is the name of the day. If you are switching careers, then upskilling is key in gaining new roles in digital transformation where there is a dearth of talent. If you are not, then you need to feel it is not that difficult to get your head around how it can add value to the business. You need to be able to express what added value you think is missing from your business and explore how tech can help extract that value. 

Who gains from learning to embrace digital transformation?


Learning with others who have different types and lengths of experience makes the experience richer. At QA, we like and promote that clients learn about digital transformation and bring employees together from a range of backgrounds. The variety and diversity make the learning more impactful. The learning creates new networks.  

The impact is that back in the workplace, people share ideas, share emotions about embracing digital transformation – make new connections and start initiatives that have the right team behind them to extract the value from the digital technology. People feel they can manage better with the technology available by adopting it earlier and maximising its functionality quicker. People feel they can lead more in the digital age – lean into new opportunities.

Importantly, we are all citizens and we all inhabit the same planet. There are ethical implications of the digital transformation. If algorithms are created by men, then they will disadvantage women. Digital technology has the opportunity peri- and post-pandemic to contribute to less travel. It becomes an obligation to get involved. 

There are differences between B2B digital transformation and B2C, so a next step, after working out your digital transformation persona and how to use models of digital transformation to get involved, can be to delve deep into either of those areas, whichever is appropriate. 


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