Many of our clients come to us with goals of transforming people, culture, and business into one that is more digitally-centric. Although it almost seems silly to use the word "digital" in the year 2016, the practice of "digital" remains a critical skillset and mindset development area.
Often the writing is on the wall: lost business, revenue and people. Additional signs of "it's time to invest in evolution" include an inability to retain top talent (because no one understands their skills or contribution), continuing to silo "experts" (because leaders still believe the experts will save them), and general dissatisfaction with ways of working (because teams are lost in the dysfunction of the organization).
Change is not easy. It's roll up your sleeves kind of work. It takes agreement, investment, and commitment. All of which are often overwhelming (and paralyzing) for leaders. In my experience, it takes one careful step at a time. Commitment to people is the first order of business (not process, structure, etc). If you can move people forward, even if it's just knowing a little bit more than they did last week, it will make all the difference.
Clearly, educating staff ongoing is a big investment. But what happens if you don't?
Here are a few steps for getting started with evolution at your agency or brand:
1. Know the people
Who are they and what do they need? What do they know and what do they need to know? Start there.
2. Ask experts to teach
All the investment you've made in specialists can really pay off. Recruit experts to teach a few classes a month, set up a system that rewards this contribution.
3. Slow and steady wins
Commit to annual programming. If you're investing in single workshops or attending random conferences to "learn" you are wasting your money. Get behind learning internally like you never have before, you will see immediate results.
4. Mix practical and not-so-practical
Try classes that are directly related to the everyday but also add topics that are surprising, lateral, and challenge conventional thinking and making.
5. Experiment more, talk less
Education is messy work. It's not perfect nor should it be. Ask employees to get their hands dirty and closer to technology than ever before, this approach will pay off.
These few steps will get you started in 2016. Next year at this time you'll have momentum, commitment to learning and a group of employees who are "digital" but more importantly, curious.