What do digitally sustainable organizations do differently?
Traditional organizations will need to transform their culture and the way they work if they are to succeed in the digital world. But they can’t afford to transform only once. They need to be comfortable with a constant state of change. Korn Ferry calls organizations who achieve this ‘digitally sustainable.' These organizations are strong in the following five leadership and organizational capabilities.
Organizations that successfully transform for a digital world are clear about what digital means to them. They define outcomes and focus relentlessly on achieving them by prioritizing the things that drive the most value – typically customers, data, and talent.
They are also disciplined about execution. They decide quickly what to invest in and then draw on their current strengths to implement it efficiently, effectively, and repeatedly at scale.
Digitally sustainable organizations have the ability to adapt to changing market conditions at speed. They decide fast, implement fast, learn fast, and iterate fast.
They are risk takers. They focus on bringing solutions to market quickly, and then evolve them as customer feedback comes in. They make rapid decisions about what to invest in, and which ideas and innovations to draw a line under. And when they commit, they do so wholeheartedly, with significant amounts of budget and resource.
They also invest in their workforce, developing learning agility so their people can continually acquire new skills, learn from experience, face new challenges, and perform in an ever-changing climate.
Agile organizations are connected organizations. They create ecosystems made up of networks of people, from within and outside of the organization, who can drive change.
They work by bringing multi-disciplinary teams together from across the organization with shared objectives and metrics. They listen to their millennials and they actively collaborate with the outside world, co-developing solutions with clients, partners, and even competitors to help find answers and accelerate delivery in a world that moves at pace.
Lift the lid of any successful digital organization, and you’ll find an open mind set shaping the way it works. The digital economy requires people to collaborate, solve problems, and think creatively to meet customer expectations. This means giving everybody in the firm a voice.
These companies also tend to be deliberately transparent with their customers and employees about their ethics, responsibilities, decisions, and practices.
Digitally sustainable organizations empower the parts of the organization that are close to where value is created.
In the digital economy, value is most likely to be found in three places: algorithms, customers, and talent. So they put power into the hands of the people closest to these assets - IT, marketing, HR, and the frontline.
They make it work by focusing on alignment. Making sure that everyone from the board to customer-facing employees knows what the business stands for, what it’s trying to achieve, and how it is being put into action.
How do organizations become digitally sustainable?
We’ve developed a roadmap, based on Korn Ferry’s Superior Performance Model (SPM), to show how organizations can develop the five organizational and leadership capabilities required for be digitally sustainable.