[David Strom's Web Informant] Understanding how to become an effective digital change agent

David Strom david at strom.com
Tue Dec 12 13:21:18 EST 2017

Web Informant, December 12, 2017: Understanding how to become an effective
digital change agent

As technologists, we tend to get caught up in the computer side of things
when it comes to try to get stuff done in our organizations. So often we
forget that the real drivers of change are the people behind the screens.
In new research that my colleague Brian Solis has just published, he
documents exactly how enterprise digital transformation happens, and talks
directly to some of those "change agents" that he has known for decades as
an analyst covering the IT scene. His Manifesto is available now for
downloading and reading
<http://www2.prophet.com/The-Digital-Change-Agents-Manifesto>, I strongly
suggest doing so. (Other than registering your email, it is free of charge.)


With most organizations, "these digital transformation efforts often take
place in isolated pockets, sometimes with little coordination and
collaboration across the enterprise," he writes. Often it is a solitary
individual who drives change and introduction of particular digital
technologies and methods at a grassroots level -- and often fails to go
further across the enterprise. His manifesto puts together a solid
ten-point plan (shown here) if you want to be more effective in bringing
this about at your company. This includes embracing yourself as a catalyst,
obtaining leadership support, creating a roadmap and democratizing idea
creation. Some of these are obvious, some aren't.

He says that "digital transformation is more of a people problem than a
business problem. Trust is the least measurable but most important factor
to build." Without this trust, your colleagues can sabotage or block your
efforts. One of the biggest obstacles in building trust is in managing your
own ego as a change agent. When you display too much ego, you make the
change all about you, rather than the benefit to your company. The same is
true when managing your colleagues' egos too.

On the other side of this is managing your own doubts about what you are
trying to do. "Although it may seem counterintuitive to manage detractors,
change agents ought to listen closely to their feedback. It is better to
let them voice their concerns than to let them detract in secret." Indeed,
listening is often overlooked when advocating change. The better listener
you are, the more you'll get done.

Solis mentions that when a change agent has the full buy-in of the
executive suite, real change becomes possible and turns from a suggestion
to a corporate mandate.

"Digital Darwinism is increasingly becoming either a threat or an
opportunity based on how organizations react to change," he says in his
report. Digital change agents can become the next generation of leaders and
help to be instrumental in having their companies more effectively compete
in this digital economy.

Comments always welcome here:  http://blog.strom.com/wp/?p=6301
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