Digital transformation timelines can be derailed by poor communication: Here's how to stay on track

5 months ago 43
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Digital transformation projects take time. The effectiveness of your company's communication will significantly impact the timeline of these types of projects.

A boss yelling at an employee

Image: Fizkes/Shutterstock

Communication is a key factor in digital transformation projects. To ensure digital transformation initiatives are successfully implemented on time, communication must be effective and timely to avoid delaying digital transformation.

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Not only is it important to maintain clear communication, it's important to make sure that communication is delivered throughout different levels of management. Here's why each of these staffing levels must adopt good communication practices and skills. 

Management communication

Your management team sets the tone for the company's vision and goals, as well as the story and expectations about change. When management fails to communicate the vision for digital transformation effectively, it can slow down implementation by over 300%. Ensure your company's chief transformation officer and other C-level managers are on the same page when implementing transformation initiatives

Senior managers

The next level of management is senior managers who set the tone of urgency in making change happen. Dropping the ball on this messaging can slow implementation by about 52 percent. Senior leaders should possess effective communication skills and traits, such as calm, focused, inclusive and visible, which can generate buy-in from all levels. 

Key functional roles

Functional leaders across your business are responsible for ensuring that teams collaborate effectively about initiatives. If these leaders are ineffective in their roles, implementation can be delayed by as much as 54%.

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Many other factors play a role in digital transformation delays. The important thing to remember is that digital transformation success doesn't start in the middle or bottom of the pyramid—it starts at the top. How well your leadership team communicates its vision, expectations and goals sets the tone and timeline for digital transformation. 

3 keys to effective leadership communication and digital transformation

The key to effective communication in your organization is in your people. Hiring the right people for these positions is essential. 

1. Hire tech-savvy leaders

This step is vital. According to Mckinsey, companies with chief digital officers are 1.6 times more likely than others to report a successful digital transformation. But it's not just about having a CDO at the helm. They must work closely with other project and change management leaders to ensure the messages are received clearly across your company. The messages should also be conveyed on time.  

2. Hire transformation-specific roles

Another key is hiring transformation-specific roles that are focused on digital adoption and change management. It's not enough to have senior leaders and executives involved. Employees, customers, vendors and other stakeholders need to have leaders that they can go to and communicate with regularly as things are changing.

3. Hire digital-focused talent 

Part of ensuring transformational change is possible throughout your entire company is hiring or training talent with the right mindset—digital adoption is good. It's about buy-in at all levels. This means enabling sustainable, cultural and behavioral change and creating regular and ongoing dialogue. That dialogue has to start at the top and filter throughout your company, encouraging everyone to communicate effectively and on time, share ideas, and be supported by your leadership team.

It's no secret that communication plays one of the most prominent roles in how successful initiatives are implemented and adopted. Effective and timely communication from the top-down is a critical factor in the success of digital transformation strategies. The higher up in the chain of command, the more significant the impact is on successful adoption and timing.

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