When a proposal to change how we use technology to run the business arrives, most of us either welcome the change because the leadership advocates it, or we question the intent and even renounce it. Various studies conducted by McKinsey, BCG, KPMG, and Bain & Company indicate most digital transformation fails to meet their original objectives, with failure rates ranging from 70% to 95%. Alarmingly high, isn’t it?

Mindset is one of the most significant factors disrupting initiatives to change. In my 16 years of helping businesses with their transformation journey, I have come across five major mindset roadblocks that disrupt growth.

Lack of right advocacy:  The absence of effective advocacy may have significantly contributed to the failure of many digital transformations progress.  However, it is the responsibility of the stakeholders to be the advocates of the change. The goal to change cannot be just a business decision it needs to be believed in.

A business that is generational, often sees the founders married to legacy processes, they find it difficult to break the norm and adapt to automation irrespective of disparate systems restricting the growth and scale. The stakeholders need to be convinced of the potential of the change and must inspire all stakeholders to become advocates by instilling a mindset of readiness to adapt to any potential changes.  By outlining the benefits that are relevant to everyone on board, they can provide compelling reasons to embrace this transformation and ensure its success.

Lack of adoption: Due to a lack of training and education, most of us don’t often prepare for change when it comes to deploying digital transformation. My brother recently upgraded an old gas-power vehicle to the latest and greatest electric power one for my parents. When he handed the keys to my parents (not tech-savvy folks), they sat in the car and were reluctant to drive this new toy. Great intentions in every way, my parents were eager to drive it; but in the end, they still drove the old gas-powered vehicle.  We can’t figure out why they ditch the new car, so we asked them.  The responses are “Well, I can’t tell if the car is on or off since there’s very little engine sound and the big monitor did not display my favorite radio stations and I don’t know how to operate lots of things with this car.” Sound familiar? Most of us will reject new software, tools, apps, and processes, even if they will improve our lives, unless we are slowly, consistently educated, and willing to clear the mindset block.

Lack of a strategic plan at pre- and post-implementation: A lack of strategic planning before and after implementation can lead to severe consequences for an organization. Conflicting priorities can arise, and critical objectives may not be effectively communicated or achieved due to a disconnect between business and technology plans.

Unfortunately, many organizations fail to recognize the importance of pre-and post-implementation planning and instead focus solely on the implementation process. This shortsighted approach can lead to poor customer and stakeholder engagement, as well as employee dissatisfaction. Furthermore, without a clear plan, organizations risk falling victim to scope creep, which can result in costly budgets and time overruns. To avoid these pitfalls, staying focused on the main goals and achievements you hope to deliver is crucial, clearly defining which objectives are a “MUST” versus “Nice-to-have.”

Lack of the right talents: A critical issue that companies face is the lack of skilled professionals with the necessary technical experience to drive successful digital transformations. Despite the importance of investing in such talent, many organizations struggle to do so, particularly in the current economic climate where budget cuts are a common response to financial pressures. Failure to bring in the right people can severely impede progress and hinder the achievement of key objectives.

To overcome this challenge, it is essential to identify individuals with strong leadership potential and empower them with the tools and resources necessary to spearhead digital transformation initiatives across the organization. By taking a strategic approach to talent acquisition and development, companies can maximize their chances of success and stay ahead of the competition in today’s fast-paced digital landscape.

Lack of agility: One of the most significant barriers to successful digital transformation is a lack of agility. Many businesses fail to recognize that digital transformation is an ongoing journey rather than a one-time project. Without an agile approach, organizations may find it challenging to adapt to shifting market conditions and evolving customer expectations, putting them at risk of failing behind their competitors.

To stay ahead of the curve, it is essential to have a plan in place that allows for scalability as the business landscape changes rapidly. A scalable solution should be the backbone of any transformation initiative, providing the flexibility and agility needed to keep pace with the demands of the digital age. By embracing an agile mindset, businesses hope to thrive in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

Shifting the mindset is critical but may not be easy. The right strategies and approach can be certainly helpful to shift one’s mindset. Recognizing the benefits of change and the belief that your abilities can improve with effort and practice is a growth mindset. Embracing a growth mindset can help you see change as an opportunity to learn and grow than a challenge to adapt to. Changes are overwhelming, so starting small and taking small steps toward accepting the change can be a great way to begin. With this approach of one step at a time identifying the BIG 5Ws can be a promising starting point:

WHAT area needs improvement? Can our business model sustain the next decade?

WHY do we need digital transformation? Have we outlined and explained the benefits to all stakeholders?

WHO is to bring in the expertise to plan the roadmap and be consistent with it.  Do we have the expert advice and the right consultation? Have we identified advocates and leaders to lead this effort?

WHERE to start from? It is very important to have the right start as nothing can be automated in isolation. All the moving pieces need to be addressed and put in place for automation to work

WHEN is the right time to start and when do we need it? Have we defined the scope and planned the budget?

If you have the answers to all the above questions; you are READY to Shift your Mindset.  After all, the human component is the key to digital transformation.

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