In this two-part series, we’ll explore the marketplace shift of digital transformation, and why it’s no longer enough for modernizing enterprises.
Similar to legacy technology, legacy thinking refers to archaic and often problematic mindsets and strategies. It’s often symptomatic of greater, systemwide inefficiencies, showing up as organizational roadblocks, siloed departments or leadership misalignment. It’s also easy to remain complacent in how things are done, stalling proactive ideas in favor of familiarity. Yet, recognizing and identifying specific examples of legacy thinking within an organization can be more challenging than identifying outdated technologies, especially if it has accounted for a company’s success.
Addressing legacy ways of thinking often lags other areas of modernization, but that is a grave mistake. Legacy ways of thinking equate to relevancy in the marketplace, and they pose a high risk for enterprises if disregarded. Mindlessly accepting processes without challenging their merits stifles innovation, creates productivity stagnation and rewards mediocracy. Customers are swift to recognize legacy ways of thinking, attributing them to an enterprise’s inability to adapt in the marketplace.
Chart the Path Toward Transformation
True and lasting transformation must account for both behavior and process, embracing holistic evolution versus settling for siloed change. To overcome legacy technologies and ways of thinking, leaders should consider:
- Establishing comprehensive and clear channels of communication between leadership and IT: C-suite leaders and CEOs often rely heavily on IT experts for advice on driving modernization without taking the time and effort to understand the scope of the need. This breakdown in communication and understanding creates operational gaps and disparities. Leadership must work in partnership with IT advisors and invest in learning how technology operates and impacts their organization.
- Amplifying the “why” behind the need for digital transformation: Implementing change is complex and may feel impersonal if the reasoning or logic remains undisclosed. Communicating the why behind change underscores an enterprise’s commitment to its customers and employees. The effort to provide context comes across as a sign of respect.
- Creating value by inviting customers and current and prospective employees to become part of the transformative journey: Gradual transformation eases fear and resistance to change. It establishes value in the stages and overall process versus the result. Engagement increases and loyalty deepens when an enterprise encourages participation in its transformation. Legacy thinking often leads to an isolated organizational structure, and breaking those barriers is key to identifying and assessmbling collaborative teams who then invest in the transformative journey.
- Leveraging a cross-functional team of existing leaders to be ambassadors for change: Transforming the employee experience is just as important as transforming the customer experience. Identify a dedicated team that can regularly demonstrate the evolution and provide consistent progress reports, ensuring top-to-bottom organizational buy-in. It’s easy to judge people by their competencies, but it’s far more essential to discover what people are willing to learn. The key to successful transformation lies is empowering employees to adapt alongside the process.
- Leading by action and knowing that people are the most valuable part of this process: The human experience is at the heart of every digital transformation. People don’t necessarily believe in leaders, but they trust results and how experiences make them feel. Cheap and superficial lip service will upend progress; leaders must authentically connect in relatable, demonstrative ways, once again showing why transformation matters.
As more mature enterprises pursue modernization, digital transformation is not enough of a competitive differentiator. True transformation will require evaluating not only legacy systems but also legacy ways of thinking without any disconnect between the two. Learn how PK bridges the gap and creates modernized experiences that are both exceptional and fundamentally human at pkglobal.com.