How difficult is it to come to terms with Digital Transformation?

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Let's face it, some people simply do not like change and often, they hate it with every fibre of their being.

Digital Transformation is hard for some people to take

They’ll never tell you this, they won’t even admit it to themselves, much of the time, they won’t even be aware that they are resistant to change.

This isn’t limited to Digital transformation of course, it’s any type of change and the consequences can sometimes be disastrous.

Digital transformation does throw into the mix, technology – which is often associated with fear and change itself, at its core, is fear of the unknown. This makes digital transformation the perfect incubator to incite fear, and even terror into the workforce of any organisation.

You can look at the acceptance of digital transformation by using same process endured during a period of grief as an analogy. The Kübler-Ross model is a well known five step process illustrating the acceptance cycle of grief – which would usually be used in a situation whereby someone is given news of a very severe illness. But it is often used with any bad news and people have added a further steps to it, we’ll stick with five.

Denial of Digital Transformation


That this is happening, needs to happen or happening in the right way.


    Usually the first stage of recognition and often manifests itself rather clearly, usually directed at people in close proximity. But not always.

    Anger at the prospect of Digital Transformation
    Negotiating the validity of Digital Transformation


    People are trying to avoid the problem by negotiating their way out it, seeking a compromise.


    A state of despair that there is nothing that can be done to change it. It is happening and it is happening to me.

    Change and in particular Digital Transformation can really affect people
    Acceptance it only the beginning of the digital transformation journey


    Whilst obvious, this is the start of a phase of preparation and planning.

    You can apply these steps to people directly or indirectly affected. In this analogy, it could be used at an individual level but also an entire organisation. It may seem extreme, but your workforce will display some serious emotions.

    Using the Kübler-Ross model in relation to business change and in this case digital transformation, is an easy way to break down where your workforce might be at – as a collective and individuals. These stages occur frequently and rather evidently and of course, people are never at the same stage at the same time, fragmenting your workforce.

    Let’s assume that your organisation has accepted that it is being disrupted by a competitor(s). They are trading online, using new technology, marketing more effectively, they’re agile and eroding your market share by changing the value proposition between them and your customers in a way that you are not. Many of your people will dismiss the problem “we don’t do it that way”, “that’s the wrong way to do it” – your customers however, don’t feel the same way.

    Something has to change, your strong brand legacy and your organisation needs to adapt accordingly. As cheesy as quoting Darwin is, it’s true right? It’s not always the strongest, smartest, fastest, tallest – it’s whomever can best take advantage the environment in which they find themselves and hopefully use their strengths to power through to remaining in the game.

    Recruiting brand new teams isn’t necessarily the right answer, it can put noses out of joint, carry a material cost and not speed things up at all. “They don’t understand our business”, “I’ve been doing it this way for years, I know best”.

    A clearly articulated, inclusive and transparent plan – where everyone understand roles, responsibilities, objectives and timelines will then open the their minds as to how they can get involved, learn new skills and basically enjoy work – the rewards for individuals and the organisation as a whole will follow.

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