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People: The Essential Component for Digital Transformation Success

When organizations begin to discuss plans for a Digital Transformation project there are three guarantees:

1. The change will be disruptive.

2. The time allocated for the transition activities will be insufficient.

3. The people affected by the transformation will not be given the attention, or level of involvement, needed.

The first two items are fact. Change is hard. New technologies and the associated processes will always take more time (and most likely budget) than originally estimated. What we, as human individuals can control is how we choose to react to a difficult change situation.

This is the power that Emotional Intelligence offers digital transformation teams and change agents. The Emotional Intelligence EQ-I 2.0 Model identifies five core behavioral composites:

  • Self-Perception

  • Self-Expression

  • Interdependence

  • Decision-Making

  • Stress Tolerance

People engage in these core business behaviors at varying levels. The key word is balance within an individual and among team members.

Let’s look at one of the Core Behavioral Composites: Stress Tolerance. Some people thrive on the adrenaline that rises within them when they encounter a stressful situation. Other people prefer to work through a stressful situation methodically. Depending on your perspective, an individual’s approach to stress may appear to be a strength or a weakness. Regardless of one’s specific perspective, a strong leader will encourage people with different working styles to combine their efforts to bring out the strengths of each team member—ultimately advancing the team.

In one scenario, Sandy* (a product manager in the telecommunications industry), is a good example of the Decision-making Core Behavioral Composite. Sandy’s Decision-Making assessment score demonstrated balance between the two sub-composites of Impulse Control and Reality Testing. Sandy was known for developing well-thought out plans for new products. Her assessment identified a relatively low engagement level for Impulse Control and a very high engagement level for Reality Testing. It turns out Sandy enjoyed thinking “way outside of the box” for new product ideas; however, her need to meet the realities of cost and schedule constraints help her filter some of the more extreme ideas and develop business-focused product plans. The two extreme traits balance to provide a successful outcome.

Emotional Intelligence initially may sound like an intangible concept. However, it is as tangible as a management principle can get because it is all about how people adapt and execute during periods of change and uncertainty. Managers who are able to successfully lead Digital Transformation efforts help the people on their teams balance their skills, talents, and energies to realize a shared vision. Be assured attention paid to the people element of a Digital Transformation effort will reap a stronger ROI.

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