BUSINESS OWNERS

Initiation

Owning and operating an established business in the midst of a technological revolution is a heavy burden to carry.

On one hand the research is undeniable…if you invest in digital transformation you will make signifficant gains…such as:

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Efficiency

The cost of doing business will be reduced dramatically.

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Profit

You will become much more profitable as a result of increased efficiency.

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Productivity

There is no doubt you will become more productive as a result.

But on the other hand you’re faced with seemingly painful disruption without any real understanding of the unintended consequences that could impact your culture, moral and even the equity of your brand.

So what do you do? Like most business owners, you’re probably doing very little and frankly I don’t blame you.

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Job Losses

Job losses can occur inadvertently due to unexpected gains.

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Morale

Even before you begin the anxiety of your team may start to poison the well.

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Reputation

Do you really want to be known as a company that wants to replace human beings with technology?

So you find yourself in limbo, as the tension builds and builds while you wait for your competitors to catapult ahead due to early adoption of digital technology.

If this rings true here is some insight that may surprise you to help put your mind at ease about what might happen if you were to initiate a digital transformation project.

At a recent conference I was invited to facilitate a workshop on Digital Transformation and Ai adoption. I had a group of around 20 who were all employees of small to large established companies and the question I asked them, was this:

 

“Given the technological revolution we are in right now, what would you do if you were in the shoes of the business owner, knowing that you could make significant gain but also create irreparable damage to the culture and reputation of the company?”

The ideas, insight and obvious compassion I was able to tease out over the course of the workshop were staggering:

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Identity

I miss identifying with the image and brand of the company since covid. I don’t feel like I’m really a part of it anymore. How can we reinvent ourselves together and reclaim our identity?

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Confidence

All employees had tried using Ai tools to gain efficiency but only 1 out of the 20 had acquired the skills of prompting and writing a brief. That 1 employee was the only one using Ai on a daily basis as a result.

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Innovation

How can we devote the gains we receive from our digital transformation project to ongoing innovation?

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Governance

How can we create innovative partnership models that make selected staff jointly responsible for the transformation project and results in exchange for a small piece of equity in the company upon achievement?

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GROWTH

Instead of using Ai as a tool for cutting costs, how can we focus on working together to use the increase in efficincy to create incremental growth.

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Wellbeing

How can we incorporate Ai as a tool for wellbeing to increase the bandwidth of staff so they can take time to pause and invest in retrospectives?

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Addressing Anxiety

Many staff are still anxious about coming into the office after Covid. How can we incentivise the team to come back together and work through their anxiety together?

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Incentives

How can we incentivise staff to grow the equity of the brand and the valuation of the shares rather than just focusing on sales and profit?

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

As you can see, employees empathise with your situation and in truth are envigorated by the chance of being part of reinventing what the organisation might look like beyond the horizon.

What they are dreading is being told there’s a digital transformation project coming that they have had no part of and have no stake in…which would be anyone’s worst nightmare.

When I asked the team what some of the symptoms they were experiencing these are the kinds of experiences they have been having:

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Mourning

The loss of identity with the brand after covid. One mentioned they had even mourned the loss of feeling part of something bigger since covid.

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Detachment

“I would love to learn more about partnering with my company instead of just remaining an employee.”

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NOT INCLUDED

Some commented that they were unaware of the board’s strategy and would like to know so they can feel like they are part of delivering it.

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Self Responsible

There is general willingness of staff to be utilised more in new and innovative ways. “I would gladly take on more respobsibility with a reuced workload.”

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Anxiety

The response from the team was overwhelming with 100% of them agreeing that social anxiety is a factor preventing people from coming back into work since covid lockdowns.

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I'm Not heard

The response from the team was unanimous on this topic. It is their general  view that there is very little innovation happening. Their perspective is that ideas aren’t prioritised, innovation is seen as too disruptive and the compnay doesn’t actually want to change. One comment was that they have stopped sharing their ideas as there seems to be little point.

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I'm Not Wanted

One comment was that they are very willing to help and support in ways that are outside their scope of work but staff are generally unwilling to relinquish control or risk disruption to receive that help.

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No Succession

It is a general consensus that there is a lack of a clear pathway towards an increase in pay or elevated responsibility keeping them tasked oriented instead of mission driven.

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