Q: What in your opinion is the biggest political challenge in digital transformation?
J: Fear is the biggest obstacle.
“So many questions, so little time!” This series of posts is based on the questions I had no time to answer after my MITSloan Management Review Webinar in July 2018: Don’t Let Politics Back Your Digital Initiatives. I suggest you first check out the slides I used in order to understand the context for the questions in this series. Or you can listen to the webinar ($).
The biggest political challenges are getting people over their fears. Fears of losing power, losing face, losing control, not being able to learn new ways. I wrote about how fear is a natural obstacle to entrepreneurship. It is also a natural obstacle to digital transformation and everything is this article speaks to the fear of change: Overcoming Fear.
How to mitigate fear
Help people learn
Helping people acquire skills is an integral part of change and helping them overcome their fears. NMCRS (the US Navy Marine Corps Relief Society), one of my cases in The Organization in the Digital Age Edition 10 does this very well. Transformation in a Fluid Organization.
Involve people on the ground
One way to approach the fear challenge in large organizations is to build a global team of local people from each part of the organization who become ambassadors or reference points for the transformation imitative. These people will have more credibility than you, a central person will have. This was part of the strategy implemented by Air Liquide, one of the case studies from my recent report: Focus on People not Tools