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Agile digital vision of Asia is setting example for European businesses, says PerformanceWorks research

Leaders in Europe need to cut through bureaucracy and apathy or risk losing competitive advantage to more action-oriented international rivals

For any business looking to remain competitive, having a cohesive, well-defined digital vision and the strategy to properly implement it is essential. However, new research by PerformanceWorks and Bridges Business Consultancy, international providers of strategy implementation solutions, training and consulting services for business leaders and managers, has revealed that just 51 per cent of European organisations have a digital vision for the future, compared to 60 per cent in Asia and 65 per cent in North America.

In addition to this, European organisations are playing catch-up when it comes to a general readiness to digitally transform:

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When asked to rate how ready they are on a scale of 1 to 10 (with higher numbers representing a higher level of readiness), respondents from Europe averaged a score of 5.1, compared with 5.6 in North America and 6.0 in Asia. Moreover, when asked how much cultural transformation is needed, those in Europe averaged a score of 6.1 (with higher numbers representing a greater need for transformation), while their Asian colleagues scored just 4.4.

For Jeremy Blain, Founder and CEO of PerformanceWorks, these figures illustrate how Asia is succeeding in putting together a digital vision, and combining this with decisive action and the fostering of a digital-first culture. Europe, in contrast, is risking stagnating in its digital development due to excessive bureaucracy and red tape.

Blain said: “The evidence shows how the agility Asia is showing when it comes to digital transformation is paying dividends. Take China’s move to becoming a cashless society as an example – by innovating in this way, the country has levelled the playing field from a technological point of view and enabled itself to compete with more established economies in the western world. North America isn’t too far behind Asia in this respect, but European businesses seem to be hampered by bureaucratic processes which will only lead to them falling further behind unless measures are taken to reform organisational structures, create a renewed sense of urgency to change, and embrace greater agility.”

To support this point further, the research also found that Asia is well ahead of the game when it comes to people being prepared to change the way they think and act.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (with higher numbers representing a greater enthusiasm for change), Asia scored 6.5 on average, compared with 6.2 in North America and just 5.2 in Europe.

Blain added: “These numbers are a stark indicator of the work that needs to be done in Europe (and North America) to nurture a culture that sees a digitally minded future as the norm, rather than something to be regarded with disinterest, immobility or suspicion. Asia has blazed a trail and it’s important for Europe to follow suit as soon as possible. It’s no longer sufficient to assume that having been around for longer automatically puts you in a favourable position: those organisations that prove to be the most adaptable are the ones that will thrive.”

To help narrow this gap, Blain believes that leaders need to conduct detailed evaluations of their organisational culture, with an emphasis on improving the human touch within digital transformation so that all employees feel they are a part of the journey.

He concluded: “Without a willingness from employees to change the way they think and act, any digital vision is likely to fail. Winning hearts and minds in this area is about being able to connect with employees, communicate a vision effectively, and motivate them to embrace it on a long-term basis. This means not just having a digital vision, but having the strategy to execute it and ensure that this evolution in culture filters down throughout the entire organisation. Asia has shown that this can be done; it’s now up to Europe to make up this lost ground.”

The full findings from the research are summarised in the Transforming Your Company into a Digital-Driven Business report, which can be downloaded here.

 

ENDS

About Performance Works

Performance Works International is focused on developing leaders and managers to be fit and ready for the future.

Managers need new skills to manage in a changing and often remote workplace. They have to mobilise and motivate people, drive positive change and ensure performance at all levels.

Performance Works understands these challenges and helps organisations map their route of change. Through its consulting services and bespoke courses, Performance Works builds new POWER SKILLS across your business and develops both leaders and managers to ready them for the challenges ahead. For more information, visit: https://www.performanceworks.global/

 

Press contact:

Sean Hand / Mary Davoudi
Spreckley
T: +44 (0)20 7388 9988
E: performanceworks@spreckley.co.uk

Leaders still do not have the skills to navigate businesses through digital transformation, says PerformanceWorks

Technology is a powerful enabler, but leaders need closer guidance in bringing about the business and cultural changes required to make digital transformation a success

Digital transformation

When it comes to digital transformation, much of the debate so far has focused on new technology, and how businesses go about incorporating this into their business. Despite the inevitable importance of technology, more attention needs to focus on the fact that leaders in high-ranking positions at organisations still do not have the required level of skills and awareness to bring about the cultural evolution needed to achieve a fruitful digital transformation. This is according to PerformanceWorks, an international provider of training and consulting services for business leaders and managers.

Given the extent to which digital technologies have permeated both our personal and working lives, it can be easy to pigeon-hole digital transformation as being broadly a technological concern, with other factors being of secondary importance. However, according to Jeremy Blain, Founder and CEO of PerformanceWorks, this is an overly simplistic way of addressing digital transformation projects and their challenges, with the issue of leadership and the preparedness of leaders being of crucial importance.

Blain said: “Digital transformation has become something of a nebulous concept, so approaching it as a one-dimensional challenge isn’t sufficient if organisations want to make a real success of it. The technology aspect is evidently a huge part of it, but it’s crucial not to lose sight of the fact that a business is only as strong as its people.

“Unfortunately, leaders – often through little fault of their own – remain one of the biggest blockers to progress in this area. Implementing the cultural and human change that should accompany any digital transformation needs a comprehensive approach to training and long-term strategy which emphasises the gradual removal of older processes in favour of new ones, in a way that ensures staff are prepared and ready to embrace this evolution. At the moment, leaders still don’t have all the tools at their disposal to make this happen.”

To help better equip leaders to manage the human element of digital transformation, Blain believes that leaders themselves need in-depth training and guidance in the specifics of implementing digital transformation beyond the technological elements. This should include how best to train staff in new technologies and processes, how to free staff of the burden of time-consuming tasks and, essentially, how to build and carry out a strategy that ensures that this change in mindset is embedded from the top and maintained throughout the organisation in the long term.

He added: “Digital transformation comes from above: with that in mind, leaders need guidance in how best to do it, before they can then give effective guidance to the employees working for them. It’s about being able to balance the power of new technology with the need to maintain a high amount of human involvement, which helps keep internal morale high while ensuring that employees are well-placed to serve customers in the best possible way. By taking the time to equip themselves with this knowledge and insight, the chances of a seamless transition to a digital workplace will increase significantly. This is the key – build the right strategy from the very top, and the digital transformation will look after itself.”

He concluded: “This can only be achieved through consistent, inspiring leadership in which those in positions of responsibility are clear in what they want the long-term goal of the company’s digital transformation to be. The leader’s approach can’t be a piecemeal one: for it to be successful, leaders need to be present at the visionary level but also all the way through the process, otherwise the full benefits will never be seen. If this can be guaranteed, the labyrinth of digital transformation can be safely negotiated in the long run.”

ENDS

 

About Performance Works

Performance Works International is focused on developing leaders and managers to be fit and ready for the future.

Managers need new skills to manage in a changing and often remote workplace. They have to mobilise and motivate people, drive positive change and ensure performance at all levels.

Performance Works understands these challenges and helps organisations map their route of change. Through its consulting services and bespoke courses, Performance Works builds new POWER SKILLS across your business and develops both leaders and managers to ready them for the challenges ahead. For more information, visit: https://www.performanceworks.global/

Press contact:
Sean Hand / Mary Davoudi
Spreckley
T: +44 (0)20 7388 9988
E: performanceworks@spreckley.co.uk