In most organizations, however, these digital transformation efforts often take place in isolated pockets, sometimes with little coordination and collaboration across the enterprise. Even still, these movements are important and often driven by individuals who share a deep expertise and passion for digital and are ardent advocates of its potential to help their companies compete more effectively. These individuals are the “digital change agents” and they represent the future of the organization.
While change agents are well-versed in all things digital, they aren’t necessarily seasoned or trained at navigating the cultural dynamics that drive change in an organization. They typically pick up leadership and change-management skills on the fly as they learn to face and manage the behavioral challenges that often prevent colleagues from accepting their perspectives, ideas, and digital innovations. There is no one type of change agent, however, as they each bring to the table different skillsets, goals, and aspirations. But they all wear similar hats at different points in their journey, serving as data gatherers and storytellers, influencers and case makers, relationship builders, and champions of digital transformation.
With support and guidance from the C-Suite, change agents spread digital literacy, drive collaboration between silos, build internal bridges with executives, and help accelerate their organization’s progress across Altimeter’s Six Stages of Digital Transformation.
With that, Altimeter brings you: "The Digital Change Agent’s Manifesto." It is the result of more than five years of research and 30 interviews with those who have led digital transformation initiatives within the world’s most renowned brands, including Coca-Cola, Equifax, FCC, NFL, Samsung, Starbucks, and Visa, among many others. In our conversations, we uncovered that behind every evolving enterprise, there is a human narrative, rich with stories of people learning, struggling, and eventually mastering how to drive a unified digital transformation strategy.
We learned that change agents are often early adopters of digital trends who want to help their companies modernize how they operate and compete. Many started as digital advocates and, over time, developed into experienced transformers. The interviewees’ advice for likeminded individuals form the basis of a 10-strategy manifesto designed to guide the efforts of digital change agents at every level. The report provides executives with insight into who these change agents are and how they think, the hurdles they experience, and how they can benefit the organization when they are properly supported.
• Although digital transformation is one of the biggest trends in business today and companies are investing heavily in new technologies and innovations, many still do so as a grassroots effort driven by resourceful individuals — digital change agents — across the organization.
• Digital change agents are passionate about digital innovations and ardent believers in their potential to help the organization succeed — but they are sometimes reluctant to step into a leadership or change-management role.
• Change agents can rise from anywhere in the organization and often begin as digital advocates — employees who introduce or promote new digital ideas or products — and eventually progress to experienced transformers.
• To garner support across the organization, change agents quickly realize that they must acquire basic change-management skills if they are to secure cross-functional collaboration and leadership support.
• Change agents often take on informal functions — data gatherers and storytellers, influencers and case makers, relationship builders, and champion — to navigate the human aspects of change and digital transformation.
• When trying to rally support for digital transformation initiatives, change agents eventually learn to face detractors and manage behavioral challenges (i.e., managing ego, bias, fear, and self-doubt) in others and themselves.
• Change agents should operate from a strategic manifesto to guide them in their digital transformation efforts, expedite change, and minimize complications and detractions.
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