Digital transformation processes fail due to knowledge gaps, force of habits, and old school leadership conceptions.

Your management has a clear vision of how your digital transformation should look like in the end. Right? Perfect. However, you or your company might fail or perform not as successful as having planned. Why? 70% of all digital transformation processes struggle due to human factors – specifically, inappropriate leadership. There might be a disconnect between your digital transformation goal and the transformational processes that lead to success. Wouldn’t it be nice to have perfect fit? A sound process based on transformational leadership might support you in order to successfully plan, lead and realize your innovation. The most important thing is to get rid of three unfavorable management patterns:

1) Knowledge gaps.

Management is not really reconsidering, reviewing or innovating business models (e.g. Casadesus-Masanell & Zhu, 2013). And if so: just insufficient. It looks like there is sometimes a tremendous lack of knowledge what drives business model innovation (e.g., Gassmann, Frankenberger, & Csik, 2014). Who are your customers? What are you offering? How do you generate value? How do you generate profit? And how do you brand your innovation (e.g. Fetscherin & Heilmann, 2015)? If you or your management can’t answer those easy answers immediately, than you might be in trouble.

2) Force of habits.

Management is not thinking outside of the box and follows dominant logics of its industry. But you have to do the opposite. Often, managerial cognitions are focused on what competitors do or what best practices are or might be in their own industries. But that is not how you or your company find new innovative ways. You have to find completely new ways. This is why methods such as design thinking (e.g., Johansson‐Sköldberg, Woodilla, & Çetinkaya, 2013) and other methods are discussed a lot in innovation processes lately.

3) Old school leadership.

Research suggests that old school leadership is not appropriate in order to lead digital transformation successfully (e.g., Barba-Sánchez, Martínez-Ruiz, & Jiménez-Zarco, 2017). Imagine, management successfully conceptualized the digital transformation: there must be a fit between with leadership process. But, which leadership conception might be helpful? Specifically, transformational leadership (e.g., Jonas, Meier, Boss, Heilmann, & Seiler, 2010; Judge & Piccolo, 2004) facilitates digital transformation (e.g. Alos-Simo, Verdu-Jover, & Gomez-Gras, 2017). It inspires people to achieve unexpected or remarkable results. It fosters new ideas, new ways. And this is exactly what companies need in order to successfully plan, lead and realize innovation.

Three steps in deriving the appropriate transformational leadership for you.

This is the ideal process of how to generate the right leadership fit for your digital transformation:

If you like to know more about we managed to solve those issues described above or of you have any questions or suggestions: we are happy to connect / to talk to you.

If you a German native speaker you might want to download our article as a PDF (Heilmann & Altuncevahir, 2017).

Psychology + Innovation = campaignfit.