Organisations around the world are starting to make the changes necessary to adapt to a digital environment, but while they recognise the need to develop digital leaders, individuals surveyed say they get little or no support from their organisation on this front.

And many are still falling into a competency trap – the belief that past success will drive future performance.

The finding are contained in a report from Deloitte and MIT Sloan Management Review which is based on a global survey of more than 4,300 managers, executives, and analysts and 17 interviews with executives and thought leaders. The authors include Gerald C. Kane, Doug Palmer, Anh Nguyen Phillips, David Kiron, and Natasha Buckley

According to the report which is called Coming of Age Digitally, “The digital business environment is fundamentally different from the traditional one. Digitally maturing companies recognise the differences and are evolving how they learn and lead in order to adapt and succeed in a rapidly changing market.”

The authors indicated that for the first time since the survey began four years ago there has been an improvement in how survey respondents evaluate their company’s digital maturity. “Many established companies are beginning to take digital disruption more seriously and respond. If companies were waiting for competitors to act before responding, this shift suggests the time to act is now.”

A key theme in the report is the recognition by maturing digital companies of the need to develop their digital leaders. Indeed the study found that the most digitally mature organisations were more than four times more likely to develop digital leaders than the laggards.

Despite this many individuals at these companies remain skeptical. The authors say, “Some 90 per cent of respondents indicate that they need to update their skills at least yearly, with nearly half of them reporting the need to update skills continuously on an ongoing basis. Yet, only 34 per cent of respondents say they are satisfied with the degree to which their organisation supports ongoing skill development.”

Among the other findings;

  • Digitally maturing companies push decision-making further down into the organisation.
  • Digitally maturing organisations are more likely to experiment and iterate.
  • Digital business is faster, more flexible and distributed, and has a different culture and mindset than traditional business.

The authors also says they see evidence of what the management textbooks often refer to as competency traps (or as they put it, “what got you here won’t get you there”). Competency traps are described as the mistaken beliefs that the factors that led to past success will also be associated with future success.

The report says, “Just because companies are taking digital disruption seriously doesn’t mean making the required changes will be easy. Established companies in particular typically face significant challenges when it comes to digital transformation — and one of the biggest is their past success.”

According to the authors, “Digital technologies are changing the competitive landscape — providing new ways of delivering value to customers and new service opportunities — and factors associated with past successes may not be associated with future success.”

Previous post

Incumbent versus Insurgent is over. The Great Divide Now is Customer Experience: SAP

Next post

Customer experience: More than comfy chairs, good coffee and a sexy website