Moving towards an IoT-connected environment challenges the role every employee plays within an organization. When people, processes and equipment play nicely with each other, all is well.
In the second post of this 3-part series, we explored the unavoidable destiny a small to mid-size business (SMB) has with Internet of Things digital convergence. Consider, however, that transformation is not achieved merely by investing in software and equipment.
Rather, the versatility of an organization’s culture becomes the most subtle, yet powerful, factor impacting IoT growth, expansion and sustainability strategy for SMBs. Ultimately, weaknesses in company culture, typically manifested by inability to retain their own employees, impact customer acquisition and retention.
When the 6th SMB strategic Achilles Heel impacts organizational culture, a business cannot transform. Here’s why.
You see, a SMB organizational culture should evolve over time and in cadence with the times. However, vulnerabilities in SMB organizational culture often drive companies extinct, if unaddressed.
First, micro-businesses and SMBs start off functioning like a family, whether biological or not. Initially, a small, tightly integrated critical employee mass exists. As a result, everyone becomes an essential tactical element of running the business.
While there is strength in tightly-bonded, small groups of employees, there also are weaknesses. These weaknesses often manifest when implementing digital transformation initiatives which take people outside of their comfort zones. As a result, the impact of each new introduction is immediately felt by the entire employee population. For better or for worse.
Also, SMB business growth and expansion challenges the constraints of founder and “family” bonds. These issues appear when new employees and technologies are introduced. Often, as SMBs expand, non-family members or non-founding team members are hired. Reverential past history about who and what “got us to where we are today” lacks context and relevance to these new hires. In addition, onboarding practices appear archaic, inwardly focused on dwelling on the past, instead of focusing on the opportunities of the present.
Ultimately, the 6th SMB strategic Achilles heel exposes whether SMB company culture is composed of innovators or order-takers.
Digital transformation leverages collaboration. When small to mid-size businesses are neatly organized into departmental silos and professional fiefdoms, employees often are not able to develop innovative skill sets required for digital convergence.
Furthermore, when the HR team functions as tactical order-takers rather than strategic human capital innovators, new hires duplicate current, legacy employee skills and mindset. Instead of digital transformation, the status quo is preserved, once again. Regardless of level of investment in upgrading technology, when employees resist, then implementation falls short.
Alternatively, when human capital strategy becomes a key factor in SMB digital transformation, employees are enabled to develop the critical thinking skills that foster collaboration. That type of mindful hiring strategy creates a learning culture aligned with the pace and cadence of digital transformation.
Collaborative leadership calls for genuinely and mindfully addressing obstacles to digital transformation.
Which challenges is your SMB encountering with digital transformation and workplace collaboration? What steps have you taken in the past? Considering innovating your next steps?
Babette Ten Haken is a STEM-trained catalyst, corporate strategist, storyteller and facilitator. Her focus? How collaboration revolutionizes and humanizes the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) value chain. The results? Increased customer loyalty, customer success and customer retention.
Her One Millimeter Mindset™ programs draw from her background as a scientist, sales professional, enterprise-level facilitator, Six Sigma Green Belt and certified DFSS Voice of the Customer practitioner. Babette’s playbook of IIoT team collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Do you know the Top 5 Negative Customer Retention Scenarios? Find out here.
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