Critical Behavioural Skills which are Central to Digital Transformation Success

Arvind Mehrotra
4 min readMay 18, 2023

Success in digital transformation does not rely on technical skills alone be it on the customer side or at the technology/capability provider end. Behaviours are essential in making the most of technology investments and ensuring that short-term actions are well-suited for long-term outcomes. Knowing which behavioural skills make digital transformation successful is critical today when many Indian businesses invest heavily in technology.

Indeed, 65% of Indian businesses have seen a positive outcome from digital transformation, primarily in improving customer experiences (40%) and collaboration (33%). However, the research also found that behavioural skills and cultural elements are equally important in supporting this process. For instance, diversity and a sense of inclusion positively correlate with success in 38% of transformation teams.

So, which skills are vital to maximize these positive outcomes? Here are the top five:

1. Conceptualization and communication of complex ideas

Organization-wide digital transformation is a multi-layered process with several moving parts. First, stakeholders in the transformation team must be able to take these concepts and translate them into simple, executable steps that can be understood by everyone involved, regardless of their digital literacy levels. This behavioural competency is not just about being an extrovert or having good soft skills. It also requires intense rational thinking, confidence, and a sense of ownership to collect and convey the ideas critical to the digital transformation process.\

2. Being collaboration-first

The collaboration first is a vital behavioural skill since most transformation projects are group activities. Individuals tasked with solo work must know how their contributions fit into the big picture, which requires intimate conversations with others on the team. Also, digital transformation may lead to new stakeholders unexpectedly getting involved — such as an external regulatory body. In such cases, this behavioural skill ensures that work continues without bottlenecks.

3. Strong sense of creativity and innovation

Creativity does not only come into play during content creation or marketing projects. Digital transformation — in any business unit — relies heavily on a creative mindset to find outside-the-box solutions to problems and bottlenecks. Creative individuals with strong technical skills can be invaluable assets for organizations undergoing digital transformation since they can develop and execute innovative solutions. Managers must also have the behavioural skills necessary to encourage and nurture creativity — building psychologically safe workplaces that welcome disruptive ideas and assembling transformation teams with cognitive diversity.

4. High EQ and the behavioural skills associated with it

One’s emotional intelligence or EQ behavioural skills have several components. LinkedIn defines it as a combination of “self-awareness, self-regulation, social skill, empathy, and motivation.” EQ is vitally important in nearly every field of business operations, from customer service to product development, and the same applies to digital transformation. For example, IT professionals with a high EQ are better poised to quickly understand the user’s challenges and find a solution to them. Those with high EQ can also perform more accurate forecasts and make better decisions.

5. A fail-fast and fail-safe mindset

Finally, fail-fast and fail-safe refer to the ability to take risks while ensuring there is a cushion to fall back on. This behavioural skill needs to be supported by technical capabilities and infrastructure — for example, testing new software inside a sandbox environment. Such a mindset makes it easier to pilot new solutions without undertaking undue risk. Managers with this behavioural skill often encourage autonomy in their teams and empower team members to make individualized decisions while providing consistent support if anything goes wrong.

Fostering a culture of digital behaviours

It refers to employee and organizational behaviours that make digital transformation successful post-new technologies implementation. Digital behaviours refer to transferable skill sets that allow employees to thrive in the digital era. For example, a design thinking mindset can help a member of the transformation team to seek feedback, iterate, and constantly improve.

Ultimately, it is crucial to recognize that formal education and industry certifications are not always sufficient to succeed in today’s fast-changing digital world. However, the transferable nature of the five behavioural skills I discussed makes them indispensable for employees looking to make their mark and for organizations that actively instil them.

To know more about how to train in these crucial skills, reach out to me at Arvind@am-pmassociates.com.

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Arvind Mehrotra

Board Advisor, Strategy, Culture Alignment and Technology Advisor