By: Kristin Derwinski - Executive Coach & Consultant
For several years, the business world has been buzzing with the term “digital transformation.” In 2020, during the great remote work pivot triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies saw their transformations leap forward as employees were required to move many of their operations and functions entirely online. It felt like the digital transformation found us—that whether we wanted to be or not, we were all subject to the newly digitized world.
But digital transformation is much more than just better technology tools and a move to cloud apps. True digital transformation involves changes that ripple through an entire organization and impact the culture. If leaders don’t understand the full ramifications of digital transformation, their companies will fail to make lasting changes that propel growth.
Here are five misconceptions leaders have about digital transformation—and why they matter when looking at long-term growth:
Certainly, adopting tools that improve productivity can be one aspect of digital transformation or one project within an overall initiative. But limiting the concept of digital transformation to productivity tools doesn’t allow for lasting change. Simply adopting productivity tools without emphasizing culture and engagement could communicate the wrong thing—that employees aren’t productive enough, perhaps, or that the company wants to replace certain functions with technology tools. Instead, combine your adoption of digital tools with efforts to engage employees, and create robust conversations about improving productivity both with and without digital tools.
If your digital transformation doesn’t affect your customer experience, you’re doing it wrong. Even if your project isn’t directly focused on improving customer experience, it should still affect interactions with people outside the organization. Employees should be more responsive or happier in their interactions with others, and your digital initiatives should at least provide a foundation for improved customer experience.
While implementing a new technology solution can improve employee or customer experience, there’s much more to digital transformation than new technology. Without training and strong communication about the purpose and intent behind the new tools, team members may resist adopting them, and it’s possible to end up with another piece of technology that no one uses.
4. DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION CAN BE DONE PIECEMEAL WITHOUT AN OVERALL STRATEGY
A successful digital transformation will be undertaken with forethought and focused on long-term goals. Many companies indeed had to quickly pivot to new digital tools in 2020, but emergencies are not a model for long-term strategy. Start by developing an overarching strategy and let the strategy guide the smaller initiatives you need to complete to achieve your goal.
5. WE DON'T NEED TO WORRY ABOUT COMPANY CULTURE; EVERYONE WILL ADAPT EVENTUALLY
This idea may be the biggest misconception about digital transformation. Your strategy must include conversations with employees and leaders across functions, roles, and levels to ensure success. While final decisions take place at the top, it’s essential to involve voices throughout the organization to assess pain points, obstacles, challenges, and the basic needs of everyone involved. By including those voices throughout your process and focusing on creating a digital culture, your initiatives will have a much more significant impact on the company’s overall success.
Pursuing digital transformation is an important step in propelling your organization forward, staying competitive in an increasingly digital marketplace, and positioning for long-term growth. But without attention to culture, employees, and customers, those initiatives may end up hurting more than helping.
To make your digital transformation a success, engage your employees in the conversation, and look for opportunities to get feedback from customers about what would improve their experiences. Involve the “analog” world in your process to successfully merge your digital initiatives with real-world users. A company that focuses as much on the people using the digital tools as they do on developing them will experience the transformation they set to achieve.
FOCUS Training's very own Leadership Trainer Matt Mueleners offers up some sage advice on how we can grow new capabilities and frame up learning so that it makes sense for the moment.
By: John Parker Stewart and Daniel Stewart
A simple haiku from the 18th-century Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa captures the essence of becoming a great leader:
O snailClimb Mount FujiBut slowly, slowly!
Leaders who experience the greatest success are not those who achieve a single stunning breakthrough but rather those who strive to improve just a little bit each day. It takes patient, persistent effort over time to see and experience gains in one’s ability to lead. In other words, like climbing Mt Fuji, it takes action, discipline, and consistent habits to become a great leader.
Our work on the LEAD NOW! Leadership Development Model, which was built on the assumption that leaders must achieve aligned and positive results from four perspectives (their people, their business, their marketplace, and their organization), has shown that leaders learn by doing — a little bit at a time. Here are a few examples of what we mean.
In his bestselling book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg introduces a neurological loop at the core of every habit that consists of three parts: a cue, a routine and a reward. Cues trigger the start of a Routine, the completion of which results in a Reward. Changing a bad habit or developing a new one requires adjusting at least one element of the loop.
All leaders have habits that impact their performance. Taking the time to identify the habits that work against you, or those that you need to develop can make a significant change in overall leadership performance. For example, an executive we know had a habit of responding to challenging questions from her peers by backpedaling, refusing to commit to an answer, and promising to follow up later. This behavior let her save face and feel on top of things, but this habit held her back. Once she identified the cue (hard questions), she started working on being more open to feedback. This insight helped the executive focus on changing one small thing, and she successfully changed the habit loop.
There’s a story about a physician in Scotland who had an idea to accelerate the recovery time of knee replacement surgery patients. To test the theory, researchers divided patients into two groups. Each group received the standard information and tools given to all knee replacement patients, but one had additional instructions. Each week these patients developed a personal recovery plan that identified the specific actions they would undertake at the times they anticipated the greatest pain, such as getting out of a chair.
The results of this experiment astounded researchers. The group who completed the booklets started walking twice as fast and were in and out of their chairs without assistance nearly three times faster than those in the control group.
As you strive to grow as a leader, take the time to develop an action plan. Like the patients in the study, identify the moments of greatest pain, opportunity, and key inflection points. Seek out an outside perspective to help identify things you may have missed. Review your routines and identify hallmark moments that will generate momentum.
Part of what makes leadership development challenging is how multifaceted and complex the role of leading others is. Organizations expect leaders to deliver business results while also achieving people results. They want leaders who identify the vision, communicate it effectively, and develop and execute a winning strategy. Simultaneously, leaders are called upon to develop themselves and others so the business can harness the talents of each employee, and we want leaders who create, champion, and lead change efforts that benefit the organization.
The LEAD NOW! Leadership Development Model provides a clear set of proven leadership dimensions that define both what great leadership looks like and how to achieve it. Based on the four critical relationships that each leader has: boss, direct reports, peers, and customers, it provides a clear path to strengthen these relationships, action planning processes to do it, and the expectations that make up a complete leader.
Whether you, like the snail in the poem, are striving to climb Mount Fuji or preparing for an uncomfortable conversation with someone on your team, selecting one leadership skill or habit at a time will elevate your leadership potential for future success!
John Parker Stewart is an internationally recognized award-winning author, coach, and speaker. He and his Stewart Leadership team provide coaching, training, and consulting services to clients globally on change management, leadership development, talent management, and team performance.
Daniel Stewart is a sought-after talent management and leadership development consultant and coach with proven experience advising senior leaders, leading change, and designing leadership-rich organizations. He is the co-author of LEAD NOW! A Personal Leadership Coaching Guide for Results-Driven Leaders and he leads Stewart Leadership’s extensive consulting practice, business development, and international partnerships.
By Gina Arinyanontakoon
Talent Acquisition Director, The CARA Group
I recently met a consultant who shared a very profound statement with me. She said someone once told her, “I can meet you in the middle, but we can’t stay here.” In a world of constant change and turbulence, that statement made me realize that no matter what the change is, whether it is on a professional or personal level, we all need to work together to drive towards a future that makes sense and works for that situation.
“We all know as learning professionals that adoption of new skills/behaviors does not happen overnight and that training programs incorporating change management will ultimately achieve long lasting results.”
As we begin 2022, we continue to hear about the growing skills gap and shortage of labor occurring in the workforce. Looking at this from the perspective of professional development, now is a great time to focus on reskilling and upskilling the core (hard or functional skills needed to accomplish a job) and power (soft or people skills needed for interpersonal relationships) skills. Employers should take this time to offer opportunities for employees to strengthen or gain both core and power skills. On the other hand, employees should not only look at development opportunities being offered by their employers, but also take control of their own development.
As an employee, you should:
For example, as a learning professional, maybe you are looking to enhance your eLearning skills. Why not check out Tim Slade’s eLearning Designer Academy? He offers an 8-week guided program including cohorts, hands-on activities, and more. Or perhaps you are looking at complimentary skills such as change management; check out Prosci. We all know as learning professionals that adoption of new skills/behaviors does not happen overnight and that training programs incorporating change management will ultimately achieve long lasting results.
From my personal perspective, I stepped into a new role in 2021, and was not prepared to take on a direct report or to build out a new function. While my employer provides me with tools, resources, and coaching, I also need to take charge of my own development path and look for ways to help me achieve these goals. So, we are meeting each other half-way to move forward down a path that will be mutually beneficial.
Technology will continue to change and the way we work will too. As employers and employees, why not work together to ensure we all continue to move forward from the middle?
Source: eLearning Academy
Our fields faces many challenges, from the ongoing pandemic to the “Great Resignation.” In the midst of these challenges, our chapter is stronger than ever.
I am extremely proud of the work of our chapter volunteers and board members. Over the last year, our accomplishments include:
In our annual member survey, you gave us a 76% net promoter score, which is a world class score according to most benchmarks. You cited our monthly PD events, networking opportunities, and learning about industry best practices as the top benefits of your membership.
We will continue to strengthen our member experience. With our pillar to provide world-class talent development upskilling, we are exploring how to improve our professional development opportunities. And we are committed to making our professional community feel even more inclusive, in line with our pillar to create a feeling of belonging in our community.
As we look into the new year, we appreciate your feedback on how to offer professional development opportunities. We were forced to deliver all virtual programming from the start of the pandemic into October of 2021. Going forward, you shared that you would like us to provide a relatively even mix of in-person and virtual events.
We also heard your feedback about event times. Some of you expressed a desire to return to our traditional Friday AM sessions, while others requested a wider variety of schedules. In the upcoming year, we will attempt to meet everyone’s needs by offering events at various times, while including many events in the Friday AM timeslot.
None of these successes would be possible without the amazing people leading the chapter. I am thrilled to welcome Patrick Aleshire, Kristin Derwinski, Lora Haines, and Camille Parham to our board. I also want to thank our departing board members for their service: Annette Caraulia, Matt Meuleners, Rebecca Reindl, and Eric Waters. Finally, I want to thank all of the chapter committee members, PDN leaders, and other volunteers who have helped us thrive under these challenging conditions.
I want to give special recognition to two people who have had an outsized impact on our chapter’s success. Matt Meuleners, our departing Past President, did an amazing job in leading our chapter through the transition to virtual programming in 2020 and has continued to support the chapter this year by organizing our chapter socials, setting up a mentoring program for board members, coordinating logistics for our annual Talent Development Forum, and too many other things to name.
Nikki Palmer-Quade, our incoming President, likewise was active in every facet of the chapter, from spearheading our Talent Development Forum to supporting our sponsors to recruiting board members and building relationships with our community partners. This chapter would not be as strong as it is today without their leadership.
Our chapter is in great hands. With our incoming board members, our current volunteers, and Nikki Palmer-Quade stepping into the President role, I know this chapter will continue to thrive.
It has been an honor serving as your chapter president. Let's continue to make a world where people can do their best work!
Colin J. Hahn, Ph.D.
2021 SEWI-ATD President
Research by the Association for Talent Development found that organizations that offer professional development opportunities to their trainers are more likely to be top business performers relative to their competitors.
Your organization can join the likes of Kohl’s, Northwestern Mutual, Childrens of Wisconsin, and Rogers Behavioral Health who invest in the professional development of their Talent Development teams with membership in SEWI-ATD.
Among the many benefits of organizational membership, your colleagues can:
Stay up-to-date on relevant industry trends
Coordinate teach-back sessions after chapter learning sessions
Learn from other members’ experiences
Explore certification opportunities
Engage in valuable stretch assignments with chapter volunteering/leadership experiences
Save up to 45% on membership fees
By Genevieve Daniels, VP Finance
As I mingled around SEWI-ATD’s signature event, our annual Talent Development Forum, as asked and was asked about what is top of mind. As if the response was a record player, I heard:
It was good to be together with people who had a shared understanding of these critical needs. And Shout Out to TEMPO Milwaukee for hosting the venue.
I was looking forward to what our moderator of the event would have to say, and she did not disappoint. Michelle Reid-Powell, President and CEO of The CARA Group, led us through an engaging overview of 2021 Workforce Trends.
“Is this a huge deal?”, she asked, as she guided us through stats, stories, and trends. “YES, it is!” she exclaimed, and by the end of her presentation, she had us all convinced on the importance we as Talent Development professionals must place to proactively serve our employees’ needs. One point that struck me: Fewer people are willing to work for a company that doesn’t align with their values. From the organizational perspective, this equates to churn being high if the organizational values don’t match those of their employees.
Hearing the importance of this and other top needs provided the perfect transition to hear from our panelists. They provided examples of the deliberate focus and meaningful work they are doing and all I can say was the time was too short. Thankfully, we collected questions from the audience and we look forward to using these to develop our programming for 2022.
Although each panelist brought diverse approaches and unique illustrations, the importance of balancing both the functional and the emotional needs of employees was a consistent message throughout.
A special thank you to our panelists:
· Linda Evans, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Douglas Dynamics
· Christine Hass, Senior Director of Learning Strategy, Northwestern Mutual
· Stacey Mueller, Executive Director of Experience Management, Froedtert Health
· Jeff Jara, Assistant Vice President Sr. Talent Development Consultant, Baird
And to Michelle Reid-Powell, our moderator for the event. As a bonus, Michelle provided each participant with a copy of her Workplace Trends report. I was able to reference data that same day in preparation of a senior leadership presentation.
As we wrap up 2021 and head into 2022, SEWI-ATD looks forward to the continued conversation & professional development on meeting workforce demands; it’s full speed ahead!
The responsibility for building inclusive workplaces where employees experience equity and belonging sits with each person. Talent development professionals are often expected to lead the way in cultivating diversity by teaching leaders to be inclusive.
To support your work in building inclusive workplaces, SEWI-ATD is proud to announce a four-part learning series focused on the 6 Cs of Inclusive Leadership:
Sessions will occur the second Friday of the month, from September through December. Through these sessions, participants will explore the 6 Cs and share ideas to incorporate them into your talent and learning development plans.
Cultural awareness and inclusion are skillsets in the Building Personal Capability arm of the ATD Talent Development Model.
Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach, will host each session featuring a different leader in the DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging) space each month.
Through MBT – More Business Today, Mary Balistreri supports clients to reach their potential as individuals, teams, and organizations. She brings mindfulness to coaching, training, and facilitation services focusing on Conversational Intelligence (CIQ), emotional intelligence, and belonging to improve relationship building, business development skills, and leadership.
We are thrilled to officially welcome our three incoming board members. All three nominees were approved by our chapter membership and will begin to transition into their roles:
It's time for our annual board elections!
Chapter members will be receiving a direct email invitation to vote for open Board of Director roles. There are three open positions, including President Elect, VP-Technology Services, and VP-Marketing and Communications, with terms beginning January 1, 2022.
Candidates have been approved by the Nominating Committee for presentation to membership. These nominees include Kristin Derwinski (President Elect), Tami Martin (Vice President – Technology Services), and Rebecca Reindl (Vice President – Marketing and Communications).
Voting will open Wednesday, July 28th and end August 11th. All members in good standing are eligible to vote. Renew or join to be eligible to vote. If you do not receive a direct election invitation email, or experience any difficulties while submitting your vote, please contact our chapter administrator at email@example.com or via phone at 608-204-9815.
Are you interested in serving on the board? Or do you have a colleague who would thrive in a volunteer leader role? There is an interim opening for our Vice President of Professional Development. Nominate yourself or a colleague here.
The VP of Professional Development plays a key role in our chapter's success. This person will plan, organize, and host quality professional development programs and services for Chapter members and professionals of talent development, organizational development, human resources and managers who have talent development as a part of their positions, in the form of issue-focused and special interest programming, skill development workshops, presentations, forums, and events.
Contact Usadmin@sewi-atd.orgPhone: 608-204-9815Association ManagersSeth TrickelHeather L. Dyer, CAE