Changing Patterns: Why Real Digital Transformation is So Dang Hard

My daughter's birth and an executive workshop have reminded me of why this one idea is critical to driving true transformation

by Charles Araujo | April 5, 2023

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Hopefully, you’ve noticed, but I’ve been a little quiet lately. But I have a really good excuse: my daughter!

On March 8th at 2:46am, our daughter, Ella Margaux Araujo, came into this world. As all children do, she came in with a fit and a start and proceeded to turn our world upside down.

Ella is my fourth child, so I’m no novice when it comes to how much a newborn disrupts your routine. Still, the degree to which she has changed our well-established patterns of New York City life has been shocking!

Everything from how we sleep, to when and how we eat, to what we do during our day has changed.

And that is the essence of any true transformation — meaningful, impactful change.

Getting Back to My Culturally-driven Roots

In the midst of our Ella-powered adjustment, I’ve been talking with the digital agency of a large government. They reached out asking if I would conduct a four-day mastermind session for executives across their various agencies to help them accelerate their digital transformation efforts.

As I’ve been developing the curriculum, it has brought me back to something that I hadn’t thought of for quite some time: an execution methodology I developed over a decade ago called DeepRoots.

While it’s a comprehensive and extensive methodology, it is rooted (reference intentional!) in two fundamental beliefs:

  • That digital transformation isn’t about technology transformation as much as it is about organizational transformation
  • That there is no such thing as organizational transformation — only individual transformation multiplied across an organization

The point is that in order to successfully execute a digital transformation effort, you need to focus on the individual behavioral changes that you’ll require across the organization to put it on a fundamentally path.

While this may seem obvious with the benefit of perspective, it is something that far too many enterprise leaders miss entirely when they set out to lead a digital transformation effort.

Changing Patterns to Drive Transformation

All of which brings me back to Ella. When she showed up, there was no debate on whether or not we would transform our lives. She demanded fundamental changes in our daily patterns.

This sort of forced environmental change is missing from most transformational efforts. They produce some documents, maybe deploy some new technology, but for most people in the organization business goes on as usual.

There is no screaming baby demanding to be fed or changed to force them to change their behavior.

But there needs to be.

As Chip and Dan Heath wrote in their seminal book, Switch, true transformation demands that you address three elements:

  • Our Rational Being
  • Our Emotional Being
  • Our Environment

Without addressing all three, no true transformation will ever happen.

The combination of little Ella and this forthcoming workshop reminded me of this critical fact. I hope it helps you if you’re struggling with your own organizational or personal transformation efforts.

A Round Up of Important News and Thought Leadership While I’ve Been Away

While I’ve been ensconced in my baby-bliss and unable to do much “real work,” I have been keeping up on all that’s going on in the world of enterprise tech and the digital experience. Here are some great pieces that are worth checking out:

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About the author 

Charles Araujo

Charles Araujo is a technology analyst and internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise, the Digital Experience and the Future of Work. Researching Digital Transformation for over 10 years, he is now focused on helping leaders transform their organizations around the digital experience and to reimagine the future of work. Publisher and principal analyst of The Digital Experience Report, founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation, co-founder of The MAPS Institute, and author of three books, he is a sought-after keynote speaker and advisor to technology companies and enterprise leaders.

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