5 cornerstones of a strong digital culture

Anthony Stevens

Anthony is the founder and CEO of Digital Asset Ventures, a digital strategy and software development company. Digital Asset Ventures’ technology expertise is concentrated in three key areas: distributed ledger technology, artificial intelligence, and big data and data networks. Anthony is also the co-author of Chasing Digital: A Playbook for the New Economy (Wiley).


Creating a strong company culture may sound like a daunting task, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. In fact, company culture is created in exactly the same fashion as a religion or democracy. Behaviours created from the organisation’s inception are reinforced over time by leadership, attracting like-minded people and eventually reaching critical mass to become an accepted ‘truth’.  

These truths drive performance, priorities, and the countless everyday decisions an employee makes without guidance or oversight. A recent survey conducted by Capgemini found 62 per cent of respondents viewed culture as the number one hurdle to achieving an effective digital transformation.  

So, what does it take to create a strong company culture with a digital focus? We believe there are five key principles your company must embody.  

1. Free flow of information  

Information and data must be able to move seamlessly throughout the organisation, as well as between your company and your customers. It is imperative that data, new findings and best practice are shared easily so teams can work together to find the best solutions. Information must also flow freely between your business units and customers to ensure your company is customer driven.  

2. Customer focus 

If you don’t know what your customer wants, then you may as well pack up now.

Understand the difference between their needs and their wants, then execute on their needs – even if they don’t know what these are yet. As Henry Ford said, ‘If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.’  If you can deliver what customers want while providing them with a fantastic experience, then they’ll always come back. Just don’t forget that the customer’s expectations never stay the same over time. 

3. Agility  

With the digital economy moving faster than ever before, your teams have to be able to react to constant change. In the information age, first-mover advantage is critical to stealing a march on the competition, while moving faster than anyone else ensures you stay in front.

Long-winded decision-making processes must be streamlined, and employees must be flexible in the face of change. Your Engine B team should champion this new pace and style.  

4. Inquisitiveness  

Create a culture that is always on the lookout for new opportunities and where failure isn’t considered taboo. Remember, you can only really learn by failing. Companies that are willing to take calculated risks on novel ideas, even though they may require self-disruption, are the ones that thrive in the digital economy.  

5. Employee experience and engagement  

A thriving digital culture must provide teams with an environment in which they are challenged, learn new things, and have the freedom to make decisions on their own.  A highly engaged team is the most productive. With recent studies showing only 33% of the workforce is engaged, getting this right creates a competitive advantage.  

The key to an engaged workforce is the personal connection employees make with their organisation, and the sense that their work and individual strengths are valued. This can be achieved by helping employees focus on a purpose, or the ‘why’ of their work, as part of your company vision. In turn, this ensures clear performance expectations, provides opportunities for regular coaching and recognition, and gives employees the tools, environment and autonomy to excel.

Tags: Culture, leadership, management strategies

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