6 steps to build a digitally mature team

| August 31, 2018

A digital culture is underpinned by a high level of digital maturity. This may seem obvious, but, without this maturity, everything remains static.

Putting up motivational posters and throwing around buzzwords may give off the impression that the company is transforming itself. But in reality, these types of initiatives don’t alter the company’s underlying foundations.

Digitally mature teams understand that what they must do now is different to what they did in the past, which is also different to what they will have to do in the future. Here are six key steps to build a digitally mature team.

Start with visible leadership

Without a mature digital culture that is defined, championed and modelled from the top down, your organisation will be unable to navigate the relentless waves of change.

Digital maturity is not the responsibility of a few individuals in functional roles – it must be led by the CEO and executive team. It requires an acceptance that the traditional roles played by leaders must change and that new talent may also be required.

Defining and communicating the values that underpin your digital culture is critical if you are to build employee engagement and alignment. Leadership must be its most passionate advocates.

However, the change also needs to translate into tangible business outcomes, achieved through changes in process, KPIs, and recognition systems that reward the right behaviours.

Bust the silos

Mini-empires are a huge killer of cultural change efforts. Empires create borders, which create silos, hindering how information travels between teams, leading to varied goals and ambitions. It’s imperative that these borders are broken down and collaboration between teams becomes the new norm. In short, best practice and capability needs to be shared by all.

Often, employees are not even aware of others in their activity chains who may be outside of their function or responsibility area, which can lead to duplication and inconsistency. Join them up. Unite them around the customer need and promote the flow of information between them through either shared physical workspaces, virtual collaboration spaces, or common goals.


Sometimes, resistance to change simply comes from a lack of understanding. When you talk about what digital means, people may nod and smile, but that doesn’t mean they truly understand it. Those who aren’t digitally born can learn.

Therefore, key to driving a digital mindset in any workforce is education, upskilling and action. A program combining mobile learning, forums for discussion, speaking events, and encouragement to experiment and apply digital principles to everyday work will go a long way.

When it comes to upskilling, add digital competencies to your skills framework and assess your organisation’s maturity.

Decentralise decision making

Key to creating a successful digital culture is decentralising decision making, ensuring that those who are close to your customers and data are able to make decisions autonomously, rather than going through rigorous decision-making processes.

Empowering and trusting people to make the right decisions frees your company to move quickly and not lag in the face of change. Over time, this empowerment will perpetuate itself as teams take ownership over their projects and outputs, pushing themselves to provide more value to your customers.

Rather than encouraging big decisions that cannot be changed, incentivise your teams to make smaller decisions at a faster pace. It’s also important to minimise the number of decisions that cannot be revoked, which is exactly what digital technology enables you to do through making small investments that can have a big impact.

Encourage team diversity and openness

Diversity within teams encourages new and novel solutions to hard problems. As a leader, you need to be focused on diversity of thinking. This enables organisations to identify new ways of doing things through varied perspectives working together.

Make sure diversity of thought is both applauded and protected. Do not allow the status quo to dilute or, worse, intimidate and quash fresh perspectives.

To encourage diversity of thinking, identify skill gaps and style gaps, and hire people to fill them. Actively look to hire people who will cause some friction and prompt debate. Through bringing different strengths and ideas to the table, employees will be able to engage and work with one another, while also challenging themselves and their peers, developing new and innovative solutions as your company digitally transforms itself.

Focus on delivery

Digital delivery is a whole new kettle of fish. Cloud enables an extremely cost-effective and quick way to market.

Being able to cost-effectively deliver smaller chunks of value is an incredibly powerful thing. For one, ascertaining buy-in from other leaders within the organisation becomes a much easier task, because you are effectively offering them bite-sized chunks of value for small amounts of money, which traditionally was just not possible.