Cultural Connection

Cultural Connection – 7 Reasons Why Cultural Fit Is Essential For Interim Digital Transformation Success

Across all areas of the commercial landscape companies are succumbing to pressure to bring about lasting transformation of key business processes in order to keep pace with the rapid pace of digital technologies.

Driving this change are a range of long-term strategic objectives, often involving:

  • Embracing digital ways of working
  • Streamlining existing business processes
  • Evolving brand and technology to engage a younger, digitally-savvy customer base
  • Driving customer loyalty via apps, digitization and self-serve business models

To successfully deliver digital transformation programs, companies often turn to project-specific interim teams – change specialists who can provide an injection of know-how into the business and guide teams towards desired outcomes.

The right team is essential to achieving success – transformation teams should be seasoned experts with both the commercial and technical acumen to reach complex objectives.  

But as well as possessing the hard skills and experience necessary to match project specifications, it’s vital that interim teams fit culturally within an organisation.

Without a cultural connection, even technically flawless transformation initiatives can miss the mark by failing to create a long-lasting impact and producing sub-par ROI.

Here are 7 reasons why cultural fit is a must for interim digital transformation success:

  • 1. Communication

When it comes to interim teams working inside a business for durations between 6 and 24 months, ‘cultural fit’ runs deeper than a basic adherence to a company’s value statement or a profession to temporarily get behind the organisation’s stated long-term mission.

A true cultural match means a shared approach to teamwork and collaboration that enables seamless integration with existing teams and project-specific resources.

This means fitting into the business, connecting with key people, and becoming part of a core group that can effectively alter the way the wider organisation works.

Communication is central to this cultural cohesion.

Teams with strong cultural alignment will have similar approaches to communication, both within their teams and to engage wider project stakeholders.

Whether it’s meeting frequency, structure, communication channels or collaboration tools, teams work best when there is a common approach to sharing information, tracking progress and reporting.

An interim team parachuted into a business with a strongly contrasting communication style will not only struggle to reach project objectives, they’ll fail to engage stakeholders and gain critical momentum and support for the change initiative overall.

  • 2. Creating shared goals

SMART objectives or OKRs? Complex frameworks or high-level objectives only?

The way teams approach structuring and allocating goals and KPIs to deliver projects successfully binds them in a cohesive blueprint for success.

Teams with experience working under similar frameworks can settle in fast and focus on delivery, without having to adapt to new ways of monitoring and assessing their work.

On the flip side, teams supposedly working collaboratively to deliver a complex transformation of key business processes who lack a common understanding of goal-setting can find it hard to settle into a rhythm, and may find internal discussion around project processes overshadowing vital progress.

  • 3. Defining autonomy levels

The level of independence either granted to or expected of team members can impact productivity and morale across internal and external teams.

Hands-off vs hands-on management styles or regular reporting structures vs trust-based, light-touch models can all drag focus away from project progress if there is not enough initial synergy between teams.

Teams who are comfortable and experienced operating within the same basic frameworks can focus on priority deliverables without the friction and politics of mis-aligned expectations around working styles.

  • 4. Creating environment for change

Successful transformational change usually is usually driven by C-suite leaders who clearly and compellingly articulate the rationale for change to internal and external stakeholders.

An effective change program in which legacy processes are abandoned requires an environment which enables this change, allowing both employees and customers to ‘buy into’ the reasons for change and embrace the new ways of operating.  

Building an interim team which fits naturally into the creation of this environment is critical to the evangelisation of the transformation initiative as well as the implementation, and cultural fit has wide-ranging impacts across the business both during the change project and afterward.

  • 5. Introducing change

Cultural fit with companies and organisations going through transformational change often centres around the personality and attitude of key interim people who are helping achieve things.

A committed, culturally-aligned team helps businesses to more effectively communicate their reasons for change, introducing specialist talent to the business who can not only deliver project objectives from a skills standpoint, but also be vital ambassadors reinforcing the need for the need for change.

  • 6. Attracting Talent 

Great people want to work with other great people, and the most successful business transformation teams either know each other, are built through referrals or have worked on projects before.

In many cases, cultural fit among key change team members trumps market-specialist knowledge – transformation can be achieved across industries, with sector-expert resources brought in as needed to support the project.

For a business looking to engage a broad-ranging group of employees, partners and customers on a complex change mission, being able to recruit genuine A-players to lead and manage the program is essential.

Offering a culturally harmonious environment where like-minded professionals can operate with maximum efficacy makes assembling the team easier.

  • 7. Ensuring Alignment

Given its impact on overall project outcomes, businesses who prioritise cultural fit when creating interim teams to deliver critical transformation projects unlock a wealth of benefits both during and after the change program.

A skills-focused search which does not take culture into consideration can miss valuable opportunity to build more effective, efficient teams – capable not only of delivering change programs on budget and within schedule, but of leaving a legacy of expertise and a lasting footprint across the organisation.

Culturally aligning interim teams involves three key steps:

  • Define – does the hiring company have a strong understanding of its own ways of working, it’s collaboration frameworks and cultural ‘DNA’?

Without a concrete definition of what ‘cultural fit’ means for the hiring organisation, reviewing  potential interim team members lacks an effective benchmark.

  • Assess – besides the experience and capabilities to deliver from a hard skills perspective, to interim team members match key elements of corporate culture?

Recruitment and interview processes should include a focus on culture, evaluating not only technical competency but mentality, values and working styles.

  • Integrate – to ensure both permanent and temporary project resources operate under a shared set of cultural expectations, companies entering periods of transformational change must create and share a vision of project delivery with a corresponding vision of how to get there.

By combining goals, communication channels and collaboration expectations, companies can shape the culture which facilitates change, while ensuring that both interim and long-term project stakeholders partner successfully for enduring impact.


About Capex

CAPEX Human Capital are a specialist provider of interim and permanent Change Management and Transformation professionals.

We represent an active network of highly connected independent Change Management & Transformation specialists who provide solutions for Business and IT Change, Digital Transformation, Expansion, Development, Business Innovation, Breach of Regulations and Compliance, Critical Solutions, Business Agility, Cost Optimisation and more.

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