HomeFuture of WorkDigital HRDigital TransformationAre you ready for the fourth industrial revolution?

Are you ready for the fourth industrial revolution?

  • 6 Min Read

The fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) is upon us with the proliferation of technology disrupting industries and changing the workplace forever. The complexity, speed and scope of Industry 4.0 is unprecedented and businesses must act now to ride the wave of opportunity.

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Deloitte recently discovered that only 14% of the people they surveyed are highly confident their organisations are ready to fully harness the changes associated with Industry 4.0.

However, it is not just digital transformation and technology that changes communications, processes and services but the employees who are the cataylst for transformation. Which is why businesses should support a ‘growth mindset’ culture to encourage employees to have open communications, be challenged, pitch innovative ideas and not to be scared to get it wrong or to fail.

Growth mindset

Society has conditioned us to fear failure and from an early age children are scared to put their hand up in class in case they get the wrong answer, or they don’t try out for a sports team in fear they won’t get in. They may grow up to be individuals with a ‘fixed mindset’ who often can’t accept criticism, don’t like change or challenges, and are scared to fail.

The ‘fixed mindset’ is a common character trait in businesses where employees are scared to get it wrong or to make a mistake because they are accountable, and may even lose their job over it. In today’s workplace, the ‘fixed mindset’ has no place at the table and CEOs and members of the Senior Management team need to advocate and promote a ‘growth mindset’ outlook to withstand the workplace of tomorrow.

Growth mindset was conceptualised by Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University,  originally for students in education but recently has also been adopted by the business world. Business leaders that adopt a growth mindset are open to feedback, place high value on learning and cultivate their own and others’ abilities.

Setting a vision

Companies need to stop and go back to basics and CEOs and their Senior Management teams need to set a vision for the company so everyone knows where they are, where they want to get to, and what values underpin this vision.  It is vital that they champion corporate values and all employees buy into it for success to occur. This helps achieve ‘growth mindset’ by empowering employees and ensuring that they are all on the same page.

One of the biggest challenges in IT is that businesses and IT leaders are often unaware of what is possible with communications technology. It is often a case of ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. A Solutions Provider will guide you on what is possible and help you to align your technology requirements with your objectives, strategy and vision. They will also have the expertise to guide you through a change management process helping you to adapt to a new culture and environment.

Open and innovative culture

Growth mindset is about fostering an open and innovative culture to encourage open communications and establish a sharing ethos. If employees don’t talk to each other in different departments and share what they are working on, then they can’t work in synergy.

It is often not just about the lack of communication between the different departments but also the lack of ownership of a new technology which can lead to internal politics. Also, if employees don’t know how to use a solution then they don’t know how to share the data so training on technology is vital.

Don’t be scared to fail

Create an open culture where employees are urged to share ideas about the different ways technology can be used in, discovering new ways of working, new products and services. They need to have the courage to speak out and not to be afraid of being told it is a bad idea or it won’t work. Employees need the confidence and autonomy to see if their ideas will succeed or not, and not be diminished if it does fail. As Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm.”

Listen to employees when selecting new technology to see what they require to improve their jobs and customer service. A Solutions Provider will work closely with different business units and will ask them what their needs are, what will empower them to do their jobs more effectively and will design and deploy the technology to best serve these needs to provide the best solution for business as a whole.

Risk can be reduced with new technology by setting up pilots to evaluate how it works and what results it will deliver. A Solutions Provider will work with you to set up agile, small tests before scaling up investment in what’s working.

When rolling technology out it is then advised that you select innovators to champion the technology and evangelise it internally to ensure that everyone uses it to its full potential. It is not enough just to provide new technology, it requires a careful change management process and a coherent user adoption programme to ensure that everyone uses it to its full potential.

Job roles are blurring

The lines of traditional job roles have started to blur already. Historically, IT staff were recruited to focus on a technical remit, now they should drive business processes and efficiency forward and not just IT operations. IT now need to be commercially focused.

Adopting a growth mindset strategy to grow a culture built on learning, creativity and flexibility within today’s changing workplace is rapidly becoming more important. HR can help by  identifying the new attributes required in a candidate, such as someone who relishes challenges, has the ability to adapt and overcome, who continually wants to learn and develop.

As a result of knocking down the silos, a more ‘grassroots bottom-up’ approach will be created where Directors will get more involved in different departments and work with the business overall.  This environment will produce more fluidity within job roles where people will potentially be less pigeonholed into specific roles and will start to become more involved in different departments and roles. This cross-fertilisation has the potential to produce well-rounded, commercially aware employees rather than a staff each focused on a single task. It’s a way to stimulate more ideas, gain new perspectives and obtain valuable feedback that can help business to flourish in news ways.

The end goal

Digital transformation and the results that you want to reap from it takes time, Aashish Gupta, Research Anaylst, Gartner states, “Be patient, fostering a growth mindset culture that requires behaviour changes among your staff takes time. However, the rewards are considerable as everyone perseveres, learns, grows and accepts that potential is nurtured, not predetermined.”

Digital transformation and setting a new culture such as ‘growth mindset’ is an evolutionary journey and is no mean feat. It is advised that you work with a specialist Solutions and Managed Services Provider who will guide you through the change process, enabling you to transition to a new culture and digital transformation seamlessly. They will work closely with you to understand your business, ascertain your needs and select the right technology for your business, so you will be ready for Industry 4.0 and the workplace of tomorrow.

About the author

Jonathan Sharp, Director, Britannic Technologies

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