People Make or Break Digital Transformation

Building a smarter business starts with your business’ employees. This is where digital transformation must begin. A sustainable business model must, at its foundation, ensure that the right people are aligned with the right roles.



The  digital maturity of the people that make up your business matters. This will determine your business’ success when your business is faced with change and disruption.

Traditional approach to employee alignment

  • Delegation
  • Training
  • Deployment
  • Secondment

Digital approach to employee alignment

  • Assessing digital maturity
  • Alignment of employees to the right roles and responsibilities

Contributors to successful employee alignment

  • How and what your employees communicate,
  • Your employee’s behaviour, approach and willingness to adapt and learn
  • When recruiting employ the right employees and ensure that they are aligned to the right roles and responsibilities.

This will make the real difference and have the biggest impact on success across the business.

Which employee types do you recognize?

The ‘Elastic’ Employee


  • They are flexible and as a result embrace new opportunities and projects
  • ‘Elastic’ employees always have their hands up to take on a new challenge and  lead new ventures.
  • They will ‘bend and stretch’ in many directions and they are almost always resilient
  • When you need to get something done ‘elastic’ employees are your ‘go to’ people
  • ‘Elastic’ employees get increasingly frustrated by ‘plastic’ and ‘jigsaw’ employees.
  • The need  of the ‘elastic’ employee to get things done can create friction in the workplace.
  • ‘Plastic’ and ‘jigsaw’ employee will push back  when the lead of the ‘elastic’ employee is seen as too demanding
  • Will become disenchanted if he/she does not have the emotional intelligence to lead the ‘plastic’ and ‘jigsaw’ employee to gain their trust and confidence.

The ’Plastic’ Employee

  • The ‘plastic’ employee has been moulded by the culture of the business.
  • They are dependable, consistent and you can trust them to follow the company line.
  • The ‘plastic’ employee is dedicated and rote in the way they conduct themselves.
  • They thrive in a consistent environment that follows processes and procedures to the letter.
  • The pros of the ‘plastic’ employee will likely become cons very quickly when the business is disrupted or embarks on a digital transformation journey.
  • The sturdy, dependable ‘plastic’ employee will therefore push back on initiatives if they require them to adopt new ways of doing things.
  • If the business has ‘plastic’ employees predominantly in senior management roles the business will consequently struggle to be nimble and agile.

The ‘Jigsaw’ Employee

  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee is trained by the business for the business.
  • This employee is usually a long time employee.
  • They are an employee that has been either trained by the company or one that has been in the industry all their working life.
  • This employee knows the way it has to be done and as a result does their job well.
  • The experience and competency they bring to the business is especially relevant.
  • They are dependable and their performance is consequently consistent.
  • When a ‘jigsaw’ employee is placed in the right role in the right business unit they are seen as team players.
  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee is usually liked and respected by their peers.
  • They are comfortable in their own skin and most of all are non-threatening.
  • When change is experienced in a business the ‘jigsaw’ employee will either be resistant or avoid it.
  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee in the same role in the same business division will not evolve because this will reinforce the behaviour you are trying to change.
  • If the ‘jigsaw’ employee feels that change will move the parameter of where they see their skill set and experience their performance will almost always decline.
  • A ‘jigsaw’ employee will quickly become the piece that does not fit when they are expected to do things that as a result will take them out of their comfort zone.
  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee that was once well liked, consistent and experienced, while still valuable, now seems like they are uncooperative.
  • They are also probably more likely to default to ‘doing things the way they have always been done’.
  • The ‘jigsaw’ employee would rather shy away from embracing new ways of achieving outcomes for the business when faced with change..

Invest in your employees first! Value and recognize their importance and relevance as the key to unlocking your business’ success in digital transformation.

Why people make or break digital transformation

  • Your employees are especially relevant as they are the lifeblood of your business and technology is the enabler.
  • If you do not transform your employees your digital transformation journey will almost certainly be flawed and may stall.
  • The secret is to identify your ‘elastic’, ‘plastic’ and ‘jigsaw’ employees as your first step in your digital transformation journey.
  • The next step is to recognize where they add value, where they don’t and how they can or can’t contribute to your changing business model.

Originally posted 2016-08-17 17:42:49.

Please share and like us: