Digital Culture is about so much more than the internet and using technology. This idea that digital equals internet, or digital equals computers or digital equals phones… none of that is true. Digital Culture is something that’s infused in our everyday, contemporary business culture.

It’s easy to point to the lack of technology expertise within C-suites and boards. Sure, Fox’s Rupert Murdoch and Virgin’s Richard Branson needed “digital mentors.” But real change doesn’t come from chief executive officers using Twitter, Instgram and Facebook; it comes from adopting Digital Culture based values —from the top down.

Efficient and effective organisational structures and cultures power growth. Certainly the way that new companies embrace digital culture—even those outside tech industries—offers lessons.

We believe businesses must adopt agility, collaboration, empowerment, and an intense focus on the customer. Amazon’s famous ‘two-pizza’ teams embodied these values, and they paid off for the Web’s biggest retailer during a time of intense competition. (Founder Jeff Bezos believed that any team that couldn’t be fed with two pizza pies was too large.)

The inherent advantages of a Digital Culture are also apparent in contrast. Big businesses can lose sight of commercial and customer imperatives within silos. Their work environments and hierarchies may inhibit collaboration. Staff may be discouraged from making rapid deployments to test and learn new concepts. Often the HiPPO effect (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) wins support over “Big Data” driven decisions.

According to Yale’s Dr Richard Foster, the long and robust life of business is endangered. “The average lifespan of an S&P 500 company has decreased by more than 50 years in the last century, from 67 years in the 1920s to just 15 years today,” Foster has found. “By 2020, more than three-quarters of the S&P 500 will be companies that we have not heard of yet.”

Management should worry: Organisations with a digital culture are far more adept at disrupting industries and business models. They respond to change faster and a relentless focus on data and their customers keeps them in front.

Digital leaders will adopt up-and-comers’ collaborative strategies, agility, and customer focus. When digital technology catalyses such rapid changes in costs, customer behavior, and revenue, no company can afford to stay still.

As John C Maxwell explains, “a leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”. This incorporates an approach to digital culture which goes beyond merely choosing which IT products to use, and spans every decision made from the highest to the lowest levels of a business.

Across all sectors, businesses that welcome and empower the creative, digital native perspective at every level—especially within the ranks of senior managers and the board—will see digital not as a hurdle, but as the the fast track to remaining on top.

BTM GROUP employs a framework to deliver workplace Digital Culture, capability and collaboration solutions using cultural health analysis, bold ideas, facilitation, cultural health improvement strategy and team training designed to challenge current thinking and explore new and better ways of achieving your objectives.

Any culture can be changed.

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