Harald Schirmer - es kommt nicht nur darauf an, was wir tun, sondern WIE wir es tun!

Digital Transformation is not a project!

Thoughts about change, projects and a better way to deal with something new … People Development

You can’t get around digital transformation anymore. So far so good. Now the strategists think of how to react, what to do and where to go. It seems a natural reaction to start a „Digital Transformation Project“. Projects are a known method, structured, including return on investment (#roi) and Key performance indicators (#kpi), milestones, having an assigned core team to drive it and ideally a good sponsor.


But this is not the way to do a transformation into something, most people don’t have a clue about, in an unpredictable world (called VUCA). A world where the successful players are experimenting, driving agility to its limits, betting on vague ideas and taking substantial risks, to win the next level. … And they usually do that in weeks or month / while our typical project are ready to roll out after 3 years… maybe?


Digital Transformation MUST NOT be a project!

  1. It is an absolute C-Level task … you can not delegate it
  2. Everyone needs to be involved … not just some stakeholders
  3. Experiment and fluently learn…you can not set clear, long term targets
  4. Experience the new options and build on them …ROI becomes visible afterwards… there is no formula for upfront
  5. Engage for an ongoing process …it will not be over soon (or in 3 years)
  6. It is necessary for all functions to self-re-invent … don’t rely on the available functions (they will self protect from change)
  7. If you stick to the original plan – you miss the magic left and right
  8. The influence from „everywhere“ is just to big and vital

Digital Transformation requires Personnel Development first!

If all you know is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail! So please do not expect from people, who founded their career on a set of methods, to – all the sudden – question them and jump into something uncertain, new, unpredictable …

Digital Transformation is – most of all – a dramatic change in how we do things (our processes), how we interact (communication & collaboration) and what our value creation will be (products / services / platforms / environments). Our tools will change, our „material“ will change, customers are changing, as well as suppliers and even the competitors. That not enough, the speed and number of involved people (and machines) will dramatically increase. Which is not so new… this is happening since years.

What is the natural way of dealing with something new? (after we have overcome our ignore and fighting phase)
… it’s learning!

No matter what business you are in, no matter what kind of products or service you provide – get on a learning journey. Discover modern communication, new methods of collaboration, new organizational forms, advanced learning methods and take care of your people. Attitude and Mindset are essential here. For a good learning result, people have to be curious and feel (self-)confident. Many companies have Enterprise Social Networks installed already – but still don’t see it’s business impact.

ESN is typically not included in the value creating processes, many leaders are refusing to use it themselves. Enterprise Social Media’s reputation is still „a corporate Facebook“ – meaning private chatting and cat-videos. This is typically because of missing education and role models. The power of networks, tagging, virtual communication and collaboration is the most essential part in global (and even regional) businesses. Our cooperation is already virtual to a huge extend – but is still treated as „not efficient compromise“… which I see as a big mistake.

From Personnel Development (done right) you will enable Organizational Development.

If you achieve to get the right people (starting from C-Level) to not only sponsor, but understand, learn and USE the digital methods – their Top-Down power can extend to every single person in the organization. While in a typical hierarchy, everything needs to be cascaded down, in a mature digital enhanced organization, everyone can interact and co-create on eye level, independent from location and time. Empowering our Top Management will than be a direct influencer for the organizations culture, progress and transformation speed. And this does not take too much effort – but an experienced learning partner. Human Relations (HR) should be in lead here… (also learning it first)

This is what I have been doing for more than a decade now: enabling people on all levels to understand, experience and improve on the power of digitalization. We have so many things available already, and they have proven many times their efficiency, their power and best of all their „humanity“ … we just need to start.

Let’s get on that awesome journey!






Dein Feedback:

6 Antworten

  1. Avatar von vincent chaumerliac
    vincent chaumerliac

    Congratulation for your blog.

    I am using WOL method and exploring what can be done with digital transformation.

    Kind regards

    1. Avatar von haraldschirmer

      Thanks a lot Vincent – #WOL is a Great global movement – happy to see you engaged and welcome to a diverse network of like-minded people

  2. […] LinkedIn 5/16 Gunnar Sohn: Psychopathen Systeme Unternehmen (Netzpiloten); *siehe auch: Harald Schirmer : Digital Transformation is – most of all – a dramatic change in how we do things (our […]

  3. Avatar von Carm Cachia

    very interesting teaser article.

  4. Avatar von haraldschirmer

    Thanks a lot Susi, my apologies – this blog is not a scientific publication, but my way of sharing my thoughts. So they are impulsive, they are sometimes wrong, but therefor I rely on my network to support my working out loud / thinking out loud. I did some corrections, hoping I found the most critical ones 😉 / not knowing if you meant typos, grammar, sense….

  5. Avatar von susi

    The way described is true and important to be aware of.

    It was just really hard to get through the article. With all due respect, may I suggest proof-reading?

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert