If there is a trending topic, it is that of digital transformation, or how to enable the company to adjust to new general playing rules. However, new playing rules means new skills to develop. Towards more flexibility and agility. But have the consequences been properly assessed in terms of associated profiles and conditions for integration? It is not only a question of identifying the right profiles, it is also about creating the right conditions for their effective integration.
Let’s take a simple example of developing Test and Learn practices. The digital world entails a lot of testing and you need to be constantly attentive to the tangible results obtained which can be measured continuously in real time. At the same time, and this is one of its main benefits, it enables users – through a lot of testing – to very quickly and very definitely learn what does and doesn’t work, what the public like, watch, read, really understand, when they click, when they change something, etc. In digital contexts, intuition can sometimes be more important than structured reflection, and reaction more effective than planning. No need to plan everything theoretically, let’s quickly test it and we can see, modify and understand. Test. And learn.
The profiles best suited for managing such learning through working programmes therefore require a combination of specific skills and qualities. They need to be curious, open, mobile and pragmatic. Attentive to all the market signals. Capable of very quickly questioning themselves. Humble in the face of adversity. So very different from the elite profiles that have been valued for so long, especially by the big French companies, more capable of very structured advance thinking and methodical planning over the long-term… redundant here by their very nature!
Understanding and recognising this however will not be enough. Because beyond identifying and training potentially different profiles, they will also have to develop the very culture of the company in order to enable them to express themselves over the long-term. That, of course, is the tricky part. Everyone is in agreement in theory about being more flexible and faster… but not necessarily ready to accept the actual consequences! A lot of testing inevitably involves making a lot of mistakes. And learning through working implies not knowing and accepting it. Are our structures ready collectively? Are they not still too often – deep down – scared of making mistakes and fearful of failure? Do they not long to be in control and obsess about getting things right?
We all need to be more flexible in fact. Meaning being more tolerant of errors. All the more so in a world where everything is becoming even faster… but where it has also never been so easy to rectify mistakes.
If we want to really succeed together, should we not first collectively learn to fail?