Using technology to build a great finance culture

As we adapt to a future where our work, leisure and social lives are immersed in technology, some companies are looking at ways to create a digital culture, which is inclusive and enhances their organisation’s values. MindNavigator’s Chief Development Officer, Ami Cook, comments in Chief Future Officer.

“Most organisations develop systems and technologies as a way of supporting processes, skills development and the way the work gets done,” she says.

“But in many businesses, the way technology is approached doesn’t tackle the more intangible aspects of organisational culture. These include psychology, relationships and social norms; the unwritten group rules that make up that cultural DNA,” she says.

Cook says a better approach is to use tech to build culture by developing and changing how people think, feel and behave. This approach can offer scalability, cost-efficiency and consistency.

Successful cultural change is more likely when a whole-of-business approach is adopted, she says, and when there is good engagement at the executive level.

Cook advises CFOs to be wary of technology solutions purporting to embed cultural change if they don’t enable learning, embed processes and change behaviours. “Technology needs to integrate this into the work environment,” she says.

A tech implementation aiming to achieve cultural transformation should impact both the individual and collective level, she adds.

Cook cites a cultural change project she managed for the Melbourne office of a global technology firm. The 40-people office is a satellite of the business’s Sydney headquarters and those in the Melbourne office felt they were operating separately from head office.

“Staff tended to focus on their own contributions rather than on collaborative, group outcomes. They were also finding it difficult to achieve a sense of purpose and connect to the organisation’s vision,” Cook explains.

She engaged a three-step process to turn around business culture in the Melbourne office.

In the first step, staff completed an online module to learn how to expand their perspective, develop self-awareness and self-mastery and become more conscious about how they operate in the business environment.

This stage of the process is aimed to change staff members’ mindsets and their workplace behaviour.

The process involved an online questionnaire asking each staff member about their core values and motivations. This uncovers what’s driving a person’s behaviour a work.

Then, the team came together as a group to share their insights from Step One.

“Step two deepens relationships with other people, which is part of how culture shifts,” says Cook.

Through the process the team found, despite saying yes to customers’ requests, they failed to meet their expectations.

The cultural change process involved recognising this and setting more realistic goals that the team could meet.

As a result, clients’ expectations were better managed and the team avoided under-delivering against their promises.

In the final step, the learning from Stages One and Two is integrated.

Says Cook: “This process gives people a common language because everyone is going through the system together. The power of using technology is that it achieves consistency across the team.”

© American Express Company 2017
Read this article in full on the Chief Future Officer website .