Dreams of victory

Three years after England faced Italy in the battle to be the champions of Europe, the nation has once again united with dreams of victory. What some people might not realise is that, like football, digital transformation requires strategy, skill, the ability to reflect and react to lessons learned by past attempts. Most importantly, it needs a strong team to drive through change for good.

Setting up a transformation game plan

No football manager would send a team onto the pitch without a clear game plan. So why should managers that are preparing for a digital transformation do so?

Similar to picking a winning team formation, a clear strategy outlines each employee’s role and responsibilities in the transformation and each milestone of the journey . Critically this will include a clear plan of how this will be reached. Without a structured plan in place, it can be easy for employees to lose sight of the final goal. This should therefore be the first element of the project to be created, prior to wider team engagement.

Similar to a player’s position, roles and responsibilities should be divvied up based on specific skills and expertise, as well as capacity. Ensuring the right person is in each role will keep the project on track and delivered to the highest standard.

Just like a squad relies on its coach for direction, a successful transformation project in any sector relies on supportive coaching and direction from management. Throughout the change journey, managers working closely with the team can spot pain points within the business.  These could include a lack of a particular skill that will therefore require training or recruitment, or to act as a sounding board for worries and issues. By resolving these issues swiftly, the team can overcome barriers that may have hindered the project, whilst also feeling supported.

Kicking off a winning project

Despite what many might think, it’s not all about talent, or luck. Instead, those who put in the time to train consistently are more likely to reap the benefits. This is the same for a thriving work environment. For a transformation to be a success, it requires full buy-in from the team.

When undergoing change, it is not uncommon to notice resistance in the workplace. This is particularly true if there are new systems or equipment involved. In cases such as this, employees should conduct regular training. In doing so they will ensure they are up to date with changing equipment and software. This will lead to a confident and competent workforce.

Sometimes, during the delivery of a project, new pinch points may come to light. These will require a change of direction for the journey. Whilst this could feel like a setback, situations like this can be avoided. This is achieved by regular reflection at key stages in the transformation.

Setting key touchpoints throughout the project for managers and leaders to come together is essential. This is especially the case for larger scale projects. Not only does this ensure communication is regularly maintained, but it also provides ample opportunity for areas of concern to be highlighted. If necessary these will be tweaked, saving both time and resources in the long run.

From the top of the table right through to Sunday league tactics, training and timing are all essential elements of the sport. Failure to perfect just one of these components could be the difference between a win or a loss.

So, although it might not seem the most likely comparison, there is a lot that can be learnt when watching the Euros this summer. From lessons in management, communication, planning and delivery, avoiding an own goal should be easy.