Is Team Size a Chief Indicator in Digital Transformation Success?

“Success rates… vary by company size. At organizations with fewer than 100 employees, respondents are 2.7 times more likely to report a successful digital transformation than are those from organizations with more than 50,000 employees.” (Unlocking success in digital transformations by McKinsey & Co.)

From Barry’s days as a basketball coach to Traci’s work in organizational development, we’ve noticed the proliferation of content in recent years about teams. Adam Grant examined the Heat’s success, Bill Gates talked about his superpower as the ability to build great teams, and Phil Jackson’s tenet: no man is an island. Belonging and support hit an inflection point with the work of Brene Brown and have filtered into marketing campaigns and brand statements all across the globe.

As businesses transition to digital first paradigms, teams and organizational structures become even more important to the success on organizations. Digital transformation is hard. When organizations undergo digital transformation, they’re voluntarily signing up for everything that doesn’t work to be eliminated or changed. It’s supposed to be difficult.

So if teams in small organizations statistically outperform teams in larger organizations, how can companies create successful teams no matter the size of the organization?

Experts in technology say companies who have successful digital transformations use technology more often than those who fail.

Makes sense; however, it only shows the technical side of the obstacles.

Here’s why small teams can be more effective:

Clear, defined goals

In smaller organizations, goals must be clear and defined in order to maximize the amount of resources available. At any company a project taken has to lead to an ROI quickly. Small companies don’t have as much ability to rebound if it doesn’t work out.

Here’s how you can make it work for you:

Stick to a more disciplined approach, but make it realistic. In the Agile Framework, stand-ups and Missouri’s offer teams an added level of accountability to ensure they’re following through on what needs to be done. Team members will often take the opportunity to re-calibrate their work so they don’t waste time because they’ve got to report to their team what they’re going to accomplish and what they have accomplished.

Great communication

At small organizations, typically most people work in the same geographic area or are remote with lots of communication throughout the day. At a larger company, there might not be as many opportunities to talk to each other face to face or do team building. Furthermore, if there are language and cultural barriers, team members really have to make an effort to understand what the other person is saying or find common ground. Companies can overcome that obstacle, but it’s very hard to do well.

Here’s how you can make it work for you:

You could read a book together about a relevant topic and schedule a monthly video conference call to discuss it. You could share cute pet photos on your collaboration application. Here are some more options.

Meaningful work

Any work a team at a small organization does will be immediately felt and celebrated by the company. If team members see the fruition of their work, then it creates a positive cycle of work and reward.

Here’s how you can make it work for you:

One of the things we’ve done at ICAP is send our consultants blue boxes on a quarterly basis. It’s a create way to create meaningful experiences for our team. You could also survey your team about how they like to be appreciated, praised, or what makes their work meaningful.

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