CIO Agenda 2020: Is Your Culture Adaptable?

Ensure your company is fit, not fragile, by building a workforce that can adapt to rapid change.

Thirty-eight percent of fit organizations say their culture embraces appropriate risk taking and learning from failure, as compared to just 21% of fragile organizations.

Fit enterprises see uncertainty as a guarantee and develop a culture prepared to adapt to changing environments. This helps these organizations accelerate through — and succeed beyond — that uncertainty, where their fragile counterparts might slow down and fail. 

The elements of a change-ready culture from the Gartner CIO Agenda 2020

With a constantly changing digital environment, organizations need an agile culture that embraces change and adapts to current conditions, including allowing for risks and failure. An organization optimized too tightly for a stable environment will not be able to flex when it needs to during a transformation. 

This means organizations need workforces that are capable of change and adaptation. In fact, with increasingly frequent transformations, the ability to change becomes the No. 1 capability of the workforce. A clear strategy and good leadership will only get a company so far if its workforce can’t flow and adapt to new business challenges — adaptability must be ingrained in the culture. 

Thirty-four percent of fit organizations describe the existence of an explicit and pervasive learning culture. Because much transformation is driven by technology changes, the CIO and IT team have large roles to play in ensuring a culture of continuous learning and change. Organizations should value this mindset of continual learning and agility over technical or specific expertise. This encourages constant adaptation, versus only adapting when forced to by the market.

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