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By Monica E. Oss

Digital transformations are, at best, a challenge for health and human service organizations (see Does Your Organization Need A Digital Transformation? Is Your Team Ready?). Just the mention that Amazon or Google are doing something in the health care space and the traditional giants in the field react. (For more on the recent moves by these market makers, see Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway & J.P. Morgan Chase To Form Independent Health Care Company, Google Will Provide A Validated Mental Health Screening Tool Online, and Google & J&J Will Create Surgical Robots).

Digital transformation “is achieved when the digital usages which have been developed enable innovation and creativity and stimulate significant change within the professional or knowledge domain” (see Does Your Organization Need A Digital Transformation? Is Your Team Ready?); this concept is affecting many facets of the health and human service field. There is the reinvention of staffing models (see Planning For The Digital Reinvention Of Your Market and After ‘Reinventing’ The CFO, It’s The CIO’s Turn); of primary care (see Virtual Health As Strategy-Starting With Telehealth and The Primary Care Reinvention); and of therapy delivery (see Does A Digital World = Digital Addiction Treatment? and The Emerging Digital Treatment Era). These are all challenging transitions.

From the c-suite perspective, the strategic question is what digital transformations (and new technology) should be the focus of organizational investment. What investments will improve competitive advantage and sustainability? To make those decisions, executive teams need a strategy that is market-focused and metrics-informed (for more, see The Enablers Of Competitive Advantage).

I’ve been thinking a lot about what organizational competencies are needed to make that new digital model a reality once those strategic decisions have been made. One ingredient is leaders who can manage complexity (see Coping With Increasing Management Complexity). Another is on-going metrics-based performance management (see Performance Management Needs Performance-Driven Leaders). Another is best practice technology implementation plans (see Don’t Implement Tech In A Bubble: Consider Your Strategy).

But I would add one more organization competency to this list—digital dexterity, or “the ability and desire to exploit existing and emerging technologies for better business outcomes” (see 4 Steps To Develop Digital Dexterity In Your Workplace). When it comes to strategic initiatives that involve some digital re-engineering, I’ve seen the lack of “digital dexterity” among managers as a key reason for investments failing to achieve their full potential.

So how to build digital dexterity in an organization? The recent piece, 4 Steps To Develop Digital Dexterity In Your Workplace, by Gartner, is a great “cheat sheet” for executive teams looking to build digital dexterity in their organization. Is your management team doing what is needed? Here are a few questions you should be asking about your organization:

Are your managers champions for digital innovation?

  • Do your management team members embrace new technologies?
  • Do they have “hands on” experience with the technologies that you have or are planning to put in place?

Are your leaders adding “digital dexterity” to their list of personal professional competencies?

  • Does your organization invest in people with digital competencies and the related workforce analytics?
  • Does your management team have a “growth mindset?”

Does your executive team have a plan for building and enhancing digital dexterity?

  • Does your organization have a digital vision and digital strategy with business partners?
  • Is there a “model” for experimenting with new service models that involve digital technologies in your organization?

The work of leaders in a changing landscape is never done—and most executives will need to add digital dexterity to that list of competencies to be developed across the organization. Whatever your organization’s current state of digital dexterity, this is about continuous metrics-based improvement. For more, check out these resources from the OPEN MINDS Industry Library: The Emerging Digital Treatment Era, Digital Tech Cutting Edge – Moving From Smartphone App To Wearable, ‘Going Digital’ For A Better Consumer Experience, and The Digital Revolution In Mental Health Hasn’t Happened Yet.

And for even more, join OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Joseph P. Naughton-Travers, Ed.M. for his Executive Seminar, Making The Right Tech Investments For Your Organization: An Executive Seminar On Technology Budgeting & Planning, on February 13 in Clearwater, Florida.

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