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When I first heard the term “digital first culture,” I was unimpressed. Don’t we already live in a digital first culture? Most of us use the internet and social media, so I didn’t get it, what was the big deal?

To have a digital first culture, your organization must do more than add nifty technological advancements; it must change the way people work. A digital first culture means something larger than just posting on social media and staying in the know about the latest trends. As Rob Roy states, “A digital transformation isn’t about digitizing a channel or simply doing more things digitally. It’s a much broader scope than that.” 

A digital first culture means putting continued education at the forefront of developmental strategies and having a flexible infrastructure aligned with an ever-evolving world.

  Education is No. 1:

Having dedicated time for individuals in your organization to continue their education, read, and experiment with new tools is critical for maintaining healthy technological advancement. It takes time for people to feel comfortable with changing technologies and the best way to feel comfortable with a new tool or idea is to use it and learn about it. In addition to encouraging learning internally, providing resources and incentives to continue education helps cultivate trust and security within your organization’s community. Some specific examples of how you can inspire this:

  1. Provide workshop opportunities to teach and develop a specific skill, like a workshop on social media marketing or how to manage projects using Slack.
  2. Schedule weekly conversations for employees to discuss new concepts, ideas, and information they learned. Not only does this help share new information but it gets people excited about sharing it.
  3. Ask for internal insights and suggestions. With all the learning happening within the organization, this is a great way to bring new knowledge to the surface and find new ways to solve old problems.

  Data is your superpower:

Data is knowledge. The more data your organization is able to access and utilize, the better decision-making you’ll have. But data can feel overwhelming and overpowering at times because it’s useless without the proper interpretation and action plan. Some of the ways your organization can utilize data:

  1. Let the right person look at it. . 

Having the right staffer on your team interpret data around a specific issue can help by providing facts around decisions. You’re unsure about switching over your current LMS? Have someone who understands how your members use your LMS look at user data to interpret how it is or is not already working for members.

 2. Create strategic approaches to solving your problems. 

Let’s say your new members subscriber rate has been down the last few months. Instead of grasping at straws, look at the data. Where are your current subscribers coming from? What’s changed over the last few months? What is the most effective way to reach new members? These answers can be found by interpreting the data around where each subscriber is coming from and asking why.

  3. Use data to know what is already working, and what needs improvement.

Looking at data can give you a healthy idea about what you’re doing that’s working and what isn’t working so well. As long as you’re recording, tracking, and monitoring changes in data when implementing a new strategy, it should be easy to measure results. This helps to make more well-informed decisions and do more of what works.

   Keep an open mind for new ideas and new systems.

Systems are what can make or break an organization. Having great systems helps to organize success and growth into the core of your association. To create solid systems with technology driving our growth, we need to keep an open mind to try new things. Change can be difficult and even uncomfortable for many people. That’s why using a system to help regularly bring new ideas to the table can be an effective way to keep pushing your organization forward. Some ways of doing this include:

  1. Hold weekly meetings to discuss what’s working and what isn’t working within the organization. This can bring attention to areas that might need innovation and change.
  2. Test something new once every few months and see if it’s a better tool than what’s currently in place . This keeps the culture of the organization oriented on learning and moving forward as technology continues to improve.
  3. Regularly interview members about the things they like about the organization to  gain insight on the quality of the tools you’re implementing internally. This gives an objective perspective of the overall experience and leaves no room for assumptions.

Technology is meant to be a tool for us to work more efficiently. To be a digital first culture means having growth at the core of everything your organization does. It manifests in the tools used and the systems in place that ensure a great experience inside and outside  your association. 

 

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