We Are the Champions: 5 Benefits of Advocates in Digital Transformation

Digital transformation means bringing people along with you on a journey. Ensure there are fewer bumps along that road by nominating champions for change.

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| Read time: 3 mins


advocate, noun.

A person who supports or speaks in favour of something, esp. a proposal or doctrine.

- 0xford English Dictionary


Change of any sort for organisations means bringing people along with you. It requires buy-in.

We are, all of us, inherently unpredictable after all, and change - especially change to established processes, systems and ways of working, are not always guaranteed to be met with open arms, and senior leadership being carried shoulder-high around the building as great heroes of progress.

We all have our idiosyncrasies, views, priorities, opinions and levels of engagement - we don’t always embrace change naturally, and even when we do our levels of positivity towards it can fluctuate as projects progress.

And so too with digital change. Depending on its size and scale, digital change as a form of transformational change will impact almost every aspect of an organisation - from day-to-day operations, to broader shifts in processes and company culture.

Happily, should it need to be said, in a very positive way.

And that is why advocates are so important.

Those people within your organisation who will champion, who will mediate, who will communicate, who will cheerlead, who will articulate, and ultimately help to ensure the long-term success of your project.

Herein lies an opportunity for forward-thinking cemetery owners and managers.

While change should be driven from the top with involvement from the decision-makers, you have others within your organisation - whether an IT lead, or a project sponsor - that are well placed to champion the cause - compelling your digital vision across the entire organisation.

And that is why identifying capable members of your staff who you believe may share the desire to affect change is so important. This is their chance to stand up and make a very significant contribution to the future of your cemetery. 

By nominating advocates, you’re in effect creating de facto leaders who can inspire and motivate others to get involved and contribute positively to the ongoing success of the project.

But you are busy and time is of the essence, so let's get straight to 5 quick reasons to why advocates are you best enablers for managing a digital transformation:


1. To motivate and inspire.


Advocates, or champions, can serve as role models to other members of the team. They don’t necessarily need to be in a position of authority, per say, but their passion for, and commitment to, the project can inspire others to move from passive observers to become active participants.

Again, thinking of that workplace culture element, ultimately, this can help to create a positive and motivating environment that encourages individuals to strive for excellence as part of the wider group.


2. To influence and persuade


When we talk about influence and persuasion, we’re not talking about subterfuge or stratagem, rather articulating compelling ideas, or sometimes complex concepts in a persuasive and - there’s that word again - inspiring way.

Your champions should ideally possess strong communication and persuasion skills and so choosing those with the ability to influence others can be crucial in gaining support, and buy-in by convincing your stakeholders about the importance and benefits of your transformative initiative.


3. To problem solve and innovate


Whether it’s a team leader, an IT lead, or an operations manager, or an office administrator, these are people who excel in problem-solving and innovation.

By nominating advocates who display these strengths, you’re bringing attention to those who can think creatively, find solutions to challenges, and contribute fresh ideas to improve processes or outcomes.

In this way, they can play a crucial role in identifying potential roadblocks and help in developing solutions - whether it's resistance from staff, or technical issues, they can help in navigating some of the complexities you may encounter.


4. To help build teams


Your champions can play a key role in team building. Those who are naturally collaborative and supportive in their work style - not to mention logical and idea-orientated - can help you to foster a sense of teamwork and cohesion within and between groups.

Quite often transformation necessitates change within and between teams, so it is important to have those that will help to create harmony throughout.

Remember - collaboration not only leads to better outcomes, but also strengthens the bonds among team members for mutual benefit - for ‘the greater good’,  one might say, to be mildly dramatic for a moment.


5. To facilitate communication


And this is perhaps one of the most important reason you need advocates. Communication must travel both ways and that means that leaders have to listen too.

Whether it’s stakeholders in finance, operations, family services and admin - they will all have insights that you don't. Their feedback is essential to your success, so it is important that you take it.

Advocates within those teams are well placed to communicate messages not only from the top down, but also from the bottom up (and between!), acting as a conduit that ensures the flow of information goes both ways - bridging any potential communication gaps.


Ensuring digital transformation success


At the outset of any process of digital transformation there may be those signalling that they wish to cling to those spreadsheets, lot cards, paper maps, legacy tools and outdated processes, but given the right stewardship through the work of advocates and champions, they can be some of your greatest assets. 



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