Digital Transformation is a necessary counterpart for an organization to remain agile, relevant and meet the evolving demands of today’s customers. And there is no better example of why than the Covid-19 pandemic. Ready, willing or not, organizations of all sectors and sizes, were forced to speed up their processes and pivot with the health guidelines and mandates that required physical distancing. It is a huge challenge to take on, but a good leader with a solid vision can assist to ensure the transformation is successful.
No one knows this better than Guilherme Loureiro, the CEO of Walmart Mexico and Central America. He and his team have been working on digitally transforming their region’s stores for four years now and despite having made significant strides, there is still a lot that needs to be done. Blanca Treviño, the CEO of Softtek and Guilherme recently had a sit-down conversation where they talked in depth about this topic and the key ingredients for successful digital transformation: commitment, self-transformation, agility and resilience.
When Guilherme first joined Walmart in 2012 in Brazil he knew some form of digital transformation was needed. Those ideas and pieces of information would over time reveal what the company was working towards. Initial resistance to change to the tune of ‘Why change a business that is successful and continually improving every year?’ The answer: to gain market share and efficiency.
Stakeholder buy-in and support is important in turning any idea into a reality and to achieve that people need to understand the vision, one that is clear and easy to grasp. With a short video shared within the company, Guilherme was able to achieve this, allowing others to be more receptive to the idea. Another piece of advice, from Guilherme: If people are working against your vision, consider having an honest conversation with them about why, and reach an agreement if it is best to move forward or part ways.
For something so dynamic like digital transformation to be a success, it is paramount that everyone is on the same page.
Significant change to any organization must begin with top management. Guilherme knew this and found a coach to make the necessary changes within himself to further assist in the digital transformation of the company. Being in a controlled environment was what he was used to, but he learned early on in the digital transformation process that this methodology was not going to work. “If you want to be digital, agile, customer-centric, the world of today, and have [an] end-to-end view, ‘command and control’ doesn’t fit,” said Guilherme. Digital transformation is all about listening to others and accepting change to grow the organization and be more resilient.
During a business trip to London, Guilherme had a conversation with a CFO about how success is achieved. The CFO had a quick response to this question: Resilience. Things are not always going to go as planned; how the company bounces back from mistakes is more important. Many obsess over being perfect or not speaking up until everything is planned, but that doesn’t help the organization grow. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and celebrate the lessons learned, because to transform you must perform.
Commitment, self-transformation, agility and resilience are all key ingredients in the ‘secret sauce’ for implementing digital transformation in an organization. It is a long and challenging process, but the results are rewarding. After four years Walmart Mexico and Central America has achieved 20% of its transformation and is working every day to increase its growth to further become customer centric and efficient.