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For businesses around the world, ensuring that employees develop digital skills and digital mindsets to keep up with — and even get ahead of — our modern world is becoming increasingly important. But how can employees develop these skills, and what even is a digital mindset? To answer these questions, we reached out to a company that’s made fostering a digital mindset a priority, and an employee who is helping them do so.

“At Eaton, we talk about a digital mindset as our ability to leverage data, digital tools and processes to create value for our customers while operating with agility,” said Cindy Fisher, Eaton’s Vice President of Global Learning and Culture. “We must foster both the mindset and skill for it to work. We believe that a digital mindset is so critical to the future of our company that we’ve baked it into our Eaton leadership model, defining expectations for all of our employees,” she elaborated.

Currently, it’s rare to find companies that aren’t looking to build digital mindsets in employees, as Fisher said, “It’s now a baseline expectation for all of us, regardless of your role.”

As for how to develop a digital mindset, Fisher notes, “You must first personalize what this means for you: Where are you on the continuum today? Do you operate with agility? Are you strong at data analysis? Do you leverage customer input to innovate and solve problems? Are you comfortable with digital tools? Can you act with speed and pivot quickly? Do you view mistakes as opportunities to learn?”

After asking yourself these questions and figuring out where you are, the next step is determining how to move forward. This step “might be about actually developing a skill to enable you, or it could be about building comfort with operating in a new way,” noted Fisher. “This will be an individual journey for each of us, and we must determine which skills and mindsets are the most critical to our work and then create a plan to develop them.”

Fairygodboss reached out to Fisher to learn more about how she is helping to lead digital transformation at Eaton. 

Tell us about your job.

I’m the Vice President of Global Learning and Culture for Eaton. Our team is responsible for developing and driving a comprehensive learning strategy for the company — defining the key capabilities for both business and employee growth and continuing to evolve our culture.

I’ve been lucky to have a long career at Eaton — I’m celebrating 21 years this month! I started my career as part of the HR development program and spent the first 10 years in traditional HR management roles. From there, I developed a passion for talent management and organization effectiveness and have spent the last 10 years doing work in this space, which I absolutely love. 

Why is Eaton’s digital transformation important?

Eaton is an intelligent power management company, which means we're well-positioned to play a leading role in the digital transformation that is happening within our world today. In its simplest form, digital at Eaton is about leveraging data and insights to create new value for our customers. We also apply that same focus and mindset to how we work internally to ensure that all of us, regardless of role, can leverage data and insights to enhance our work and productivity.

We have a goal to deliver $500 million in incremental revenue and 10% in productivity improvements from our digital initiatives by 2025. To achieve these goals, we’re focused on four enabling pillars around which our teams are actively making progress: New Business Models, Digital Customer Experience, Factory of the Future and Functional Productivity. 

We’ve taken clear steps to position ourselves for success in the digital space and are extremely excited about what the future holds!

During periods of transformation, what are the top three skills every leader needs to be successful?

Transformations are always difficult, and digital transformation calls for an even bigger shift in mindset and skills. When you’re a leader, it’s about fostering an environment where your team can navigate this shift.  

  1. We must have the ability to inspire and communicate the vision in a way that motivates and excites our teams. There will be hard moments, and, as leaders, we must inspire through those moments. We can’t opt out and say it’s someone else’s vision — we must personalize the vision for our teams.  

  2. We must be empathetic and ensure that we are listening to our teams, customers and stakeholders. Our ability to understand multiple points of view and integrate those perspectives into any transformation is critical.  

  3. Finally, agility and resilience are key. We must model open-mindedness and foster agility in all that we do. Nothing is ever final, and our ability to be open to change and shift in the moment with a continuous improvement mindset will serve us and our teams well.

What qualities or skills do you look for in job seekers who are looking to begin a career in digital at Eaton?

At Eaton, we are actively looking for candidates for all of our professional roles who have a digital mindset — These candidates are agile, have a desire to learn new things, are bold enough to take calculated risks to learn fast and exhibit the ability to use data and innovation to solve complex problems. Specifically, within the Digital Office, we have critical openings for solutions architects, software engineers, data scientists and data engineers and devsecops (development, security and operations). These roles are key for us to drive our digital strategy and achieve our digital organizational goals.

What has ultimately led you to stay and grow your career with Eaton? 

My career is a bit unusual for my generation — I’ve spent a full 21 years at the same company.  But every time I needed a new challenge or opportunity, Eaton made it happen. 

I’ve had a variety of experiences at Eaton. I’ve worked in manufacturing sites and corporate environments, experienced several different go-to-market strategies, participated on multiple integration teams and held short-term international assignments and multiple global roles. 

I’ve been able to develop across a myriad of experiences that most of my peers had to get by jumping companies. Eaton has afforded me the ability to have a diverse set of experiences without having to leave the people and culture that I love.

Why do you like working at Eaton?

Eaton’s number one asset is our people. When you ask someone why they stay with Eaton, many times, the answer is that they LOVE the people they work with.

We are a values-based company that lives those values every single day, as evidenced by some of the awards we have won recently, including Ethisphere Magazine’s 2021 World’s Most Ethical Companies, Fortune’s 2021 World’s Most Admired Companies list, Forbes’ America’s Best Employers for Women 2020 list and 3BL Media’s 100 Best Corporate Citizens of 2021.

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