Digital Leadership

Can any leader declare that they have truly become a digital leader and that their organisation has been fully transformed in the new digital world?  The first problem in making such a declaration is that there is no agreement on what being a digital leader means, and the language even around digital transformation is now only properly developing.

But there are core fundamentals that can be specified, there are essentials that every leader must now take on board if they are to lead their organisation in the digital age.  Digital is an energy force and has to be understood and maximised by leaders otherwise they will fall behind those organisations that become digitally mature.

There is an analogy to the uptake in electricity by enterprises over 100 years ago.  Looking back it seems ridiculous that leaders faced the same dilemmas then.  It seems so obvious now with hindsight that those organisations who didn’t transform to maximise electricity would fail.  The pace of digital uptake and its impact is considered to be doubling every year and so much faster than electricity.  Leaders need to digitally lead now.  They need to digitally transform their organisations now.

So what are the fundamentals? – The first one is that you need to operate within a Digital Transformation Framework.  If you don’t you will be blown off course, you will be distracted, you will choose tactics over strategy, you will not have a golden thread joining up strategy, culture, structure, communication, technology and data.

A digital leader will:-

  • Use data driven analysis rather than subjective analysis
  • Set vision rather than aspiration
  • Develop customer or citizen based strategy rather than inside-out plans
  • Outline coherent action rather than disjointed performance programmes
  • Focus on outcomes rather than outputs

Above all the digital leader will recognise that Digital Transformation is not about technology but about strategy, structure, culture, capabilities and understanding the customer or citizen.

Technology and new digital abilities will allow the leader to have access to data not possible before, will allow the leader to undertake rapid testing not possible before, will allow the leader to interrogate systems not possible before. However, technology is a tool to be used by the leader rather than the endgame.

The biggest mistake being made by leaders is to regard the introduction of new technology and digital capabilities such as web sites, social media and online activity as fulfilling the requirements of digital leadership.

To become a leader capable of leading Digital Transformation in your business or organisation, the use of a Digital Transformation Framework is a must to provide the right structure, order and a “golden thread” to tie strategy, culture, communication and technology together.

For more information on our Digital Transformation Framework click here, or to stay up-to-date with the latest our latest thoughts and guiding advice on Digital Transformation, subscribe to our YouTube channel for weekly updates and Live Stream discussions on Digital Transformation.

Read more by Niall McKeown, here



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