Digital Transformation – 5 Things Every Executive Needs To Know

There are a lot of misconceptions about “digital” that certainly make executing a digital transformation programme feel rather titanesque. It doesn’t help that far too many executives have clung on to old communication habits. Some executives can be heard saying things like:

I am just too busy to get into social media.
If I start on social media, I know I’ll be bombarded, sucked in…
Anyway, what’s wrong with email?

It is hard enough to come to grips with digital when you live and use digital. It’s altogether perplexing when one has no clue how personally to use the devices, tools and platforms. Without the personal experience, digital is not something one can “just understand.” Within an organization, the new digital tools, devices and platforms have an important impact on work processes, governance and organization. Yet, the biggest change is one of mindset.

Herewith are some of the typical questions executives are most frequently asking themselves about the digital transformation challenge. And, to each question, I wanted to provide one practical piece of advice.

1/ I don’t know where to start?

Start with your key business objectives and consider how and where digital might be an accelerator, facilitator or enhancement for your strategy. There is no point in trying to cover everything at the start. Begin with the some quick wins. Identify people with the highest appetite for digital.

2/ Training is good, but it is not enough

digital transformation - myndset digital strategy

As much as building skills and competencies is important, training is really only a way to scratch the surface. Teaching is much less important than the need (and attitude) of continuous learning. How is learning being embedded into the organization? How are ‘digital’ coaches being nurtured and recognized? Who is helping the top executive with the training that, as a whole, they are loathe to spend time on given their overcharged agendas?

3/ Be the change you wish to see… (courtesy of Ghandi)

The CEO has thrown down the gauntlet (thanks to the solemn advice of a consultancy):

Digital is a top priority
or
We must now spend 10% of our marketing budget on digital

Such ambitions come from the top and, like it or not, these dictates need to be modeled at the top. Digital is not something that can be magically ordered or delegated. If, for example, the CEO decided to blog, he/she had better understand the codes of the blogging world in order to demonstrate an ability to listen, share and interact openly. If the boss doesn’t model the behavior that is expected, the trickle down effect will be decidedly slow and cumbersome. My strong recommendation for any chief executive wishing to promote the digital agenda: first get a good assistant to help/advise and then get on Twitter and Linkedin. {Tweet this!}

4/ Revisit your calendar to rethink how you spend your day

just say no digital transformation - myndset digital strategy

Too many meetings and processes are merely “historical.” In order to accommodate the digital agenda, real change is required, which takes learning and, therefore, time. Find ways to stop doing legacy activities that may no longer be as strategic. As a quick trick, I would like to encourage the change to start at the top of the day: put your trousers on with the other foot (i.e. use the leg you usually stand to slip on your trousers).  Make sure that you do something new digitally every day.

5/ Enjoy the ride!

digital transformation - myndset digital strategy

Rather than look at digital as a “strategic priority” — which may well be the case — look at digital as a legitimate way to have fun. Mixing in personal with professional needs and interests, there are an untold number of ways to use the digital devices and platforms to increase satisfaction, feel a sense of accomplishment. Beyond the seductively sexy ’swipe’ functionality of applications like Jelly (Q&A) or Tinder (dating site), there are ways to stay informed, to learn or be in touch (with friends, family and experts) that can make the digital journey remarkable and thrilling. If you have not already done so, try some of the following to get rolling:

  • Zite, Flipboard or Buzzfeed (to stay informed)
  • TED or the Khan Academy (for learning and inspiration)
  • Snapchat (to stay in touch with your teenager daughter), Twitter (using an executive 140 characters for your messages) or Facetime (for iOS) for staying in touch with family & friends.

If you have a personal passion or interest, try using the #hashtag in Twitter or set up a specific feed in Flipboard or Zite.{Tweet this!} Chances are, you will also find some stimulating speeches about the passion on TED, too.

What do you think?

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One Comment, RSS

  1. yendi November 27, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

    Just say no to all your screens for 4 days, one for each member of your family and that includes yourself. 4 days? 4 hours, 4 minutes?

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