JOFF.

Leadership in times of digital transformation

In addition to its impact on our personal lives, the digital screen is transforming business and organisational landscapes, opening up access to global markets and communities of interest, uncovering new pricing models, revolutionising the placement and distribution of products, transforming media, facilitating greater collaboration and efficiency within the organisation, and empowering consumers to demand new, customer-centric models. A model led by leaders with strong digital capabilities, a skillset coined e-leadership. The question remains to be asked about what our expectations are for e-leadership in a post-pandemic world?

Collectively it’s important for our future that we prepare executives to operate in a digital environment. Effective e-leadership will be key to leveraging the strategic opportunity presented by digital disruption and drive sustainable continuous improvement of digital integration.

Successful e-leadership boils down to a matter of trust, ensuring transparency of core values as the major inputs to strategy, and applying best practice methodologies for creating sustainable digital strategies where calculation of return on investment is visibly translated to creating social impact, implementing data modelling that drives business decision making.

In addition to its impact on our personal lives, the digital screen is transforming business and organisational landscapes, opening up access to global markets and communities of interest, uncovering new pricing models, revolutionising the placement and distribution of products, transforming media, facilitating greater collaboration and efficiency within the organisation, and empowering consumers to demand new, customer-centric models. A model led by leaders with strong digital capabilities, a skillset coined e-leadership. The question remains to be asked about what our expectations are for e-leadership in a post-pandemic world?

Collectively it’s important for our future that we prepare executives to operate in a digital environment. Effective e-leadership will be key to leveraging the strategic opportunity presented by digital disruption and drive sustainable continuous improvement of digital integration. 

Successful e-leadership boils down to a matter of trust, ensuring transparency of core values as the major inputs to strategy, and applying best practice methodologies for creating sustainable digital strategies where calculation of return on investment is visibly translated to creating social impact, implementing data modelling that drives business decision making.

So how does an organisation build a roadmap for successful digital transformation? It’s about leveraging human potential. On the inside of the organisation, effective change that leads to digital transformation is On the inside of the organisation, effective change that leads to digital transformation starts with deconstruction of silos to drive innovation and collaboration, enabliing cross-discipline working groups, and driving internal communications through social inputs. For the consumer, this takes form by improving customer relationships through reduction in channel controls, fostering brand advocacy by enhancing the customer experience, making it easier to communicate at both ends of the social ecosystem.

An effective e-leader would drive this change through conducting digital diagnostics to help organisations reflect on their positioning, and providing insights to help translate trends into business opportunities. To stay abreast of this rapidly evolving ecosystem, a strong e-leader would need to collate a repository of resources to stay current on the latest digital trends, strategies, tactics and tools. The very nature of a changing technology landscape calls for organisation’s to remain agile, where collaboration, professional development and a ‘culture of learning’ is embedded into an organisation to Improve digital literacy and build organisational capacity.

A digital mindset for eLeadership

A digital mindset may evolve into full digital integration over time, however the speed of this transformation may be influenced by various externalities, such as changes in the competitive landscape, digital technologies, customer experience, and overall business environment, as well as internalities such as the available talent within the business, and the business size and nature – larger businesses may be slower to change and adapt.

Type of organisation

Traditional companies may realise the necessity of adopting a digital mindset, although their approach to designing an effective strategy would likely vary significantly from that of a digital-native tech startup that has been an innovator in digital integration.

Internal structure

A company with a non-hierarchical organisational structure that encourages open communication, equality and collaboration is more likely to facilitate efficient digital implementation than a traditionally oriented organisation which may have to work hard to break down silos in order to foster the same.

Values orientation

If an organisation’s core values are clearly laid out, and it’s adherents work hard to manifest these values into the company’s daily actions, sustainability is easily achieved. By contrast, an organisation that is not living it’s values will struggle to deliver on the integrity and transparency required of brands operating in the digital economy.

The Paradox of Digital eLeadership

In this complex environment, organisations face a number of paradoxes that, if not addressed, threaten to stymy growth and handicap future sustainability.

Context Paradox – the idea of transmitting digital content openly and transparently contrasts with the interests of the entrenched executive focused on controlling the message and it’s distribution.

Literacy Paradox – digital is being adopted at an exponential rate by consumers, but many executives are not technically or analytically prepared to address this opportunity.

Marketing Paradox – traditionally marketing has operated in it’s own independent silo and has been focused on customer acquisition and engagement; now it’s functions and technologies are beginning to pervade all aspects of the organisation.

Organisational Paradox – executives expect digital to transform their companies, but their organisations are not structurally or technologically prepared for the speed and complexity of this change.

Sustainability Paradox – many organisations consider sustainability a significant issue, yet have not fully implemented sustainability initiatives, or incorporated such initiatives into their strategic planning.

Performance Paradox – generally, businesses with strong performance feel better prepared for digital transformation and have invested more resources in digital initiatives than lower performing companies.

Navigating digital transformation during periods of uncertainty may feel uncomfortable, but it’s onlny through the discomofrt that we learn, adapt and change, leading to a thriving and inclusive future of work.

Key Take-aways

1. Communicate the value of change

Shape your message by articulating a clear value proposition with defined goals & performance metrics.

2. The medium is the message

Leverage value from your online presence, with relevant and valuable content across digital channels.

3. Local effort for global impact

Nurture your customer relationships, to build lasting value that drives revenue, as well as brand advocacy.

4. Make the most of your metrics

Ensure your digital performance metrics, and social feedback loop are integrated across all reporting systems.

5. Make your strategy actionable

Actionable components that lead the transition through change, aligned for a digtally integrated organisation.

6. Connect the digital dots

Build a learning culture to support growth of digital literacy, and facilitate  cross-disciplinary intergenerational collaboration.

7. Structurally integrate digital activity

Deconstruct legacy silos and redesign the organisation to build a collaborative workforce who actively participate in driving change.

8. Focus on purpose over profit

A social business who’s core is in building shared value and integrates external engagement is one that will thrive in the future of work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Joff Crabtree

Joff Crabtree

Digital Experience Specialist living and working in Walyalup on Whadjuk country, Western Australia