Digital — Is the C-Suite Asleep at the Wheel?
After my last column, where I posted on building digital competencies and adding the right skills to the mix to transform to digital, I heard from one of my avid readers. His statement was:
The one key thing which needs to happen is Upper Management has to start becoming more digitally savvy and ask questions as to "how we can do <insert function here> digitally?
Was this a question based on his observation of what he saw happening in companies? I think so. I would also add that unless there is a visionary at the top of the organization leading the way or there is the pain of competition eating away at revenue and cost structures, management doesn't want change. This is not the kind of leadership we need in organizations right now. So what can be done to wake up our slumbering management?
The one thing about being inside an organization is that your opinion is not as important as the person who comes from outside your organization. Even if you say the same thing as an outside consultant or leader, it just doesn't count. The more you pay for the outside education or consultation, the better it is to most C-level folks. Even if it costs a lot, educate the C-suite about the opportunities and threats of going digital.
Do a Competitive Study
Look at what others inside and outside of your industry are doing to leverage digital to serve their customers better, optimize operations, or have new business models. This is not just mental gymnastics but a search for how to deploy digital advantages successfully.
Scour Success Stories
Find examples of organizations leveraging digital. There are emerging examples in the financial and healthcare industries, but you can find examples in all industries. Here are some for you:
- Medical (1)
- Medical (2)
- Financial (1)
- Financial (2)
- Financial (3)
Give a Voice to Savvy CIOs
Often the business folks do not want to hear technical gobblety gook, but CIOs with a track record of innovation, who can communicate with business folks, are great assets to your organization. Many organizations are giving CIOs a seat at the business table. If you have a CIO that runs an operational utility, maybe you need a new CIO or a digital visionary.
Experiment and Grow
Find a business visionary below the C-level and let them lead a pet project that can leverage digital capabilities. This is a way to show that digital can add value over time. Innovation can be fostered by trying projects in a "model" way and deliver results that you can build on over time.
The only time cities act to put up new traffic signals is after someone dies. We can't afford this kind of backward thinking in organizations that are trying to survive, thrive, and capitalize in today's emerging digital world. There will be more "Ubers" rising.
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