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Digital Leadership

At the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, a briefing paper noted that most occupations and specialties currently in demand did not exist ten or even five years ago. In business, we are noticing an alarming and growing number of established, name brand companies going out of business after losing customers to more agile competitors, many of which are leveraging technology for competitive advantage. Gartner predicts that by next year, 2017, 25% of organizations will lose their market positions due to what they call “digital business incompetence”.


While the rapid change in technology is advancing how we improve our businesses and our lives, it alone cannot drive change. This change requires a new type of leadership to survive in this age of unprecedented rapid advancement in technology. The “Digital Leader” is one who can anticipate market transitions, leverage technology as a competitive weapon, envision what’s possible, and accelerate the realization of organizational goals through technology transformation.


For a digital leader, technology is a tool and tactic to be embraced. It is balanced and integrated with the other responsibilities they possess – product, process and people. Digital Leadership requires one to be bold enough to test new things, measure the business and organizational impact, be willing to creatively disrupt their established processes, be humble enough to admit to changing course, and strong enough of a leader to rally others to do the same.


Until recently, this was the role of the Information Technology organization within companies. The fast moving companies have proven that IT cannot live within a single group, it must be connected to the business and leveraged for the company to reach their business goals/outcomes. Technology must become core to the business, for the business to survive. The new CIO is one with a seat at the executive leadership table. They must coach the other executives on how to transform their businesses the same way the CFO teaches fiscal responsibility and the COO advises on people and process. This will help IT move from a commodity and allow the business to embrace the competitive power of technology.


At LIFTinnovate, our core focus is creating Digital Leaders. We coach business leaders to innovate by driving digital change in their organization. We help IT leaders to work with people and process leaders to develop relevant “Business Use Cases” for leveraging technology as a tool to accomplish a greater goal. With LIFT’s Business Adoption Roadmap, leaders are able to prioritize, communicate and measure the organizational transformation. The Business Adoption Roadmap becomes the competitive weapon for the business, and the calling card for the new Digital Leader.


Author: Steve Reasner

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