You may assume that in order to become a digital-first leader, you need to know all the technical nuances of coding or computer languages. This is untrue! Although it helps if you’re versed in some technical skills, what’s more important than being tech-savvy is your ability as an entrepreneur. You should be looking at trends and putting them into action so that they can (hopefully) yield profitable results — but that’s not all.
Digital leadership has never been more important. The rise of the internet and social media has literally changed everything — from our relationships to how we run businesses. Organizations need top-tier talent running their digital operations so they can keep up with what’s happening in this rapidly changing world — or risk being left behind. Chances are, competitors are already embracing these new trends that will soon be intertwined in everyone’s life.
Leaders need to know themselves in order to be able to lead others. A leader needs creativity, wit and a vision for the future of the industry they are working with. They must also have a sense that change is necessary when it comes down to doing things better — for example, taking already-established strategies and implementing new systems, such as people-centric software, from time to time if needed. Throughout these shifts, leaders should maintain culture at all times so that changes can take root properly.
Digital leaders need to find new techniques for leading and supporting a new mixture of “workers” made up of both humans and machines. The workforce consists of a mix of human and AI employees and gig workers working remotely. As the team’s leader, you have to be creative with your leadership style while finding ways that work best for each individual on the team.
In teams where people are collaborating remotely from all over the world, there can often be confusion about how things should be done or what each person’s role is within the projects they’re assigned to. This can lead them back toward traditional modes, like meetings, which could cause more problems than they solve if not executed correctly. To support innovation, we need an agile mindset — taking small steps forward to implement change toward true transformation.
There’s no denying that the digital world is constantly changing. This can be an advantage because with these changes come opportunities for businesses to stay ahead of their competitors. Businesses should adapt quickly to trends in technology as well as identify potential threats before they become too big of a problem down the line.
Do you have a hard time understanding how digital is transforming your business? Are there key elements that are causing revenue losses for your company but seem to be out of reach or hidden from view? The secret is in taking the steps necessary to expose and utilize each opportunity. You’re undoubtedly familiar with the term “digital disruption.” But how do you know if your company is being disrupted or not? Simply understanding which part of a business model technology can be used to increase revenue.
If you’re a leader looking to execute your strategies, it’s important that you have an understanding of all the tools at your disposal. Great leaders take the time to get educated on new technology and understand what they are capable of doing — otherwise, their strategy may not be successful. It can sometimes feel like high-tech projects come with many different technical terms or jargon words that might make them difficult for people without experience to dive into. Luckily, there is always room to learn how these things work.
You can’t learn a new way of thinking without dedicating time. I experienced this firsthand when I attended an immersive workshop last year. We spent six hours at different stations focused on brainstorming — for example, visualizing solutions creatively. We learned all sorts of creative skills that have helped me tremendously in my career. Dedicate your brainpower toward doing something you want to do so change can happen. If it’s not already clear by now, experiential learning is critical if you’re trying to strengthen any specific trait like innovation or organizational awareness.
From an opportunity standpoint, you may find that digital transformation is increasing and there is a heightened need for individuals who can handle high-pressure situations and lead large teams, both of which are required for the role of a digital transformation leader. This may be your cue to capitalize on the opportunity.
In my experience, seeking new opportunities, saying yes to challenges and getting outside your comfort zone are all ways to drive maximum value in business. Combining that with any new digital programs, projects or initiatives is a great way to become a leader and get comfortable with the process. A leader is someone who has the compass for driving results, becoming the fuse of change, staying ahead of any new developments pertaining to their company or industry — all while keeping an eye on tomorrow. A person destined for greatness might find it difficult at first but will soon see themselves at the top.
A digital leader is not just one who helps a company find cutting-edge alternatives to legacy systems. They are also the ones who approach problems with an open mind and show great curiosity in their work, which leads them to make all efforts toward encouraging creativity among teams.
We need to embrace digital leadership, regardless of our roles, functions, experiences or backgrounds. Having a personal and business-oriented framework is a great way for all leaders to stay relevant in the age of disruption. Digital leaders are fearless. They aren’t afraid to question the status quo when they find it wrong — and always have an answer for a better way forward even if that means tearing down old systems. Unless these change-makers embrace digital tools, you’ll never reach transformation goals or attract top talent in this day and age of rapid technological progress.