Decoding Digital Leadership

Surviving digital transformation

Digital transformation requires top to bottom organisational transformation, which requires leaders who are willing and able to leverage digital to innovate, fail fast and drive value in an ambiguous context. Are your leaders equipped to drive digital transformation?

The digital explosion is upon us

The digital explosion, predicted since the late 1970s, is now upon us – a short fuse is all that’s left; a second ‘big bang’ is imminent. The digital explosion reforms the business landscape across all sectors. With increasing volatility, uncertainty, change and ambiguity caused by this revolution, do you ask how you can even begin to answer that question? The data is suggesting that globally, leaders are not ready.

Digital evolution: Where are you?

Deloitte’s research into digital transformation, Building Your Digital DNA, has revealed four evolutionary stages that organisations progress through on their journey from ‘doing’ digital to ‘being’ digital (The tactical model, the centralisation model, the champion model and the business as usual (BAU) model).

But what sort of leaders do you need to drive this evolution? How do you know if you have these leaders in place? How do you judge the volume, and rate, of change the business can take? How can you be certain which digital ‘horse’ to back? How do you bring people on the journey with you? How do you protect and foster digital innovation away from prying eyes and established business models? How do you convince the digital nay-sayers that investment is not only value-additive but also strategically critical?

To address these issues, businesses and consultants around the globe are rushing to design new ‘Digital Competencies’, digital leader frameworks, digital leadership education programmes and digital talent acquisition strategies. This risks creating greater complexity and ambiguity for leaders.

Management at all levels is already facing monumental, non-digital change and disruption from a variety of other sources including demographic shifts, environmental issues, regulatory controls, reputational risks and global economic turmoil. Digital alone is no more or less transformational or threatening than any of these other forces. Therefore, what a leader needs to bring to the table to deliver this digital transformation is also what leaders need to leverage to drive change in all contexts.

Having the ‘right stuff’

Our research has revealed that the elements that really predict success in leaders could be distilled down to four core potential dimensions and eight critical capabilities that are the universal building blocks that underpin leadership transformational agility across all contexts, digital or not. Leaders who have this stuff and can do this stuff can adapt to and drive digital transformation whilst simultaneously dealing with broader shifts in the strategic landscape. What leaders need to be able to do is take the fundamentals and then apply them to the range of contexts they face. The same underlying capability, deployed purposefully and thoughtfully according to understanding the contextual demands they face.

Digital Leadership in the Public Sector

Digital transformation is a hot topic in government. The 2010 Spending Review mentioned the word ‘digital’ only four times in its reform plans, while the 2015 Review mentioned it 58 times. With that context, are senior leaders across government setting their organisations up for digital success? On Wednesday 25 May, Deloitte hosted a discussion on how leaders can create the conditions for the success of their digital strategy, highlighting how to select and develop the right people for the job.

Listen to the webinar

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