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Digital Leadership

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:


Effective digital leadership brings a number of benefits:

  • Inspires education: You get people to want to follow you, as a consequence of you being a thought leader in this space. And that's important, both from a personal brand point of view, but also to enable the organization to gain a competitive advantage in this digital revolution.
  • Acknowledges failings: When thinking about digital leadership, you're also thinking about creating some sort of gap analysis. Understand exactly what the organization is currently doing and what it's currently failing on. Once you can get both those perspectives, it enables you to create a robust plan to fill those objectives up.
  • Creates partnerships: You could use an in-house approach. Or you could form partnerships to fill some of those key gaps. And digital leadership is about helping to identify who your key partners could be. And in tomorrow's landscape of business, it's going to be much less around harnessing competitive advantages, creating a win/lose, but much more about how do you create win/win relationships within your larger suppliers and the people you work with.
    And don't forget the role of the consumer as well, in creating great partnerships. In the UK, for example, we're going through a wave of new start-up and entrepreneurial opportunities opening up in the economy and these create great opportunities for larger organizations to come to the forefront and actually form partnerships with them too. Don't just discount smaller start-up-based organizations when thinking about partnerships and the opportunities that it could leverage.
  • Defines iterative and replicable processes: Being a digital leader should be about enabling you to scale the organization appropriately through the most cost-effective means. But still being able to be iterative, agile, flexible and also robust, in the way that you operate to be able to, you know, replicate what you currently do, as well.

Encouraging digital leadership

When you're thinking about creating a digital transformation program, it's important to think about getting other people onboard. How do you encourage digital leadership?

  • Communicate results to employees: Gain a fan following, based on iterative or iteration of pilots or small-scale pilots that you currently have in the marketplace. Once you do that, people will jump on board, and the snowball effect comes into play.
  • Encourage innovation: You need to create a mindset within the organization that anything is possible. Foster an approach where innovation is both accepted, encouraged. We also, as part of that process, need to be honest and realistic about exactly what approaches we take.
  • Give constructive criticism: Digital leadership is also about being constructive to the people who are trying to undertake that transformation with you. Be constructive, be critical, but also be positive about how they can improve in a robust way and in a tangible way.
  • Create a culture: Employees should invest in themselves and invest in their learning. If an organization is not willing to encourage this, it will not motivate employees. Think about the learning and development requirements of your organization, and make sure that you're putting steps in place to be able to deliver on that.

Embracing a loss of control

One of the major changes that senior leaders need to start embracing, as a consequence of digital playing a much larger role in our lives, is the loss of control.

Traditionally, leaders wanted to have their boundaries of control very well-defined. This is the message we put out to our consumers. This is how we expect our consumers to behave. This is what we expect our employees to behave like.

In the new digital world, that's just not the case. Indeed, organizations need to embrace the fact that they can't control everything, all the messaging, all the processes. Consumers will create new customer journeys to converse with that organization as well.

Remember: "Embrace the loss of control, and start fostering new mutually beneficial relationships with the customers, employees, that are empowered through digital today."

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Richie Mehta

Ritchie Mehta has had an eight-year corporate career with a number of leading organizations such as HSBC, RBS, and Direct Line Group. He then went on setting up a number of businesses.

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    Richie Mehta
    Skills Expert

    This module introduces the key concepts underlying the Digital Marketing Institute’s 3i Framework for selecting and implementing the best digital strategy for your organization. It provides an overview of the key components in an effective digital strategy, which are expanded upon in much greater detail in subsequent modules. It also covers different types of business strategies, the difference between a business value proposition and a digital value proposition, and the importance of robust strategic management to maintain a long-term strategy.