The bumpy journey of digital leadership

We are at the beginning, not the end, of digital transformation. Still, I meet leaders who live under a stone—in denial—not thinking much about things like big data, the cloud, social media, apps and digital strategies.

In 1995 when the internet started to grow into what it is today, nobody could imagine the opportunities that are now available. Digital leadership is needed everywhere in society, and when it’s hard to find an answer that makes sense as to what the future will look like, many avoid asking the question.

All organisations, industries and companies are under threat—none are excluded from the digital turmoil meltdown. There may be a competitor working on a new, smart cloud-based mobile app that will take your market away from you.

To be an entrepreneur is high status. People whose biggest dream 20 years ago was to become a leader in a large corporation are now spending their spare time trying out new business ideas. Lots of new technology is under development, many of which we are not even sure how we will use.

Digital transformation is a painful process; it’s not smooth, but brutal and full of trial and error. In this learning process, we are going to find new ways to deal with all things digital, and the new technology will ultimately work better and be safer.

Social media can give you access to knowledge in seconds. If an organisation uses an internal social media network, then they are creating a hub of expertise. Informal networking online connects people’s minds.

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Branding is a complex area with customers taking over control of the brands they use. Who has booked a hotel without reading any customer reviews beforehand?

With small computers in our pockets, we are flexible and quick to do what we need to do on the Internet.

In the next few years, we are going to add many more digital devices into the cloud. Creative inventors will come up with new ways for the Internet of Things to come into our lives. We are going to connect in new ways, and our personal data will be sent around in the air between devices and receivers. The risk for data loss and privacy is always there in the background.

Questions all leaders need to ask themselves

The unknown may replace your business in the future.

1) Do you know much about the tools, devices, social connectivity, clouds and apps that other businesses use when they are focusing on digital leadership?

2) How are you creating space for creativity, innovation and improvisation in your business? How are you welcoming new ideas and initiatives?

In the future, we are going to care more about our community, and the organisations that do this well will be the winners. Your customers can be involved developing your products already; the next step is to bring them even closer with social media and new ways to communicate.

Social media is shaking up knowledge exchange internally and externally. It is also affecting your brand, customer service, and how you see yourselves. Social media is where you will discover problems with your products and where your future employees will hear about you for the first time.

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There are thousands of ways you can use big data and information to benefit your business. Most organisations only use a handful of them.

All these SMACI (Social media, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud, Internet of Things) technologies embedded and used together are part of what is called digital disruption. Although we are only at the beginning of digital disruption and it may be a buzzword, for leaders who are hiding under a stone, the awakening is going to be painful.

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What’s your thoughts about the digital future? Please share a comment.

Thank you, Sofie

You can check out my book ‘Digital Leadership’ on Amazon.

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