Market pundits keep telling you that every business is a digital business. Digital is your future. Digital is the path to transforming your business. When so much is at stake, shouldn’t executive leaders expand their digital or social presences?
One of our recent white papers highlights that many business leaders are not on LinkedIn and that most of them have yet to establish a Twitter account. Another report reveals that “nearly 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs do not have a social presence themselves.” In Australia, a 2015 survey found that only four CEOs of the top 20 publicly listed companies have a Twitter account.
We call this attitude the “lack-of-time syndrome,” as leaders feel that they have more strategic tasks to fulfill than managing their tweets. Digital thinking must be injected into a company’s core, and that extends to the social-media presences of the company’s leaders. The failure to fix or expand their digital presences will impact the future of their own roles and business. The personal participation in the digital realm is the key to understanding the digital consumer’s state of mind and unlocking digital’s real value. It was not a surprise to lean that more than half of the companies surveyed for our report agreed that they do not have a clear, shared vision of digital transformation which is communicated well and understood throughout the organization.
Leaders don’t need to become digital experts, nor are we suggesting it. But they need to take their ideas and transform them with the power of digital to jettison old habits and paradigms, with the goal of leading a digital-first company. It’s time to say goodbye to analog leadership and hello to digital-first leadership.
The biggest issues here are organizational complacency, resistance to change, and an ability to recognize the urgent need to change. Senior leaders must stop asking their teams to just fix the problem and instead ask them to fix their digital quotients. By communicating the digital vision clearly, leaders can ensure that the entire company is marching in one direction—building digital into the core of the business.
DBS Bank in Singapore has taken a different route to developing future-ready digital leaders. As part of its DBS MegaHackathon initiative, the bank’s employees are encouraged to create new apps, processes, and prototypes by collaborating with relevant startups to tackle business and societal challenges. The organization has already changed the mindset of hundreds of business leaders throughout the bank, which aims to impart digital thinking to every DBS employee before the end of 2016.
First step to up your digital presence
What should be your first step? Improve the company-wide digital quotient! I think undertaking a digital leadership assessment across the organization, including the board and the CEO, will help you understand the current state of digital leadership in your company and act accordingly.
What’s your take on the digital presences of leaders? Do you think it is important for leaders to grow their digital presences to win in this digital-first world? Are you a social-media influencer? Let me know.