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May 16th, 2018

5 Tips to Become a Digital Leader

A few years back I discussed what it takes to become a Mobile Champion. Today, it’s safe to say that digital and mobile are interchangeable with 70% of online traffic coming from mobile. 

To be honest, I strongly dislike using the word “digital”. To me, saying that a company is digital is about as useful as saying it runs on electricity. It’s what you do with the digital technology to achieve your organization’s end goals that makes the difference. The idea is that digital should be something that is built into the DNA of an organization, rather than just a department, channel or role. 

Here are 5 simple tips that will help drive success in your organization and make you a (digital) leader: 

5 Ways



1. Identify and Understand the Problem(s)

This is such a trivial concept, yet incredibly important and frequently ignored. Companies, governments and other organizations try to solve problems without truly understanding them. The first step of solving any challenge, with or without technology, is to identify and actually understand the problem(s) at hand. I use plural here because often times we jump at the first problem when usually there are several. There’s a myriad of great tools to identify problems including the 5 Whys, Customer Journey mapping, Customer Research, and more. 

2. Be Inspired and Challenged by Great People

The honest truth is that most people are comfortable with what they have and what they know. Change and the unknown is often a frightening notion. But to survive in the current competitive, fast-paced world, we need to challenge ourselves to consider other viewpoints, think differently and to change the fundamentals. 

These are a few popular ways you can challenge yourself:

  • Follow people on Twitter and LinkedIn such as Tom Goodwin, Martin Lindstrom and Benedict Evans
  • Meet and hire partners that will challenge you (and don’t always agree)
  • Talk to the competition’s customers

(Tom Goodwin, 24 Jan 2018)

3. Always Involve Unbiased Customers

Another basic mistake too many organizations make is solving problems without involving the people that are intended to use the solution. For example, when an organization launches a website without testing the concept, content and final design on the intended target audience ( Or when an organization deploys an expense management tool without including their employees in the evaluation and implementation process. 

An excuse we hear all too often is that there is a lack of time and/or expenses. Here’s some food for thought: how much time and money do you actually lose when a website or software doesn’t achieve its desired goals? 

The key to succeeding at this is to always involve the end users throughout each and every step of the way. It’s crucial to note that colleagues and or the boss are typically not representative of the everyday end user.

4. Define Clear Success Factors, Measure and Follow-up

How do we know if we’ve achieved success if we didn’t define it in the first place? Many organizations have an end-goal-centric or too generic metrics. The most common measures of success are revenue growth and cost savings. The challenge with these is that it’s typically not possible to measure success until roughly 3-6 months after the project has been wrapped up. 

The most effective alternative is to include success factors that can be measured throughout the project. For example, look at the user task completion rate, satisfaction ratings and how close the project was to sticking to the MVP timeline. 

5. Understand Why Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

Do you want to transform your organization? Think that a new app, knowledge sharing system or HR website will achieve this radical change? It won’t. Unless people want change. The key is to ensure that every initiative to change has a plan to get buy-in from the organization including the grass roots. Tip number 3 from above is a great starting point, but alone it is not enough. 

Use these 5 tips in whatever you do and I can promise you a greater chance of success. Furthermore, there’s a pretty good chance that the organization will consider YOU a digital hero.

Magnus Jern
Chief Innovation Officer

Tags: Digital leaders mobile technology

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