My partner and I are members of the art gallery, The Royal Academy in London. I find it strange when I talk to people visiting London and they say they are looking for an "art experience" they immediately think of the Tate.
The Tate is a great art gallery, but maybe I'm old fashioned but I don't think a pile of bricks is art.
Why do I mention this?
Often in art, it seems that people, just paint, but in fact it can take years for an artist to craft their skill. The well known modern artist Tracey Emin says "I spent seven years learning to draw. For a couple of years at life-drawing classes, I couldn't do foreshortening, I couldn't judge distance of things".
We cannot be good at everything, but she goes onto to say "My big breakthrough was getting glasses, and being able to see. Once I got some glasses, I could suddenly understand why I couldn't draw".
What has art got to do with being a digital leader?
But Picasso understood that to be a great painter it was no good making something that has already been made, it had to be a new delivery, a new response.
Being a digital leader means that you can use digital as your way of painting, your way of invention.
It is your chance to create something that has never been seen before, it has never existed. Here you can be a digital leader.
How To Reinvent Yourself as a Digital Leader
First and foremost business needs to be seen as "trustworthy", to both the B2B and B2C the consumer. Why? Because as consumers we have become fickle and will change our suppliers.
Trust, while has an element of brand, this is about the people. Can you trust the CEO, the Board of Directors, the sales people?
With more and more people being active on social media, (see research here) you have to have the CEO, the Board of Directors (the C-Suite) the sales people, in fact the whole of the company on social media. You take the company culture and you put it on social. Your customers, your suppliers, your future employees are closer and you have true transparency.
A "social organisation" mentioned above is not a non-for-profit, well it could be, we are talking about a company that uses social media strategically across the business. From sales, across marketing, customer services, human resources (HR), Finance, Procurement, Supply Chain, Manufacturing etc.
So many companies say to us "our USP (unique selling point) is the culture" or a candidate has to have a "culture fit". Then put your culture on social, be transparent. This is the way, you will get the best people, make the most sales and have the most efficient supply chain. More on these in a moment.
Ethical leadership should be your norm.
This isn't something that "happens" there is a change program driven from the top down, with the leaders leading. There has to be a methodology that people follow. Social becomes a strategy, not a tactic.
Trust dovetails into Purpose, with the employees on social, they are empowered to share their experiences, their beliefs, their values.
For example, Human Resources (HR) could share an article about the importance of Diversity within the business or work / life balance. This is shared through that employee's network. Remember, this is not a corporate message this is shared by the employee, through a network that knows, likes and trusts that person. That network will amplify it. Keep doing this and you will become the employer of choice in your industry.
In Purchasing you could share an article about the importance of sustainability for your suppliers. Again, this is putting out a message in the market that offers trust and purpose. Shared through the employees network, people who know, like and trust. Before you know it, you will have suppliers that meet that sustainability criteria.
In the old days you might have used PR (Public Relations) or adverts to do this, nobody reads press releases and nobody looks at adverts, the modern world is digital. Let's go where your employees, prospective customers, customers and future employees are ... on social.
Boards still need to have skills such as compliance, regulation, they also need to understand intergenerational differences.
I often ask people if they have ordered a Uber. Uber is such a great metaphor for the digital experience. Last year in San Francisco we went everywhere by Uber, it is such a frictionless way to do business. We travelled to Vancouver. It was raining, we were told to stand in a taxi queue, there were no taxis. Really? There is no Uber service in Vancouver. When you have experienced a frictionless digital experience and suddenly go back to an analog experience you feel there is a massive "experience gap".
The Board is going to have to get used to "network management" no longer can you open the door of your office and check to see who are at their desks. If you had 3 offices with 1,000 people in each, now you have 3,000 offices.
This has a massive employee welfare and mental health position. We know from research that employees feel neglected, so how do management open new lines of communication? How does you get remote workers, infused, engaged and effective? Through social.
Social will provide the mechanism for communication, connection and collaboration.
Social media is no longer a destination, it's where we live, this is one of the impacts that covid 19 has made on us. We are used to living at home and buying "everything" through the internet.
Again, check out this research.
We spend our lives in social, we communicate through social, it's where we are and it's where our customers are.
In fact our employee expect us to have cultural interplay of social. Sharing, creating, collaborating, sharing with each other.
Here at DLA Ignite we have realised that Zoom and Teams are not fit for purpose for what we want to do in terms of delivering an interactive online experience for clients. The DLA Ignite team have collaborated across the globe and found meetbutter within a day we are having a meeting with the CEO, Jakob. This is a team empowered to make a change, empowered to collaborate, Meetbutter might not be the answer, but it's great watching the team come to the decision.
This is empowered decision making.
Trust in Sales
Gone are the days were sales was about manipulation.
For starters there is legislation, for example the 2018 introduced GDPR replications in Europe, or the technology has put an end to endless cold calls. I have the Apple iOS 13 functionality installed that drives all cold calls to my voicemail.
But let's take a step back, has an advert, spam email, cold call, brochure ever sold anything? No. What sells something is a conversation.
Social allows your salesforce to create conversations.
Not in a way where you spam people with sales pitches on social, that is just a cold call on a social network. But connecting to people, know me, like me, trust me.
Sales people are about inspiring, educating, sharing their purpose, culture. We know we have a modern empowered buyer, who is on social media, so let's go out and find them and tell them something they don't know.
Let's start a conversation.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing for other companies. No hard sell, just take you through what other companies are doing to transform.
The global pandemic has accelerated the digital future, forcing virtual ways of interacting, working and learning all over the planet. In my work, I get to talk with top chief human resource officers and heads of board compensation committees. They agree. In these times of rapid change skills have a shorter half-life. The skills we need most are digital and human. Digital leadership is needed more than ever. In my book, Wired for Disruption, I share how learning agility, the ability to learn, unlearn, and re-learn as change happens, is one of the five agility muscles we all need in order to thrive in the future of work. How can we learn to be digital leaders?