A colleague of mine works with CEOs across a wide variety of categories. His company provides coaching and consultation to CEOs with a focus on helping them navigate an increasingly digital and disruptive world.
Earlier this week he reached out with a very inspiring ask.
A client recently asked us, as the CEO:
What are the 2 to 3 most important things I should know about digital?
What are the 2 to 3 things I should avoid (mistakes) in making digital investments in the company?
What an incredible ask from the CEO and it certainly had my wheels turning. Here’s the advice I sent back.
2 to 3 To Know
- Digital isn’t a vertical channel or offering. An organization that ascends to a truly high level of digital fitness is one that looks at digital as a horizontal capability that can impact everything from supply chain to marketing.
- In true fundamental economics principles, there is a limited supply of exceptional digital talent. With limited supply and high demand, you need to rethink your entire recruiting, compensation and retention model. For example, at Twitter, the highest paid non-exec makes over $1M a year; he’s one of the smartest technical engineers in the world. The battleground for exceptional digital talent is serious business and one that most orgs aren’t equipped or prepared for.
- The space moves so fast. Your 5 year business plan approach doesn’t hold water in a space, like digital, that changes completely every 18 months. You need 5 year horizons, 3 year strategic plans and 18 month action plans.
2 To 3 To Avoid
- You can’t fix your digital capability gap by spending more. Spending more in digital, without the right internal capability and talent is an instant recipe for disaster.
- Building on my #1 of What To Know, you have to avoid making digital seem like a “thing”, “experiment” or the responsibility of 1 team or department. It needs to be something that every Sr. Exec is thinking about and investing in.
- Picking the wrong partners. Seems simple enough, but again, without the right internal champion vetting partners, who’s really capable of separating pretenders from contenders? If you pick the wrong partner (s) it can set you back and have a catastrophic ripple effect on your organization.
I’d love your feedback on my list and certainly welcome your thoughts on what CEO’s should know about digital. I’ll aggregate the feedback and pass it on to my colleague.