THE BLOG

Dial C for Success - Business Leadership in the Digital Age

28/08/2014 13:07 BST | Updated 26/10/2014 09:59 GMT

If you are a CEO or a chief of something reporting into the CEO, then you've probably been hired based on your extensive industry experience. That usually equates to having been there, seen it and bought the t-shirt in many different sizes and colors. Driving a company vision, strategy and execution is hard work, even harder when the ground underneath you suddenly starts to shift. Can old school skills really compete in a mobile and cloud world where consumers and employees are driving IT innovation? Do you have the right skills on your leadership team to compete with new business models and adapt quickly? Adapt or die sounds like hyperbole, but there is some truth behind the idea that the c-suite needs to take a step back and reassess its approach to leadership in today's world.

Where longevity, security and control once ruled the leadership roost, flexibility, modular strategies, and scalability are the new critical levers to business success, with technology at the very heart. Mobile and cloud are no longer just looming large on the horizon, they've arrived. And if your leadership still thinks mobile is about which tariff your employees should be on, you're likely to be in deep trouble. The business leader of tomorrow has to be tech savvy, as relying on junior staff to bring innovation and experimentation to the table is no longer an option.

Change is never easy. But it has also never been easier. The cloud has opened up the IT landscape to multiple options that can be easily mixed, added and deleted in a fraction of the time integration and change used to take. Your entire company infrastructure can now run in scalable, and cost efficient models. The term frequently touted around boardrooms the world over is 'Digital Transformation project', but the truth is, this really means letting go of old mentalities. It means moving into modular architecture that is more about understanding and serving the companies' bespoke needs - from marketing to sales through to production and HR - rather than controlling company data and policing IT policies. Basically, embracing technology that improves process, rather than restricting it.

And if your IT team is telling you that replacing old technology is too hard, costly or that using cloud will increase risk of confidentiality breeches and attacks, then they are not the type of talent you should be surrounding yourself with. Of course, no system is 100% impenetrable, but be assured the technologies out there today are sound and tested, probably more so than your own systems. And your employees are already pressing the agenda forward by bringing in their own choice of technologies, devices and their subscriptions delivered through cloud-based software.

The new C-team embraces change, takes risks and advocates the use of technology at home and in the office. If you don't have at least a few of these forward-thinking pioneers on your leadership team, you'd best take note of how quickly the big brands are being humbled by smaller disruptive start-ups who do. Standing still is for scarecrows and statues, and we all know what their competition does to them. Innovation does not need to be a terrifying process, it's an evolutionary journey that will open up a world of new possibilities you had never thought possible. Embrace mobile and cloud as positive changes, and transform your business by becoming a digital leader.