So you want to be a CEO?

Adam Bryant has interviewed 525 chief executives through his years writing the Corner Office column for the NY Times. In his last column (unfortunately) he sums up what his takeaways are from what’s important about leadership, culture and the “men vs. women” question. A great read – this is my favorite takeaway from the article:
cornerlessons-top-superJumbo-v3
“You have to be open and alert at every turn to the possibility that you’re about to learn the most important lesson of your life.”

 

 

 

(Photo credit: NY Times)

Got change leaders?

kung

The digital revolution has long begun. And many companies are taking the first steps into their digital transformation. Everybody is talking about digital. Topics like big data, automation of processes, robotics, AI dominate the conversation….but many seem to forget that this change is not only about technology. It is foremost about corporate culture, structure and, of course, leadership.

 

For a company to successfully change its structure and culture, leadership needs to step up to the plate to convince employees why the change is needed and walk them down the path. But here is the sticking point: change is emotionally charged. It can emote fear, insecurity but also acceptance and inspiration. And at the end of the day it is only the individual who will make the decision if s/he wants to change or not.

 

That is why for companies to evolve and grow in this digital revolution it is imperative that they have leaders that are doers, who can generate enthusiasm in their employees, who embrace change and see it as an opportunity not as a challenge. But unfortunately I still see too many leaders who are blocking change. And because they are the only ones who can truly drive change, it becomes more and more frustrating for those around them who are ready to jump into all the opportunities that the digital revolution has to offer.  My recommendation? Weed out managers who prefer to remain in a comfort zone early.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has become a major part of how we market today. After all , with everything happening on social media, consumers look at fellow consumers to inform their purchasing decisions. Instead of looking at companies, they now look at each other and their favorite personalities.

But many challenges remain. Nasdaq Corporate Solutions and PR News surveyed 400+ PR and marketing pros to better understand how they are finding the right influencers to work with, and the challenges they are facing with measurement. You can read the full report here

Here are the main survey results:

Nasdaq PR News Influencer marketing infographic Jan 2017_tcm5044-38117.png

Our trust challenged era

 

trust.jpg

This week Edelman released their annual Trust Barometer. The general population’s trust in all four key institutions — business, government, NGOs, and media — has declined broadly, a phenomenon not reported since Edelman began tracking trust among this segment in 2012. Wow. But maybe not surprising when we are living in a “post-truth”era. Rebuilding trust is a shared responsibility by all of us. And we can only do this by putting people first

Read the whole report here

Putting people first

Not a day goes by without most of us not hearing, reading or using the word “transformation”.

And while we may find it easy to transform ourselves, for leaders to manage change can be difficult. Why? Because no one likes change or having to adapt to new situations. I see it every day when working with clients. Too many times we are putting the focus on the magic words of “efficiency” or “effectiveness” or “process optimization”, almost forgetting the special magic word “people”.

By putting people first, organizational change can be much better navigated. After all, it is the people who will be transforming the organization, so as leaders it is your task to enable them to do so – from creating the right motivation to giving them the tools and helping them thrive.

Jim Hemerling, Senior Partner at BCG, in a recent TED talk summed it up nicely in his slide of the five imperatives for transforming organizations with one common theme: putting people first

bcg

Digital transformation dreaming

creativeThere is a huge pile of research reports and studies on my desk how digitization will change the way we do business. And I am sure there are similar piles in many managers’ offices. But what good are the best reports if you are unable to move the transformation forward?

Those that are succeeding in moving along their digital transformation have two things in common: one, they not only understand what digital transformation means, they also know that it means a fundamental change for the whole company. And two, they ensure that they have the right resources with the right expertise to transform their corporate culture to meet the upcoming challenges.

Digital transformation needs to driven by the CEO. Not your Head of IT. Not your Head of Sales. Not your Head of Something Something. It needs to be one of the top strategic priorities for the whole company driven from the top down.

Digital transformation is not walking down a straight path. You will need to be open for new business models. For new ways of implementing products and services. And your corporate culture will need to allow failure.

Digital transformation can be driven an internal facilitator like a Chief Digital Officer or even be outsourced into a new venture that can work without any “analog”disruption from the organization in form of resistance or doubts. But whatever way is chosen at the end of you will need a leader.

Digital transformation needs a leader who has a strong project management background, who is a multitasker, open to try new things. You will need someone who is impatient, a fast thinker , who plays well with others and is able to influence change within the culture of the board and with it the rest of the company. And you will need someone who is a strong communicator. Someone who can combine the “old” with the “new”.

That is why it is imperative for all organizations to start understanding what digital transformation means for their business and  how the digital competencies of new and existing directors will fit emerging strategies. And it is the CEO’s task to ensure that this journey is started on the right path.