Differentiate with digital

Unpacking Digital Leadership Myths

Martin Gill Vice President, Research Director
Danielle Jessee Researcher
February 16, 2018

Who should lead your firm’s digital transformation? The CEO? CIO? CMO? Firms turn to a variety of executives to lead their digital charge, but form follows function, and functional leaders often default to a functional (read: siloed, or dare I say myopic?) scope.

So how do you break free and challenge outdated paradigms? Hire a CDO, right? Well, perhaps. . .

Last year we spoke to a range of digital leaders (CDOs, SVPs of digital, CIOs, and more) to unpack what makes them tick — how they thrive and examine their views on the future of digital leadership. We found that:

  • CDOs can be highly effective cross-functional leaders. In our report Challenge Traditional Leadership To Win At Digital Transformation, we show how today’s digital business leaders aren’t just alpha-geek code-monkeys or turtlenecked hipsters; they also speak the language of influence. They can design an org chart just as easily as an process flow and can explain both in the same breath. They hire, fire, troubleshoot online and in-person, and bring new ideas to the fore — and not just in technology.
  • Digital leaders must evolve. The role and power of digital leaders is changing — rapidly. The traditional role of the digital leader was narrow in scope and tech-centric: launch new digital channels. Today’s forward-thinking digital business leaders are responsible for the strategy, governance, and execution of how their firm wins, serves, and retains  digitally empowered consumers. Our report The Key Characteristics Of Great Digital Business Leaders details the chief attributes of this new breed of leader, with examples, guidance, and best practices to help you bust down the silos in your organization and thrive as a modern digital leader no matter what your job title is.

with Danielle Jesse and Ben Arnold.

Related Forrester Content (For clients or purchase)

Key Characteristic of Great Digital Leaders
Challenge Traditional Leadership Paradigms
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