2016 - Sweet Sixteen! The year of serious transformation?

I couldn't start the year without adding some personal thoughts on the road ahead - having read so many already via social and the web.  So, short, sharp and sweet  - here we go!

  1. Working in the world of digital, leadership and transformation, I think it's clear that 2016 needs to be the year where we say No! to discussions that take us away from action, like 'What does digital mean' etc...and start to really focus on doing. Strategising from a place where you've tested something or had a go is a far easier position to start from.
  2. 2016 should also be the year where we accept digital leadership as a profile and not as a simple job title to be handed out without much thought or consideration. If you want to be a digital leader consider your capability and competency across a robust 360 profile, not just based on your job title or business area expertise. Are you a change agent? Can you face and manage challenges? Do you truly inspire? Are you adaptive, open? Being a CIO or CMO isn't a default passage into digital leadership.
  3. Understanding the need for competency and capability around driving change is as important, maybe more so, than technology. More and more we are hearing that digital transformation is about dealing with change first and technology second.  Let's get a bit more supportive and focussed on readiness for change, fostering an openness for doing new things or things different across our people: Leadership, workforce, partners, customers, community -  the whole lot!
  4. Sadly, as many authors, analysts and research papers have recognised, most projects fail in expectation in some way, shape or form. It's been sited on numerous occasions by some of the world's most reputable professional services organisations and research houses that this is due largely to a lack of skill. So, there you go! That's something you can tackle immediately in 2016.  Accept that skills no longer work by generic title.  I for one remember when I was choosing my specialist subjects in school as a teenager. I had to choose between Maths, Geography, Music, Physics, English...you get the picture? That was fine, it's all we needed. My 14 year old nephew can choose micro specific topic areas based on his interests and strengths today...and that's exactly how you should see business. It's not that you need a marketing manager so much as you need more and more specialist skills to deal with specialist areas to serve a superior customer experience. And by all accounts this idea will continue to diversify for a few years to come. So let's plan for it, let's consider what this means in context of our own business ecosystem.
  5. Security. I am far from an expert in this area - be it cyber, compliance, data protection etc. But I have recognised one thing and hope that in 2016 this area gains the appropriate airtime; security is not all about control and restriction. It's about enablement and it's about understanding that as individuals we all have a responsibility in this area, whether we are an employee, a customer or a member of the community. It's not just up to someone else anymore, it's up to you as well as the business, the brand, the service, the government. We should all try to become more personally accountable in this area. I for one have ear marked this as a personal focus area in 2016.
  6. Finally, (there is so much more, but we're in an attention deficit world so these are just a few of my thoughts to share) it would be remiss of me to publish this blog without mention of leadership. This has to be the elephant in the room that needs tackling in 2016. Leaders and Leadership Teams everywhere please start listening and looking - the world has changed and if you are going to win, you need to change too! So what if a 20 year old graduate suggests a new way of communicating with the workforce? So what if the role of a leader is more about participation than ever before - I believe you wouldn't want to be a leader in the 21st Century without a thirst for continuous improvement and participation at all levels without too much ego or hierarchy getting in the way.

Well, there you have it. Just a few thoughts, around stuff and things we could/should be doing or focussing more on in 2016 when it comes to digital transformation. It could be a great year this Sweet Sixteen!

This post was originally published via Pulse/LinkedIn on 7th January