Competing in Today’s Digital Economy: The Three Myths Standing Between You and a Digital Mindset

Dr. Debra Jasper and Betsy Hubbard
Dr. Debra Jasper and Betsy Hubbard // June 28, 2016

Everywhere you go these days, leaders are talking about innovation and the next big ideas.

They are debating the impact of robo-advisors, direct-to-consumer trends — and how to sell to a new generation of digital natives.

They also are investing millions of dollars in sales platforms, data analytics, and cutting-edge research. Yet many organizations — especially in the highly regulated financial and health care sectors — still lag far behind, especially when it comes to getting its workers to adopt the latest technologies.

So what does it take to move your entire workforce from reluctance to relevance?

After working with leaders in Fortune 100 financial firms and hospitals across the United States, we’ve identified three major myths standing between traditional approaches and the digital mindset you need to compete in today’s economy.

In this series, we’ll unpack all three myths, starting with the biggest misconception we see when working with C-Suite executives.

Myth #1: Your teams have to do this, but you don’t.

We are living through the biggest communications revolution since the invention of the printing press.

That means that as a leader in the digital age, you can’t just outsource this. You actually have to understand it.

Yes, it’s tempting to turn over the management of your digital strategies to Zach or Sarah, the social media mavens down the hall. After all, they’re smart digital natives who seem to know all about Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and countless other social platforms.

But digital is more than social media. It’s about the latest apps. Visual storytelling. Online reputations. The Internet of Things. And it’s about how our online interactions are changing client expectations — as well as the expectations of your peers, employees, and even your own kids.

You can’t just outsource this

All of these things dramatically shift the way you do business.

At least, they’d better.

Smart leaders recognize that Twitter, for example, teaches you a whole lot more than how to write in 140 characters. It shows you how information flows in dramatically new ways.

LinkedIn teaches you about networking on steroids. Instagram demonstrates the impact of visual storytelling.

And apps like Waze and OpenTable (even Uber, for that matter) illustrate the power of real-time information.

Make social calls, not cold calls

Employees know this kind of digital awareness matters. In fact, 80 percent say they would rather work for a socially savvy leader, according to a study by Weber Shandwick.

And adopting a new digital mindset in the sales arena is critical, too. Consider:

As this research demonstrates, you can’t just sit on the sidelines anymore. You can’t tell your sales force or others throughout your company that digital is a top priority for the company if you haven’t made it a top priority for you.

Rather than falling behind in digital leadership, you must learn — and then lead.

The reality: If you want your teams to adopt a digital mindset, then you have to adopt one first.

Up next: How to create the space for adoption of a digital mindset across your organization, from marketing to compliance and legal.

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