10 Traits That Make an Amazing Digital Leader

I have worked for some great Digital leaders and tried to follow what worked when I became a Digital leader myself. Here are the traits I think make an amazing Digital Leader:

  1. Act quickly and be willing to fail. Digital is the fastest moving cog in your business and if you hesitate you will be left behind. Failing is the best way to learn – just make it’s a cheap and quick failure! Learn from failure, iterate and keep improving.
  2. Be a thinker and a “doer”. The best thinkers are also doers as they have learned the hard way and therefore don’t forget. The only way to really prove a theory is to do it and then look at the data / analytics.
  3. Focus on one or a few things and do them well. Saying no to anything that does not fit with the vision is hard, but is the only way you will get true focus. Customers will thank you!
  4. Create a clear vision and then repeat it over and over until the whole company knows exactly what you are aiming for. Reward people as you get closer to the target.
  5. Love what you do or you won’t have the perseverance to complete your vision. Digital is hard work and if you don’t love it, your product and the company you work for you will not succeed.
  6. Question everything. Often things are just done “because they have always been done this way”. People who work in Digital should be used to change and questioning everything, but other departments may be less open to change.
  7. Make great products and have strong principles. Don’t dilute them for short term gain. If you do customers will get confused and go elsewhere in the long term.
  8. Build a great team. Start with a core and it will become self policing as they will not want to let just anyone join. Remove dead wood quickly – it only gets harder with time as it becomes more personal.
  9. Create great Digital experiences for your customers. Don’t do things because the tech is sexy or it is something you want to learn. This may sound very basic, but I have worked for some enormous companies that have tried to show the stock market they are Tech Savvy by buying sexy tech startups or talking about tech for tech’s sake. It never works as they lose sight of what the customer really wants! Think about the entire Customer Experience (CX). Start with the CX and make the technology fit – not the other way around.
  10. Marketing is about values and trust. Facts and figures mean very little to customers and specs of your product don’t mean much either. Marketing is about building trust in a brand over time and the best way to do that is have strong values and then make sure your customer experience hits the marque. What would have happened if Apple had said “Think Different” and then just sold poorly designed PC clones..
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