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3 Ways to Keep Up With the Digital Disruption

How drastically do you think digital is going to impact your company in the next 12 months? Slight impact? Massive? "Every year, Russell Reynolds Associates surveys more than 2,000 C-level executives on the impact, structure, barriers, and enablers of digital technologies across 15 industries." It should come as no surprise that this year's results show B2C companies, in industries like media, consumer financial services, and retail will be affected most. Those industries in particular are being pushed by the pace their customers who keep with technology; they have to be fast and adaptive.

Whether the digital disruption is knocking on your company's door or not, you need to be prepared. If it doesn't happen today I can guarantee that it will happen tomorrow. Digital is not leaving anyone unaffected.

In a blog post on Harvard Business Review's (HBR) author, Rhys Grossman, details three methods for companies to keep up with the digital disruption or, as they called it, the "three levers organizations can pull to keep pace: catalytic roles; culture; and commitment."

1. Catalytic Roles

Chief Digital Officer, Chief Growth Officer, Chief Customer Officer - these are all examples of the new titles emerging in organizations striving to improve their digital initiatives. And all of these roles are catalytic roles. As you might of guessed someone in a catalytic role is "speeding up transformation. They are often brought in to disrupt traditional thinking and business models." These are the movers and shakers that get things done.

Two things to think about, Grossman highlighted the fact that "the role must be positioned correctly, at the appropriate level in the organization, with sufficient scope, influence and sponsorship to make change happen." And the must be "the right person" - innovative, bold, and someone who likes to test the limits.

2. Culture

Grossman refers to data as the "lifeblood" of digital and paints a really interesting picture of how data is altering the company culture. He states that when a company is data-driven "decisions that had previously been deferred to those with years of experience and 'a feel for what the customer wants' are now being challenged with data. And whoever has the data has the power to make strategic decisions."

In other words, data rules.

3. Commitment

You can't just dip your foot into the digital water - you have to jump into the deep end. Your strategy, your people, your purchases - everything should reflect digital.

Have you ever thought, "we are behind in digital"? I bet most companies have. I can also bet that these three "levers" probably haven't been pulled if you feel that way - and I can't blame you. It can be scary to put all of your eggs in one basket, especially a basket that you've never seen or used before, but going half in is not going to work for digital. Go hard or go home.

Still not sure where to start?

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Sydney Nordquist

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