Regular readers will know I’ve been absent for the last couple of weeks, taking some time with my family and some time to reflect on priorities for 2014. I realised during this break that, in common with many of the executives I spend time with, day to day priorities can result in my failing to see ‘big picture’ trends. This can be damaging in the fast evolving digital space. Thinking about how to stay fresh I came up with a set of new year’s resolutions for digital leaders:
1. Plan a road trip. The most effective digital executives I know spend as much as 30% of their time on the road, visiting suppliers, other companies, universities etc to better understand the evolving context.
2. Hire someone with different DNA. Many organisations promote from within, and many leaders hire in their own image. The best digital leaders realise the value of being provoked, for example by hiring people from other industries.
3. Form an unexpected strategic alliance. Digital business thrives on collaboration between enterprises. The best leaders are finding new value in unexpected alliances, for example data-sharing arrangements between banks and retailers.
4. Crowd-source a problem. Many executives rely on their immediate team for fresh thinking. Crowd-sourcing from the entire organisation can multiply the idea flow. Crowd-sourcing externally takes that to another level.
5. Start a blog. Maintaining a blog requires commitment and discipline, but it’s a great forcing device that leads to increase connectivity and distillation of ideas.
6. Add new channels. Most of us are creatures of habit. We rely on one or two sources for information, often sources that align with our views. Many executives rely on the same news sources they’ve read for a decade. New sources and formats (e.g., Twitter, YouTube, blogs) help to connect to a richer set of perspectives.
7. Find new mentors. Almost all successful leaders already have great mentors. The most successful realise that adding new mentors can drive fresh perspective and personal renewal.
I’ve added each of these points to my 2014 to-do list. I’m sure you’ll keep me honest J