Helpful tips from a digital strategy leader on how you can be a digital leader, too.

As business and technology leaders, we are often the ones who need to place and keep digital on the agenda for our organizations.

Information technology professionals, in particular, are increasingly expected to have the capabilities to help guide their organization along these digital transformation journeys.

Even in organizations where there isn’t an official digital strategy or digital program in place, here are five ways you can lead your organization on the digital front:

#1 – Educate yourself

Digital is a strong example of why it’s key to be a lifetime learner.

Keep up with key digital trends and technologies and how they’re being applied in your industry. Read books. Add ‘digital’, ‘digital strategy’, ‘digital marketing’, ‘IoT’, ‘Machine Learning’ and other digital topics to your list of online news feeds to follow.

When you attend conferences, seek out digital sessions, breakouts and vendors to educate yourself. Talk with peers in industry groups, online forums and social media. Ask industry peers and your staff to share their technical knowledge with you.

#2 – Model digital behavior

Be a leader, not a laggard in adopting digital technologies and new ways of working.

Try new digital products and tools such as collaboration tools, agile platforms, social media and personal productivity apps. Encourage and talk about them with others in your organization.

Form and share your own opinions about the relevance and value they could bring if adopted more broadly within your organization. Use new digital platforms in your presentations.

#3 – Educate other leaders

Become a resource for the rest of your leadership team.

Share examples of how other organizations are using digital – by passing along articles that help them become more digitally literate. When forwarding articles – share your thoughts on why the article is relevant or how the ideas could help the leader with his or her goals.

Encourage leaders to subscribe to blogs, bookmark pages that constantly refresh content, and frequent other sources of thought leadership on digital (McKinsey & Company has good educational content).

# 4 – Be the Voice of Digital

Just as the Voice of the Customer (VOC) needs to be considered in every organization, take it upon yourself to become the Voice of Digital (VOD).

Insert the digital perspective and opportunities as appropriate in business strategy and planning sessions, budgeting exercises and projects.

If your leadership team isn’t talking about it, get it on the agenda. Help the organization focus its lens on what relevant aspects of digital can add the most value.

#5 – Visibly support digital efforts

Sponsor digital projects that allow your teams to pilot, learn and build digital competencies.

Institute brown bags on key digital topics. Encourage the setup of cross-functional teams to build broader understanding and support for the value digital can bring.

Champion these efforts and promote the results across your organization to further prophesize why digital needs should become part of your organization’s capabilities.

Recognize those who demonstrate initiative and leadership in the digital space.

If you need help in defining or refining your organization’s digital strategy, we can help or read more about how to get started in our series on the Ten Key Components of Digital Strategy.