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  • Writer's pictureSimon Jones

How do I stay relevant...digitally that is?

Are you providing seamless solutions, within a superfluid market in a hyperconnected reality? Or is your reality more like the graceful swan analogy with feet swimming furiously below the waterline.

According to an independent Deloitte study 5 years ago, 87% of surveyed business leaders believed that technology will disrupt their industry. We have had a pandemic since then and the accelerated role that technology has played in enabling businesses to keep operating is more than well documented. The same Deloitte and MIT-Sloan study also found that 91% of responding companies did not believe their talent would be able compete in the new digital workplace. That’s a lot of people that potentially believed to be ‘out of their digital depth’.

In this new hyperconnected world, how do you stay up to date?

As a career interim C-suite leader for over 20 years, embracing change and staying relevant is part of the job description. Here are my tried and tested recommendations.

Get used to feeling uncomfortable

Start embracing change and challenging your typical point of view. Getting outside of your comfort zone can bring a new perspective to your work and provide more flexibility when you are faced with a challenge or unfamiliar situation. You may find breaking out of your usual routine helps (again the pandemic may have already done this). Try getting involved with initiatives and forums that are discussing similar challenges, time to stick your head above the parapet and test your understanding outside the confines of work.

Read, listen, learn

Find out what the pacesetters and disrupters are doing and track their progress. There are reams of articles and podcasts out there on the latest thinking. Reach out to tech savvy people in you network, follow them and thought leaders who they follow on LinkedIn like Alan Brown (Professor in Digital Economy), Joe Peppard or EY’s Tim Gordon. Look for those that don’t just spout what you should do but how you should do it – or how they did it and what they learnt as a result. A good series for CFO by EY

Consider a coach

Technology develops by continuous improvement and iterating from lessons learned so why shouldn’t we take the same approach. Coaching is the new training. It is an enabler for your own personal development, to identify your strengths and make you aware of your own barriers and how to overcome them and therefore unlocking your own potential.

Get ahead of the game

Think data, reporting and forecasting – spreadsheets are not the only tool in the box, it is easier to access and manipulate data than ever before. Get on this now – Mckinsey and Harvard Business Review are great places to start – both at the macro and micro level depending on your remit It’s where the intelligence is to facilitate agility. Being able to make informed and qualitative decisions quickly to meet whatever the internal or external challenge, question or demand. Or even better predict and pre-empt it. Don’t be left sticking your finger in the air or worse asking for another 2 weeks to come up with the answer.

In shifting sand find stability.

If may feel like everything you knew to be true has changed. Its outsourced, rented, borrowed. Premises and assets are no longer in vogue, but culturally we want a people centric business where our employees are nurtured and feel part of connected community.

In all this dynamism hold on to the things that are still true – business still need to be cost efficient, manage risk, add value and cash is still king.

With everything being done seamlessly via an App don’t let your department be the slowest cog, the last one still running manual process and holding everything up! Keeping up may feel uncomfortable but embrace change and make it your new norm.


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