These CEOs 'Get' Digital Disruption

We've all heard about the CEOs and leaders who don't get digital, who don't invest, who are risk averse, who assign blame at every speed bump, who think there businesses are defendable against startups and new digital business models.

So this week I present a handful of CEOs who appear to 'get it'. The ones that realize that staying static or making changes slowly is no longer an option. That digital disruption is not just about implementing new technology, fostering innovation, or even driving culture change - it's about rethinking their businesses top down and bottom up from a new digital lens.

They recognize new competitive threats but seem them as opportunities. They invest in their talent but also know when to partner. They are not afraid to cannibalize existing business if it enables them to get into more sustainable ones.

So this past weekend I pulled some quotes from CEOs talking about digital, disruption, and transformation.

Digital Requires Being Aggressive  

And thirdly, leaders need to lead differently. In my experience, people become more risk averse the more senior they become. But doing the same thing a little better is now the riskiest thing you can do. -- Antony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclays

Don't come down with a thousand pages of PowerPoint decks and heat maps. Come into the board room, put your fist down and say, 'There is a war going on.' -- Jennifer Banner, CEO Schaad Companies LLC

Organisations need to be much less hierarchical. They cannot be blame-based. You as CEOs need to encourage the people that work for you to challenge you ... In a disruptive age, deference if overdone can be corporate death. -- Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia

Executing Digital Transformation

You need to reward well executed failures just as much as you reward successes. People have to feel free to take chances and know they won’t be punished if it goes wrong, as long as they made reasonable choices along the way -- John Burgin, CEO of Cognizant

Accepting that what was relevant 20 years ago is not always relevant today, and having the courage to reinvent the company is the best way to stave off stagnation and compete successfully. The ability to innovate and embrace change is the only way for a company to continue to lead in its market today -- Frans van Houten, CEO Philips

All companies fit into one of two buckets: either becoming a software company or being disrupted by one. Every industry is being fundamentally altered by software -- Cannon-Brooks, co-CEO of Atlassian

Fifty percent of our business has changed in the last 10 years. The key to surviving is having an ownership culture… You have to get to people’s pride. -- Joe Kaeser, CEO, Siemens

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments on this blog are moderated and we do not accept comments that have links to other websites.


About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.