Joe Puglisi on Digital Transformation Leaders: Calm Teachers and Helpful Simplifiers

 When you meet Joe Puglisi, see him moderating a panel on stage, or participate in his SIM members in transition calls, you instantly know he’s someone you can learn a lot from.

Joe was one of several key contributors to a recent Coffee with Digital Trailblazers, where we discussed who the right people are to lead digital transformation initiatives. Several of us collaborated after the episode and identified 50 attributes of Digital Trailblazers (publishing soon) that we organized into five competency areas. You can read more about the Digital Trailblazer Competency Areas and watch the video where I share my top five Digital Trailblazer Attributes.

Joe Puglisi, Isaac Sacolick - Digital Transformation Leaders

Joe is the second leader I interviewed around the Digital Trailblazer Attributes, and he spoke from a board member, investor, and long-time CIO’s background. Martin Davis was the first interviewee, and he spoke from a CIO and now CIO advisor’s vantage point. Watch Joe, Martin, and my episodes; you’ll see some common leadership styles and other areas where we address transformation goals from different perspectives. I embedded all three episodes at the bottom of this post.

Advice on presenting to the Board of Directors

The defining topic of Joe’s episode is his advice on presenting to Boards. Joe believes a Digital Trailblazer’s most important transformation competency area is to be a savvy presenter, and he shares five key recommendations specifically on presenting to Boards. Whether you’re an experienced CIO who’s presented to Boards many times or your first time presenting to the Board, Joe’s simple advice will help you prepare and present an appropriate level of detail.

“Don’t assume that they don’t understand anything, and the flip side of that is don’t assume that they do understand everything, so make your presentation crystal clear,” says Joe.

If you’re readying yourself to collaborate at the board level, see my recent post on five mistakes IT leaders make at board meetings.

Remain calm: Target's on a Digital Trailblazer's back

Both Joe and I identified remaining calm and regulating emotions as a top leadership attribute of Digital Trailblazers. Staying calm amidst the detractors, crises, and other obstacles is easier to talk about than follow, and I share some of my challenges in Chapters 2, 9, and 10 of Digital Trailblazer.

Joe reminds everyone that “poop occurs, and there’s no point panicking.” He recommends following his RCatT principle, “Remain Calm at all Times.”

Digital Trailblazers must be lifelong learners. I highly recommend watching Joe and Martin’s episodes on who the right people are to lead digital transformation initiatives.

Driving Digital Standup Videos

Joe Puglisi: Board Director, Investor, CIO

Martin Davis, CIO Advisor

Who are the Right People to Lead Digital Transformation Initiatives

Isaac Sacolick
Join us for a future session of Coffee with Digital Trailblazers, where we discuss topics for aspiring transformation leaders. If you enjoy my thought leadership, please sign up for the Driving Digital Newsletter and read all about my transformation stories in Digital Trailblazer.

Coffee with Digital Trailblazers hosted by Isaac Sacolick Digital Trailblazers!  Join us Fridays at 11am ET for a live audio discussion on digital transformation topics:  innovation, product management, agile, DevOps, data governance, and more!

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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.