Delivering digital wisdom in a Covid age

For businesses struggling to provide digital competence during lockdown, you can always rely on Vistage for dependable professional advice.

Delivering digital wisdom in a Covid age

For businesses struggling to provide digital competence during lockdown, you can always rely on Vistage for dependable professional advice.

The existence of Covid-19 has been destructive in so many different ways. On the most important level of all, Coronavirus has been deadly, killing more than 1.25m people worldwide and it’s a figure that’s still rising. It has also been the death knell of many once thriving businesses, which in turn affect livelihoods, mortgages and even the ability to put food on the table.

From a purely business point of view, if anything has emerged from this dreadful year for humanity, it is the importance of having a strong digital infrastructure. Terms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams suddenly came to the fore during 2020 and companies which invested in robust IT systems and advice were able to weather the storm much better than those which hadn’t. When lockdown was imposed, companies which embraced digital technology performed best of all during the on-going crisis.

Many leaders lack digital confidence

Research undertaken by Vistage showed that many bosses didn’t feel comfortable about leading a digital revolution and are probably counting the cost right now. Vistage‘s in-depth research into the subject showed that only 27% of business leaders, who took part in the survey, felt their company was ‘ready to fully embrace digital transformation.’ And only 30% were comfortable about leading their organisation remotely. 

Taking this data on board, Vistage have now published a comprehensive white paper aimed at helping non-technical leaders take ownership of digital transformation. Vistage believes that a lack of executive confidence is holding back digital transformation in many companies, especially in small and medium size businesses, and their recently compiled white paper addresses these issues in detail. 

This must-have document covers a wide range of different topics, such as providing a general description of what digital transformation actually entails and how it can assist various departments within each company. It covers marketing and sales, customer service, operations and facilities, leadership, finance and also human resources. No stone is left unturned.

The document offers advice under the banner: ‘How to lead digital transformation without being an IT expert,’ which is one of the reasons why Vistage felt so strongly about undertaking this project. They even advise bosses to: ‘Learn to let go. Don’t get involved in operational detail. Focus your time on strategic thinking but give teams the support and freedom to explore different options themselves.’

Not simply an IT exercise

Among a number of eye-catching tips, within this particular section of the white paper, Vistage urge leaders to ‘Get everyone involved. You need to dispel the myth that this is an IT project. It’s not. It’s a business project and everyone needs to get involved.’ The document lists a number of ‘warning signs’ which may suggest the culture within a company may be holding it back from fully grasping the importance of installing a modern, relevant and effective digital infrastructure.

Within this particularly straight-talking but very necessary section, Vistage discuss problems such as ‘teams not working well with each other‘ or ‘staff playing the blame game‘ or perhaps that ‘staff are struggling to cope with change‘. These are all very contemporary problems. According to Vistage, one solution is for businesses to ‘ensure alignment between departments‘ while making sure employees ‘are able to give and receive honest feedback at regular intervals throughout the year.’

Encourage dialogue to boost employee participation

On the subject of understanding the importance of accepting that change happens in every company, and on a frequent and necessary basis, Vistage advise: ‘Help your people to understand the reasons for change and how it will help them. Encourage dialogue to help them feel more invested in the process. Remember to communicate why you’re doing this at regular intervals. This is a core part of any management process.’

The document also suggests that management should explain which processes ‘won’t be changing’ during digital transformation. It says bosses should remind staff members that the company’s ‘core values remain the same and that it’s going to be the same business next year as it is now, and that you still value your people as much as ever.’ There is a section on ‘How to lead remotely‘ which includes ‘tips for inspiring staff over Zoom.’

Don’t forget this particular feature barely scrapes the surface of the advice supplied by Vistage in their white paper. It is highly recommended you read it before taking your next step in this most important of digital revolutions currently taking place in the global economy.

This article comes courtesy of Vistage who offer a unique combination of resources for accelerating business performance. This includes one-to-one executive coaching and mentoring sessions; interactive workshops; a rich online library of content; best practices and webinars; plus words of wisdom from expert speakers. Vistage offer access to a global membership network of more than 22,000 business leaders.

To apply for a Vistage Chair role: Contact us via or call us on +44 (0)1489 770 200.


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