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Ideas Made to Matter


14 quotes and stats for leaders in the digital economy


“Your long-term success is not just determined by what you achieve alone, but also by how you empower, engage, support, and elevate your colleagues and teams in the ecosystem around you.”

This advice from Carol Cohen, senior vice president of global talent and transformation at Cognizant, outlines the challenges digital leaders face as they help their employees and organizations succeed amid technological and cultural changes.

Here are some other insights, and a few data points, about how to lead an organization in today’s digital economy.

“One of the big roles of leaders [during a digital transformation] is to create a safe, supporting environment where people are able to learn. They can't [learn] if they're constantly feeling like their job is in jeopardy or their reputation is in some way vulnerable.”  — Kristine Dery, research scientist, MIT Center for Information Systems Research Read more

“The ability to envision and drive change is just as important as the ability to work with technology. If you don’t have both, you can’t succeed in this world.” — George Westerman, senior lecturer, MIT Sloan Read more

Only 9% of respondents felt that their leaders had the skills or demonstrated the behaviors it will take to lead in the digital age, according to a report from MIT Sloan senior lecturer Douglas Ready.

“Instead of assuming only one group has all the solutions, scout around for those who have already fixed the challenges or have created something promising … It's really about using collective genius. We can get ourselves cross-organized and solve a lot more of these problems faster.” Megan Smith, former U.S. chief technology officer Read more

“Creating, aligning, and empowering diverse teams is one of the best ways to discover and develop new ideas.” — Craig Robinson, former global head of Powered by We, WeWork’s technology, development, and management services division Read more

“Most leaders excel at thinking, 'Oh, here are the tasks to be done,’ but they often don't step back to consider how specific roles are changing and what that means for people experiencing a significant identity shift at work.” — Hal Gregersen, senior lecturer, MIT Sloan Read more

“Even as managers change [old processes and systems], they need to find a way for more experienced members to leave the old hierarchy and progress up the new one.” — Kate Kellogg, professor of work and organization studies, MIT Sloan Read more

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Strategic leadership for the digital economy

Large enterprises with digitally savvy leadership teams outperformed comparable companies without such teams by more than 48% based on revenue growth and valuation, according to researchers from the MIT Center for Information Systems Research.

 “The great advantage of a good business leader or a manager in a company is that they understand their business and their market really well. The challenge is also that you understand your business well, so when a new technology comes along, it's harder to think about how might this technology really change the way you do your business.  Dan Huttenlocher, inaugural dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing Read more

“Executives [at data-savvy firms] use KPIs to lead the enterprise, not just manage it. They want KPIs to inspire, not just to inform. Every organization I advise has this performance management challenge front and center as a leadership priority.” — Michael Schrage, visiting research fellow, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy Read more

“If you're not going to be able to be data-driven and [hold] your team accountable from the top, it's not going to flow down. Leadership is the key. Data literacy projects shouldn’t be launched without executives being part of the program.” — Piyanka Jain, president and CEO, Aryng Read more

“What we're trying to do is develop new technologies, develop new offerings, which are always linked back to our core business.” — Dirk Heiss, head of digital platforms, Munich Re Read more

“Go out on the limb, that’s where all the fruit is. Take a few risks — trust that your people will admire you for doing so. Leadership is a privilege. Embrace it as you build a community of leaders in this new economy.” — Doug Ready, senior lecturer, MIT Sloan Read more

For more info Sara Brown Senior News Editor and Writer