CEO Best Practices

How C-Suite Executives Lead Digital Transformation, Part 3: Drive

Your company has untapped potential. But potential isn’t the issue. Priorities are. Sometimes, potential needs to fade. Priorities for C-Suite Executives, like how to lead Digital Transformation, must never.

You have made digital transformation a priority, rallied the agents of change (Part 1), and crafted the elements of change (Part 2). Now you must drive the change. Digital Transformations stall or die. They stall or die because they were never really the priority in the first place; the whole idea was just potential. Four commitments drive priorities.


Companies must build on six P.I.L.L.A.R.S of communication.

1.   Paint a picture of the change you are after. Companies forget mission or change focus, especially when outside voices begin to be heard, such as vendors.

2.   Inform. Update on progress; make data accessible.

3.   Lift up people. Who is making strides? What team reached a milestone?

4.   Lead others into the process. You must get out in front with as many as possible. Waiting for peers will put you behind. Someone said, “If you want me there at the crash landing, invite me to the launch.”

5.   Apply change. Help people understand This Not That. Tell stories of elements of change being done right.

6.   Resolve Conflict. Conflict usually occurs because people have different information or different interpretation or different interests at stake. Leaders turn confrontations into conversations wherein parties are listening to learn, speaking to be understood and seeking common solution not just cease-fire.

7.   Steer the change process when it gets off course. Urgency will arise. Unforeseen circumstances will appear. Drivers of transformation keep returning people to the picture of the change you all are after.

Connect Resources 

Are mentors, coaches and skill trainers available to the teams implementing Digital Transformation?

What cross-disciplines, team-pollination will advance rather than impede development?

Are we wrestling through issues that requires outside expertise?

Can we trust the outside help to be an unbiased stakeholder?


No one wants to act in such a way that money and resources are wasted by having to go back and redo work.

But Digital Transformation gets sidelined when too much is invested in perfecting systems.

Leaders who drive push for tests and implementation. As long as teams have been communicating and viable cautions have been addressed, then sometimes you just have to ship.


Digital Transformations are not just about corporate change. Celebration at the end is appropriate: Change has been made. But celebrations along the way reinforce that people are the ones making the change. The end is a product of great minds and talents within the initiative. It’s hard to acknowledge everyone who was involved at an end of mission celebration: Like a long list of credits at the end of the movie, no one will really pay attention. End of mission celebrations often end up focused on the C-Suite Executives. But if everyone is acknowledged meaningfully along the way, they will share in the joy and applaud your leadership.

Digital Transformation is on you. It is your company. Rally your stakeholders. Craft what is uniquely you. Drive it home.

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