Gartner Research

Using Paradoxes to Build Digital Business Leadership

Published: 25 August 2014

ID: G00270089

Analyst(s): Patrick Meehan, Tomas Nielsen , Ed Gabrys


Digital business is changing the business environment across all sectors and geographies. Paradoxically, this customer- and employee-led transformation destroys existing linear leadership models in every area of the business. As a result, it requires a new approach to leadership.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Question
  • Opportunities and Challenges
  • How This Report Will Help


Executive Summary

  • Five paradoxes drive digital business leadership
  • Digital business leadership competencies and principal tasks
  • Leadership networks: A new leadership paradigm
  • Actions to develop digital business leadership

Five Paradoxes Drive Digital Business Leadership

  • Radically innovate while continually optimizing
  • Compete in sprints while delivering long-term value
  • Integrate external partners while operating as a single entity
  • Recognize that digital value plays a larger role in the sale but that true value is delivered over time
  • Provide technologically enabled offerings while focusing on value, not technology
  • Beyond immediate actions: The digital business leadership challenge

Digital Business Leadership Competencies and Principal Tasks

  • Leadership requires social and task competencies
  • The three social leadership competencies
  • The three task leadership competencies
  • Both social and task leadership competencies are integral to transformational digital leadership
  • The three principal digital business leadership tasks
  • Summary: Digital business leadership competencies and principal tasks

Leadership Networks: A New Leadership Paradigm

  • What is a leadership network?
  • The operating model of a leadership network
  • Refining digital goals and shared operating principles
  • A digital business leadership action framework

Actions to Develop Digital Business Leadership

  • Define the digital vision and the digital operating principles
  • Separate digital leadership from operational IT management
  • Reorganize and retitle the entire enterprise to drive a digital focus
  • Establish a digital practice
  • Other tactics for developing digital business leadership
  • Conclusion

Further Reading

  • Related content
  • Gartner Executive Programs reports
  • Core research
  • Books
  • Website

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