By Matt Owen

In past editions of ClickZChat we’ve focused on fairly targeted insights, but with our new event Shift fast approaching, the time seemed right to tackle some larger themes.

This week we took to Twitter to ask our followers how inspired leadership can drive transformation initiatives, and where people fit into the grand scheme of the ‘digitally ready company’.

Q1: What are the key characteristics of digital leaders?

Q1: What qualities do great digital leaders need? Transparency, tech skills, agility? Let us know! #ClickZChat pic.twitter.com/9fqezl65o2

— ClickZ (@ClickZ) April 13, 2016

A digital leader has to have something that sets them apart from others, and many of our followers felt that this was as much about mindset as it was experience.

@ClickZ A1: They execute. Instead of theorizing the impact of an app, they use it and give honest insights or unbiased opinions #ClickZChat

— Odem Global (@odemglobal) April 13, 2016

@ClickZ A1: An open-mind… transformation often requires a lot of risk short-term but need to see the benefits, not the immediate work

— Chris Williams (@christentive) April 13, 2016

@ClickZ A1: Authenticity is also important when trying to stand out in the digital world with your unique voice. #ClickZChat

— Tereza Litsa (@terezalitsa) April 13, 2016

Clearly, leadership in the digital world requires agility and a genuine curiosity about the possibilities of new channels and tech, but openness and a genuine desire to collaborate lies at the heart of what makes digital leaders different from their offline counterparts.

No sneaking around and hiding behind others – being bold! #ClickZChat https://t.co/mdzscZ9iVy

— ClickZ (@ClickZ) April 13, 2016

Q2: Should marketing be leading digital transformation?

These traits are often found in the marketing department, and it doesn’t seem unfair to suggest that marketing is where a lot of the talk (and action) around digital transformation exists. Is marketing responsible for driving organisational change?

Q2: Should #marketing always be leading the digital charge? Who sets the pace in your business? #ClickZChat pic.twitter.com/caS5PVRdVN

— ClickZ (@ClickZ) April 13, 2016

Several people agreed with this, but felt that successful transformation very much relied on getting buy-in at board level

A2 Generally speaking, whoever is closest to the money holds the power. Marketers need to prove worth… #ClickZchat pic.twitter.com/MHGiHgr7i3

— Andrew Warren-Payne (@agwp) April 13, 2016

But this in itself required faith in the practitioners to implement effectively:

@sewatch C-suite needs to provide discretionary test budget, then step far away to let people actually test. Red tape delays adoption.

— Parry Malm (@ParryMalm) April 13, 2016

With so much resting on the people, how much does the technical side really matter?

Q3: Is it the tools, or is it the talent? Should we be investing in tech or training to drive digital change? pic.twitter.com/tNkPn9zcfG

— ClickZ (@ClickZ) April 13, 2016

@ClickZ Tech is the rocket, Talent is the fuel! #blastoff pic.twitter.com/gN451yc9DY

— Odem Global (@odemglobal) April 13, 2016

A3) IMO: Leaning towards culture & talent than the tech, how willing are you to embrace digital.#ClickZChat

— jason (@jj_stockwell) April 13, 2016

@sewatch #EClickZChat A3: Digital transformation is 75% culture & 25% #tech. It’s all about the culture & customers being open to change.

— Christopher Thames (@ChrisThames29) April 13, 2016

What can we learn from this?

Several key themes arose during this week’s chat, but perhaps most important was the opinion that digital transformation is something that needs to be realised at a cultural level throughout the entire business, but it should be driven by members of the C-Suite who are open to new practices and technology.

Real success hinges on having a sense of genuine trust in staff, and the agility to deploy projects quickly.

We also heard from followers about good examples of transformation, such as General Electric and Maersk using content to redefine their brand and the conversation in the B2B sector, and again, this highlighted the need for real faith in the long-term results, and a shift away from immediate returns.

If you are interested in digital transformation and leadership, be sure to check out our Shift event series, where we’ll be taking a deep-dive into the practical realities of transformation projects.

Thanks again to everyone who took part this week – make sure you join us for our next regular #ClickZChat on Wednesday at noon EST.

Read more here:: Insights on digital leadership & transformation from last week’s #ClickZChat