“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is often quoted from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet. The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not always reflect who or what they really are. In the case of Juliet she is saying that she loves her handsome Romeo regardless if his name is Montague. While in Juliet’s case this was positive it is not always positive. A credible name or title can easily be attached to poor quality content.

I would argue this is now the case for “Leadership Development Courses.” The name seems to conjure a very positive view of what is on offer without this necessarily being the case. It is impossible to have Leadership Development today unless a significant part of the course focuses on Digital Transformation. Many courses don’t or they do it in a quite superficial way. Traditional leadership skills are still essential but digital transformation has to be addressed as an opportunity before it becomes a threat.

The often used cliché, “what got you here won’t get you there” is even more true for the digital world. It’s a different animal, it moves at a different pace. It requires a change in leaders’ mindset which will then affect change in the collective organisational mindset allowing digital transformation to be properly addressed.

There is an old work-related tale about a tiny bird flying north and going off course in a storm. His wings freeze and it looks as though his life is over as he falls to earth. The bird lands in a fresh, warm cowpat, it’s wings start to thaw out, warm up and he comes back to life and starts chirping with joy. Happy ending? Not quite. His chirps attract the attention of a nearby fox who promptly eats him. The so-called moral of the story is, “if you are warm and happy in a pile of dung – just stay there and keep quiet.”

The real moral of the story is this: don’t get blown off course in the first place.  Beware the storms of digital disruption don’t land you in a pile of digital dung. Learn how to navigate in the new digital world.

So what do you need to do?

1 – Start the process of changing your mindset by undertaking a digital transformation leadership development course. Make sure your course addresses the new realities of data, strategy, rapid testing, communication, engagement and innovation in the new digital world.

2 – Work within a digital transformation framework, which ensures that all your actions are joined up and will allow you to implement a strategy that will ensure you safely avoid disruption.

There is another well used cliché in IT: Garbage in – Garbage out. I would submit that Nothing in – Nothing out also applies. You won’t address digital transformation by just developing the leadership skills that got you here!