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If not already, digital will play a vital role in your organisation’s future. Even today, studies are saying 70% or more businesses fail at digital transformation.

Your executives are telling you their digital transformation is different. Your executives say they have learnt the lessons from others. But you are not so sure. You have that gut feeling, that voice in your head that things are not quite right. You know the board should do more, but you don’t know what. As a director, you know you must play a key role in governing digital, but you are unsure how to do this. Your background is in finance, legal, and operations, not technology.

My research shows most directors are in the same boat. The directors I spoke with are not overseeing a start-up or digital natives. The directors I spoke with are on the board of organisations that are complex. Their technologies date back decades, way before the internet era. Reward structures, both informal and formal, recognise decision-making, not collaboration. People need to get it right the first time, and not take risks. In other words, most directors must balance today’s reality with tomorrow’s aspirations.

I wrote The Digital Director because your gut is right: directors should be doing more. I have been developing IT and digital strategies for over 20 years. I can confidently say that it’s directors like you who will tip the scales towards digital success.

I continue to work with directors and members of executive management teams. I work with the senior leaders your executives expect to deliver the transformation. The very senior leaders who must, in parallel, operate the day-to-day.

I have experienced success and failure, as have my peers. I talk to the experts, read the books and articles, listen to the podcasts, and attend the events. I see the correlation between engaged directors and digital success. An engaged director is willing to learn, willing to question as well as support the executive.

Are you an active or passive member of the team?

On the flip side, I see directors who are passive in their approach to digital. Passive directors are not uninterested in digital. Passive directors often have the mistaken belief that digital is about technology. Most directors do not have a technology background so do not feel it their place to ask questions. Or do not feel confident to ask questions.

Digital is a whole of organisation change program, and you must play an active role. I do not exaggerate when I say, a digital transformation will fail if you are passive.