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In recent years you will have seen and heard endless references to being clear on your ‘why’. It’s about knowing your purpose, believing in it, and having a clear set of objectives. Once you know what you need to achieve and why, you can build your strategy…your how.

Think about the organisation you are a director of – I assume it is clear on its purpose and its objectives. Your organisation has several major business divisions, each with an executive reporting to the CEO. Some business divisions are revenue-generating, and others are support functions.

Each of the executives of these business divisions has objectives set by the CEO and endorsed by the board. Assuming you have done your job, the sum of these objectives aligns with what the organisation must achieve.

Each executive, often with ‘chief’ in their title, will focus on the objectives the CEO has set for them. Delivering these objectives is a big deal. Large sums of money, recognition and the potential for career progression are on the line. Such a design of performance objectives has served organisations well for decades. Under this approach, we manage the friction between divisions through well-defined touchpoints.

For digital, designing performance objectives this way will take you on the path to failure

Is everyone pulling in the same direction?

Now consider your organisation’s digital transformation. Think about what it is trying to achieve. Think about the definition I provided a few weeks ago for digital. If you missed it, I define digital as:

Leveraging the internet to help organisations be more inclusive in how they innovate to solve customer problems.

Note my reference to inclusion in the definition of digital. Inclusiveness means bringing people together from across the business and including external parties to focus on outcomes. To access resources from several business divisions requires support from many executives. The only way to ensure this support is for your executives to have skin in the digital game. Your executives must share digital performance targets.

Without shared targets, executives will support digital with a ‘best efforts’ mentality. In other words, so long as they can deliver on their own objectives, they will help digital. If, by helping digital, they are unable to meet their own objectives, you can guess the decision an executive will make.

Do all of your executives have skin in the digital game?