The D Suite: digital, data and disruption in the boardroom

New report from executive search and leadership advisory organisation, Adastrum Consulting, outlines the skills needed to lead in the digital age.


17 January 2019: Executive search and leadership advisory organisation, Adastrum Consulting, today launches its latest report, which explores the leadership skills needed in an age of digital disruption. Entitled The DSuite: digital, data and disruption in the boardroom, the report has been created to act as a guide to leading in a world dominated by data, digital, and disruptive technology.  


Leading in an age of disruption

In this world of constant disruption, where speed, agility and innovation are key, the pressures on leadership teams from across industry are multi-faceted and growing. The report highlights how harnessing digital transformation to respond to disruption and – indeed – to be a disruptor, requires a fundamental shift in business model, impacting everything from customer experience and operations to marketing and culture.


It explores how leaders in this age of digital, data and disruption need to be agile, nimble, adaptable and capable of driving a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. They need to understand how digital technology and data science can shape their organisations and those of their competitors, be vigilant to the ever increasing risk from cyber crime, while still retaining the foundations of traditional leadership in terms of displaying emotional intelligence, a sense of purpose and realising the art of the possible.


Emerging roles

The report tracks how leadership roles have changed and developed in recent times to reflect the key role all things digital, data and cyber now play. Chief Data Scientist, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Data Officer, Chief Transformation Officer and Chief Cyber Security Officer – these are not roles that existed until recently, but are now joining the C-Suite and are certainly influencing the executive.


Developing digital leaders

Crucially, the report demonstrates how to identify and develop digital leaders, including key considerations such as:


The importance of emotional intelligence

Speaking the right language

Building networks

Prioritising succession planning

Not hiring in your own image

Thinking outside the box

Appreciating the importance of purpose


Commenting on the report, Chris Underwood, Managing Director of Adastrum Consulting says: “Rapidly evolving technology and disruptive business models call for a different approach to leadership. As such, a new approach to how leaders are developed is also needed.


“A great digital leader is a hugely valuable and impactful resource, who can help transform a business, deliver effective growth strategies, build great teams and of course make the difference between success and failure for an organisation. With such high stakes at play, it should come as no surprise that identifying, developing and retaining quality leaders can be a challenge. This is why leadership development has such a vital role to play in both identifying successful leaders, and also pinpointing areas for growth and development.


“However, traditional development tools tend to focus on standardised characteristics of leaders, (how they behave, think and feel) independently of the context of the environment that they will be applied in; leadership does not exist independently of its application!


“For too long there has been a spotlight on specific sets of static characteristics and a focus on ‘leaders’ and ‘followers’. However it is hugely important to take a holistic approach that goes beyond behaviour and personality types. This should look at how success is defined; explore a leader’s sense of purpose and how their leadership style and the organisational context of the environment they are leading in act as a facilitator or barrier to achieving successful outcomes.


“The opportunities presented by digital technology and the data it enables are endless. Many organisations are at a tipping point, where they can either embrace disruptive technology and new operating models, or be eclipsed by competitors that do. With the right mix, balance and approach, evolving leadership teams can work together to successfully harness these opportunities, drive growth and realise the art of the possible!”


Read the full report here



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About Adastrum Consulting

Adastrum Consulting is a new breed of executive search and leadership advisory business that is revolutionising the industry and setting new standards. Founded in 2009 by Chris Underwood, it uses an integrated talent management approach to support business transformation.


Businesses from FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 organisations to venture capital backed start-ups trust Adastrum Consulting to assess, define and shape their talent management and attraction strategies allowing them to identify, attract, validate and appoint leaders who will deliver business excellence.