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It’s time to move beyond digital.

Digital transformation is critical. But winning in today's world requires more than digitisation. It requires understanding that the nature of competitive advantage has shifted—and that being digital is not enough.

Our latest book on how great leaders transform their organisations and shape the future

Pulling from years of in-depth research, the authors take readers inside twelve companies to reveal how they have reimagined their business models and achieved monumental transformation that goes further than incremental digital initiatives. For each of these companies, seven common elements emerged that serve as a roadmap for how other leaders can transform their companies for success in a world beyond digital.

A new competitive dynamic

If your organisation is busier than ever digitising, you're not alone

Yet despite so much energy and investment in digitisation, we hear many executives express concern that they are actually falling behind on making important choices that lead to differentiation. So what drives success today? There are three fundamental ways that the model of value creation has changed.

The revolution of demand

The internet has given customers instant access to more choices and insight into the quality of these choices. Customers across industries have responded to the larger set of options they can choose from with a nearly infinite set of expectations. There simply is no place to hide for companies that aren’t both excellent and differentiated by their capabilities.

The revolution of supply

As opposed to past decades, when big companies could dominate by scaling through mass production and distribution, today’s tools like cloud technology have enabled smaller companies to achieve scale without owning it. The power of incumbents has declined, while barriers to entry—and barriers to cooperation between companies—have been lowered, creating an ecosystem-driven economy.

The transformation of context

In addition to profit, today’s executives must balance many factors when deciding how to create value. Considerations including employee equity, ESG impact, supplier ethics and global interconnectedness add up to a new—and often uncertain—context in which companies must operate.

How can companies respond?

The old playbook—in which companies launch repeated digital initiatives to keep pace with technology innovation—is no longer the way to differentiate.

To achieve meaningful transformation in today’s new context, success relies on addressing the new competitive dynamics described above. This means that companies must build unique capabilities that enable them to deliver value in a unique way, work with digitally-enabled ecosystems and tackle some of the world’s massive problems.

What steps can leaders take to structure and execute such transformations? Our research reveals seven imperatives that enable a company to successfully transform and shape its future.    

How your company faces the external world

Reimagine your company’s place in the world

1

2

Embrance and create value via ecosystems
Build a system of privileged
insights with customers

3

How your company sets itself up to create fundamental advantage

4

Make your organization outcome-oriented
Invert the focus of the leadership team

5

6

Reinvent the social contract with your people

How you lead

Disrupt your own leadership approach

7

The seven leadership imperatives

  • 1Reimagine your company’s place in the world

    Redefine what problems your company is here to solve and what differentiating capabilities are required for that.

  • 2Embrace and create value via ecosystems

    Collaborate with other organizations to deliver value propositions no company could offer by itself, and access needed capabilities.

  • 3Build a system of privileged insights with your customers

    Build trusted relationships with customers to gain unique insights on their true wants and needs to increase the value you create.

  • 4Make your organization outcome-oriented

    Bring together multidimensional skills in outcome-oriented teams that deliver the required differentiating capabilities.

  • 5Invert the focus of your leadership team

    Rethink the composition of the leadership team to drive collaborative performance and shift the team’s focus to propelling the transformation.

  • 6Reinvent the social contract with your people

    Reinvent your relationship with your people, putting them at the center of your value creation model and giving them the means to lead and drive the transformation.

  • 7Disrupt your own leadership approach

    Proactively invest in your own leadership capability development, building a new type of leadership that balances across a range of leadership paradoxes.


Six paradoxes of leadership

Throughout the research conducted for Beyond Digital, it became clear that—in addition to company transformation—leaders must also transform their own approaches in order to reimagine and re-architect their organisations. 

While no single attribute makes leaders successful, there is a collection of necessary qualities—many of which may appear contradictory at first glance—that we call the six paradoxes of leadership. 

Our survey data has shown that the six paradoxes are considered important or even critical to success by the vast majority of respondents. Yet respondents also voiced alarming concern about leaders’ lack of proficiency in these essential characteristics.

What are the six paradoxes? And how can leaders address this gap and adopt the paradoxes to guide their own development? Get details here.

Discover the six paradoxes

Importance of and proficiency at the six paradoxes of leadership
Relevance: share of respondents indicating that both characteristics of the paradox are important or critical to the company’s future success
Proficiency: share of respondents indicating that top leaders in their organisation are good or best in class at both characteristics of the paradox
Strategic executor
%
%
Tech-savvy humanist
%
%
High-integrity politician
%
%
Humble hero
%
%
Globally minded localist
%
%
Traditioned innovator
%
%
Source: Strategy& survey with 515 participants in 2021

What people are saying about the book

Beyond Digital is ... “a must-read for leaders who are serious about moving away from incremental change or one-off change projects to a fundamental overhaul of the enterprise they are in charge of.”

Ingo Bank CEO, OSRAM Licht AG

"Beyond Digital provides a detailed, well-researched road map for companies looking to transform themselves in an era when digitization is no longer a differentiator ..."

Tom Mihaljevic, MD CEO and President, Cleveland Clinic

"... Beyond Digital clearly describes the imperatives and actions that will make tomorrow's leaders successful ..."

Ray Lane Managing Partner, Greatpoint Ventures; former President, Oracle; former Executive Chairman, Hewlett-Packard Company; member of the board of directors, Beyond Meat

"... it's only when organizations and leaders are prepared to truly challenge and change the way they think, act, and engage that lasting and meaningful transformation happens."

Jean-Philippe Courtois Executive Vice President and President, National Transformation Partnerships, Microsoft

"This book will move your thinking into the mid-twenty-first century ..."

Sally Blount CEO, Catholic Charities of Chicago; Michael L. Nemmers Professor of Strategy and former Dean, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

"Beyond Digital challenges leaders to get past the obsessively competitive race toward digitization ..."

Scott Watterson Chairman of the Board and CEO, iFIT Health & Fitness

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Contact us

Mahadeva Matt Mani

Partner, Strategy& Netherlands

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Paul Leinwand

Principal, Strategy& US

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