Chapters: How the Book is Organized

The first chapter, “Trust Is So Important,” sets the stage for the purpose of the book. For the past several years, we have followed the research done by North Carolina State University, Poole College of Management’s Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Initiative with Protiviti, a public consulting firm. (4) Their findings, based on hundreds of corporate board officers, show an ever-increasing fear that their organizations are not equipped for digital transformation. Most recently, the results show that many of these organizations not only lack the skills but also lack the will to undertake changes of this size and scale. We think this situation is directly linked to the abilities (or lack of) of these organizations’ digital leaders. In summary, this whole chapter builds the case that for organizations to have the will to transform themselves, they will need leaders who can rapidly build their trust.

Chapter 2, “Science of Trust,” covers over 60 years of study by a series of prominent researchers in the field of trust. We show the considerable contributions of people like Roger Mayer, himself a professor at the Poole College of Management at NC State University. These researchers are, you might say, the pioneers of managerial trust. They built the foundation that other researchers now stand on.  From these researchers, we see a definite pattern emerge. Trust is built on two foundations—character and competence. These two domains of trust work in tandem to produce the kind of digital leadership qualities we are seeking. We introduce readers to Stephen M.R. Covey’s powerful concept of the connections between trust and both the speed and cost of change: “When trust goes up, speed will increase, and costs will go down.” Could the lack of trust in digital leadership go so far as to impede digital transformation? We think it does. This is a powerful idea that we intend to explore through interviews with digital leaders.

Chapter 3, “Digital Maturity Demands Digital Leaders,” explains how we used the Carnegie Mellon Maturity Index (CMMI) to measure the actions and behaviors of “digitally developing” companies compared to those who believe they are “digitally mature.” In an extensive global survey, called Patterns of Digitization, we investigated companies of all sizes and industries. (2) Again, the differences in leadership are quite pronounced. Digital leaders definitely “walk the talk.” In our view, digitally mature leaders are more knowledgeable, exhibit entrepreneurial behaviors, foster timely and open dialogue, and through almost relentless communications promote digital transformation. We assert that the behaviors of these executives affect the implementation of digital transformation strategies as their actions directly impact employee performance. 

Chapter 4, “Listening to Successful Leaders,” sets up our interview process. In this chapter, we go into Covey’s model in more depth and explain the real meaning behind the core values and their sub-values, like openness and honesty. Most importantly, we share the 20-question interview guide we developed and explain the process we used for picking the leaders to be interviewed. Again, the interview is not a test; we know these people to be recognized digital leaders. We are trying to ascertain how they and their organizations have achieved their current position. Specifically, we want to know how their trust-inducing actions influenced the speed and cost of the organization’s transformation.

Chapter 5, “The Pulse of Digital Leaders,” captures the results of our interviews. We create a profile to introduce and position each interviewee, who was allowed to select the questions they are passionate about. A few questions are common to all interviewees, like “What is your digital strategy and vision?” Each of the interview chapters is headlined by a key theme—in other words, the story behind the digital transformation taking place at these companies. Importantly, through this process, we hope to gain the trust of the participants and emphasize the importance of speed for feeding this knowledge back to digital leaders. This is the reason for self-publishing this information and developing an e-book that readers can read on their mobile device!

Chapter 6, “The Winning Formula,” is where it all comes together. We will now take a hard look at what these digital leaders have told us. What are the considerable issues facing the field of digital leadership? Before going into the actions they are taking, we thought it important to describe the environment these leaders work in. (See Key Observations.). We then take a deep dive into the specific actions they are taking to set themselves and their organizations apart. We call this our “formula” for successful leaders to follow. Note the formula contains quite a list of actions. Note, we call these actions, rather than beliefs or traits. Given the amount of almost frantic competition in every industry to transform their organizations into digital businesses, there is simply no time to just “grow into them”. (See Winning Formula: 15 Key Actions.)

We end the book with an interesting challenge, we invite you to test your own actions against the Winning Formula. Or you can use the tool to have your own team test you! Sounds a bit risky doesn’t it? But that’s why we named the book Trust: The Winning Formula for Digital Leaders.