Leadership in the Digital Age

Attempting to define leadership in the digital age is a challenge.  Books and courses abound teaching traditional methods on how to lead subordinates and to motivate diverse employees towards accomplishing a common goal.  Leadership in the digital age, however, must evolve beyond traditional leadership models.

One especially valuable management course is Disney Corporations’ Disney Leadership Institute.  There Disney emphasizes a primary goal for success is to take care of their customers.  Disney leadership strives to ensure that customers are creatively entertained and effectively served at each theme park.  Disney cast members go out of their way to keep parks clean, to be pleasant to customers, and to make customers feel that they are the center of the Disney experience.

Echoing the Disney approach, digital organizations with effective leadership strive to take care of their customers. That means more than entertaining and serving, however, in the digital age.  Most importantly it means protecting valuable customer data. Too often collected customer data is sold for profit, used to make political statements, or rented out to marketers.  Profiteering—not securing customer data—seems to be the primary goal of many digital companies.

Notable digital age success stories include Yahoo, Facebook, Google, Ebay, Uber, Equifax, and Under Armor.  Yet each of these companies has fallen victim to breaches and billions of lost or compromised customer data.  So how well did these companies take care of their customers?    Companies must protect prized customer data by creating counter insider threat programs, implementing cyber security processes and procedures, creating agile investigative policies, and creating an overarching process that includes input from all security departments.  These actions must be developed and put in place prior to implementing revenue schemes.

Leadership in the digital age requires more than following traditional management principals.   In the Disney tradition, successful digital companies must make taking care of customers—securing their digital data–a primary business goal.


AR&O assists companies in developing necessary policies, identifying critical value data, and assessing existing security measures.


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