ABeam DX Insight No.6

DX Leadership
- Four Missions & Seven Skills -

September 8, 2021

Kazuki Sugata

Executive Officer, Principal
Strategy Business Unit


In order to realize business management model transformation by DX and dramatically improve the position and competitiveness of a company, leadership that is not only externally oriented but also capable of breaking through internal company walls is required.

For companies positioned as followers (successor companies) in the existing industry order, it should be possible to utilize the digital as a driver for transformation of the battlefield, but in reality such initiatives tend to be passive due to external pressure, causing DX initiatives to be one step behind.

Naturally, strong leadership is a prerequisite for overcoming such a situation and providing an opportunity for digitalization to strengthen competitiveness and dramatically improve the position of the company.

To realize the transformation of the battlefield by DX, ABeam Consulting defines that DX leaders are expected to have missions and skills such as the following. This will be explained specifically based on past case examples.

Missions of DX Leaders

The figure below categorizes the missions of DX leaders according to the direction in which leadership is exerted (internal/external) and the role played (driver/executor or catalyst/promoter), and classifies the missions into four categories.
In particular, dimensions in which a company can internally take the lead in DX will most likely become increasingly important. Executing reforms while dispelling resistance and anxiety about business model transformation and reforming employee awareness are extremely important missions.

Figure 1 Four Missions of DX Leaders

Figure 1 Four Missions of DX Leaders

Skills Required of DX Leaders

As skills required to realize the missions described above, the following are defined for each of three areas: conceptualization skills, human skills, and job skills.

In addition to job skills and human skills, conceptualization skills are becoming increasingly important. The ability to verbalize the essence of the digital is an indispensable skill not only in terms of technical aspects but also in explaining the significance and role of digitalization.

Figure 2 Seven Skills Required of DX Leaders

Figure 2 Seven Skills Required of DX Leaders

DX Leadership Development Approach

With the demand of missions and skills such as described above, ABeam Consulting believes that, in addition to basic approaches such as training, it is important to develop DX leadership from the three perspectives below.

Figure 3 DX Leadership Development Approach

Figure 3 DX Leadership Development Approach

1. Discover DX talent based on a new scale
 Discover DX human resource candidates having traits immeasurable by existing yardsticks from inside and outside the company.
Examples: Recruit talent by requesting reform proposals from the field and outside the company

2. Develop DX abilities and the mind
 Learn the essence of the digital and grow through the practice of reform.
Examples: Practical workshops, multifaceted feedback

3. Create an environment in which DX talent are reviewed in terms of performance and continue to play an active role
Build a personnel system and form a new culture that ignite both the design of jobs expected of DX talent and a transformational mindset.
Examples: Purpose-driven behavioral performance reviews and award system 

Leadership in DX is an ongoing challenge. It is important to define the leadership required for each company and to systematize and develop a platform for development.

ABeam DX Insight

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