Digital transformation requires new ways of working, not just new technology. CEOs must be able to learn from digital natives, improvise, be agile and enable autonomy, says a new article from Boston Consulting Group.

Learn from industry disrupters, but remember your core strengths and values.Digital natives have learned to meet customer needs in new ways and to take advantage of technological innovation while creating new operating models and cultures. CEOs should study how they can apply these new ways of working, new levels of customer service and new technology platforms to their own organization without abandoning their core strengths and culture.

Create a road map, but be ready to adapt. CEOs need to outline their strategy and the purpose and context for change, but digital transformations also require room for course corrections. Leaders need to be open to feedback from people within the organization as well as from customers. Hold frequent reviews so problems can be caught early and course corrections can happen weekly or even daily instead of monthly or quarterly.

Take more than one approach. It’s impossible for leaders to know precisely what will work and what technological and analytical capabilities they may need to acquire. Companies should evaluate dozens of different approaches, investments and partnerships; pilot or incubate a few; and then build and scale up only the most promising. These exercises need to occur in the context of the overall vision.

Digitize the organization. A digital strategy is only as good as the organization attempting to execute it. Among BCG’s tips for digitizing the organization:

  • Appoint a digital leader who temporarily drives and coordinates all digital activities.
  • Create an organizational structure for new business ideas that reports two levels above its natural home to ensure support and visibility.
  • Introduce the concept of agile teams—fast, cross-functional, experimental and self-directed. Leaders will need to set the context and purpose, ensure alignment, and enable autonomy.

See the full article: “A CEO’s Guide to Leading Digital Transformation.”