Digital Maturity: Why?

How mature is your digital work? While we all know maturity in personality and social skills, even in work management, we don’t think about maturity of our digital work (skills, tools, knowledge). Think about when you started blogging? (Google Webmaster Blog goes back to 2004). What will you do differently after ten years blogging? Think of how many blog post you have published (to veterans of many years it’s in the hundreds, see my old blogger blog). What kind of skills do you have, and to what extent are have you mastered them? (can you do an advertising campaign using your blog?) Can you adopt today’s social media platforms to your digital marketing work? How quickly? How will you repost your old blog posts on social media? (I use pictures from over ten years ago) These mature digital work questions are useful to ask at any time in your career. When you are starting ask yourself if you are maturing fast enough. Ask others the same questions when picking a mentor or even interviewing for a job (ask specifically of your next manager).

Why Mature as a Digital Worker?

In the last post I wrote about the benefits or starting a new company with a digital capability (this was targeted at startups). In my world I see so many startups who are not truly digital. Older managers bring their “analog” skills and habits. We don’t even have a good term to “pre-digital” or “not-digital”. Calling managers and workers “traditional” or as the dated term “old school” doesn’t even describe the situation. This situation is affecting companies and complete industries as older less experienced management is unable to lead their staff into the digital era. If you are able to gain digital skills and mature quickly as a manager you can lead an organization in today’s world. If you also have domain experience in your industry, you can benefit even more.

Why Mature as a Digital Manager?

Are you as active on today’s social media sites (apps) as your competitors? Have you dedicated resources to your site, social media and blog writing? Can you quickly analyze changes in your SEO strategy and shift to more effective one? (i.e. optimize efficiently) How confident is your business management with your digital marketing capability? Do you understand what your digital workers are doing? How can you lead in the digital age without maturing as a manager? These questions should guide you in how to think about managing digital workers. In the past it was enough to have PowerPoint presentation from middle management reporting status. Today with rapid progress and changes affecting everything in business, knowing digital well is critical. Having clear understanding of the full process in your organization is critical. This does not mean understanding all the work a specialist does. You don’t have to understand how SEO or PPC work, but you have to understand the interaction between each piece of the puzzle and how they interact. In today’s world if you are not involved in the digital operations you can’t take full advantage of the digital era.

Why Mature as a Digital Company?

One of the biggest factor in a company’s success is how people operate: how they work, the combination of tools and skills. The tools and processes either limit or boost how the work is done. This is true, especially in digital marketing. Actually since digital work is more effective than what came before, usually adoption is a bigger boost than anything else a company can do (i.e reduce cost, develop new products). But digital work is changing and morphing continuously, keeping up with these changes is a job by itself. Digital skills also affect a worker’s status and indirectly job satisfaction (happiness). I have see frustrated workers simply because their company was not giving them true digital capability. While they had basic tools, they were not using digital tools effectively. In today’s competitive job market, a digital skill set is one way for a marketer to feel accomplishment at work. The process of managing and leading digital work is not difficult, but it does require basic knowledge. It also requires management’s attention.  A key factor in “going digital” for top executives is trusting sometimes without strong knowledge. Essentially going into a new era of business practices without knowledge of how it will work. This hurdle is another discussion, yet in my view, one of the critical differentiators between companies leveraging digital life and the ones left behind is upper management focus. If it’s critical enough for upper management, it will be the middle management’s priority. This is a good approach to transform a company’s work environment.