8 Ways to Become a 2014 CEO

By David Sauter, CEO

Published: January 3, 2014

Every year, millions of people around the world make New Year’s resolutions. According to usa.gov, top resolutions range anywhere from losing weight, to recycling more; but for business leaders, why not make a resolution to improve your business and your own personal professional development as well. The next year is sure to bring significant changes in the way we reach, engage and interact with clients and customers, but how will you make sure you’re on top of the game when it comes to innovation and interactive progress? Below are eight ideas to help you put your best foot forward in 2014 so you can stop making resolutions and start resolving.

Innovative CEOs

  1. Jump in and foster a unique approach. In order to lead others, you must first lead yourself. Don’t fear the unknown. Embrace the opportunity to jump in headfirst and try new things. Gain first hand experience using technology to manage business units or launch new products. Use interactive business and digital technology to drive new opportunities.  Given the importance of technology to digital ecosystems, it comes as no surprise that 74% of CEOs believe new technology-enabled offerings provide the greatest opportunities for  growth over the next three years
  2. Invite others to solve problems. Encourage employees and teams to take the same strategic risks when it comes to interactive development as exercised in #1. A team working in collaboration will produce higher quality and more creative solutions.
  3. Set reasonable objectives. In business, big goals start with small steps. Interactive efforts are no different. Many executives fall into the trap of “if we build it, they will come.” Simply having a website or a Facebook page isn’t enough. You need to attract, engage, and convert online in order to see sales-impacted results. This takes time.
  4. Make it personal. Connected technologies drive growth and create transformative digital ecosystems. Whether it’s internally, with partners, or with end customers, new digital tools allow for constant connectivity. Leverage that to build teams, foster collaboration, get feedback, and grow.
  5. Consider emerging markets as the engines for future digital growth. When asked about the three greatest opportunities CEOs see for the industry in the next three years, almost all cite mobile devices. The second largest opportunity identified is growth in emerging markets. CEOs see the significant addressable audiences and revenue opportunities that these markets can bring as income levels and digital consumption rise.
  6. Never forget how important your customers are. Connected customers create a foundation for confidence. Social media is another phenomenon CEOs see as key to building direct customer relationships. Five years ago, social media was only in its infancy. Today, 84% of CEOs use social media to connect with customers. They are also using social media to build audiences and brand. Social media gives media and entertainment companies the opportunity to tell stories. The key is to link those stories to the overarching story of the brand.
  7. Know you can get actionable data from interactive efforts. Despite common misconceptions, interactive efforts are measurable against new customers, sales and revenue – even the seemingly “fluffy” initiatives like social media can tie to tangible business growth.
  8. Stay optimistic about interactive business. Top CEOs are no longer tentative about digital. They see opportunities for growth in both revenues and margins. If you are unfamiliar or still uncomfortable with your company and brand living online, ease into things. You don’t need to become Steve Jobs overnight, but do know that people are talking about you online whether you like it or not. You can choose to help steer that conversation or sit on the sidelines and just see what happens.

As we enter the New Year, resolve to approach things differently, improve the creative impact in your company, and encourage positive disruption among your teams. How will you make sure you’re on top of the game when it comes to innovation and interactive progress?