Companies that execute successful digital transformations often have the “Methodical Innovator” to thank. This term describes a unique leadership persona and was coined in the book, “Crossing the Digital Faultline” authored by Trianz CEO, Sri Manchala.

In the book, Manchala provides his insights on what makes a Methodical Innovator, why such a persona is so important in a leadership context, and how leaders can strive to become one.

Persona origins

Certainly, there are successful leaders in industry who exhibit a wide range of personality traits and personas. These leaders are successful in leveraging their own unique traits to build up a successful department or even a successful company. So, you might ask, why is the persona of a Methodical Innovator so essential for a successful digital transformation?

The idea for this persona – and the book itself – is based on a study that examined more than 5000 companies looking to complete a digital transformation initiative. The study found that only 7% of companies, regardless of industry, manage to successfully see their digital transformation project through.

What do these 7% digital champions have in common? They have a Methodical Innovator leading the effort.

Identifying a Methodical Innovator

A Methodical Innovator is an individual who possesses several key traits that don’t just make them successful, but also make them ideally suited to drive a digital transformation effort. Companies looking to become digital transformation champions will want to either hire someone who has proven themselves or invest in developing these traits in the leadership team.

The essential traits of the Methodical Innovator are:

  • Strategic Thinking

  • Prioritization and Planning

  • Organization and Execution

  • Character

In his book, Sri Manchala breaks down each of these traits to provide clarity on identifying and developing the driver of a successful digital transformation. You may already have someone from your team in mind: an individual who has demonstrated two or three of the above criteria and is motivated to master the rest.

Developed—not Born

With most personality traits, the person who exhibits them may find that they come naturally to him or her and are honed over time to become even more useful in service to their career. In virtually every instance of a leader who embodies the Methodical Innovator persona, however, this is not the case.

Instead, typically what we see is someone who makes a concerted effort to recognize the traits of a digital transformation champion, and then earnestly focuses on incorporating them into their own persona and leadership style. Of course, developing new habits takes work and time. Still, the data would lead us to believe it is worthy endeavor.

Transforming yourself for a successful digital transformation

When a company embarks on a digital transformation initiative, all stakeholders expect many significant changes across the organization - from tools and processes to roles and objectives. Certainly, the company culture will shift as well. This may leave employees struggling to adapt to these changes while still performing their day-to-day activities.

To be successful, leaders of such company-wide projects must work tirelessly to ensure that all key players are keeping up with the pace of change without suffering a loss of morale or vision. All this is summed up more eloquently in “Crossing the Digital Faultline” in which Sri Manchala writes, “Because a Methodical Innovator is constantly monitoring, measuring results, and refining their approach, they’re constantly transforming ahead of the business, not as a result of it.”

A great resource for leaders

If you are curious to learn more about the concept of the Methodical Innovator, and would like to ensure that your leadership style or team embodies the qualities to successfully execute your upcoming digital transformation project, Manchala’s book will be an invaluable resource for you.

Leaders in any industry will appreciate the ten key leadership rules to help you win in the age of digitalization and uncertainty, plus many more useful insights.

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