Redefining the Right Stuff: Finding the Next Generation of Digital Leaders

Before we get started, though, let’s make this interesting. As it happens, we’re looking for a leader right now. Today we posted a description for the job, LinkedIn Practice Director. If you can figure out what we need and then recommend the perfect person for the job, we’ll give you a year-long TEDLive membership. It’s cool prize, so feel free to ask any questions you have about the job in the comments below.

Let’s start by talking a bit about how digital leadership has evolved. If we had a position like this open a few years ago, we could fill it pretty easily. We simply looked for that really smart, passionate person who always had a hand in the air and always knew the answer to every question. We knew that if someone cared so much, they had the right stuff to be a digital leader.

Over the last few years, however, digital job descriptions have gotten much longer and our needs more specific. Probably that’s a sign that as an industry, we’re growing up. In a way, it’s analogous to what happened with Yeager. When he flew as a fighter pilot in World War II, no one cared that he only went to high school. But when NASA came along, it needed good PR as much as good pilots. College degrees carried a lot of status and also indicated that a pilot would be a good spokesperson for the agency.

In a similar way, we now look for digital leaders who not only have the passion of a few years ago, but also specialized knowledge and experience. For example:

Digital leaders need experience in innovation. Most leadership positions are entrepreneurial. We look for people who know what it means to take risks and put in the hard work it takes to be innovative and make something new.

They have an agile mentality. They try lots of different things and know how to fail fast if they have to fail, and then iterate and move on to something else.

They are passionate. This hasn’t changed. Digital leaders care about marketing, social media, and, in our current case, LinkedIn as a social CRM platform.

They know marketing. Brands and products live in so many places these days. Digital leaders understand how all parts of digital marketing—measurement, content creation, media, technology, and UX—come together.

They get analytics. Businesses may like looking good, but they love ROI. Our Linkedin leader, for example, will need to develop metrics to help our clients understand what they’re getting out of the services we’ll offer.

They love CRM. Understanding the relationship between customers and digital platforms is critical, especially to our Linkedin initiative. Linkedin is about fostering relationships, and we’ll need someone who is passionate about CRM.

So as you sift through your friends and colleagues with your eyes on the TEDLive prize, think about whether or not they have this particular breed of right stuff. We’re not launching rockets or breaking sound barriers, but we are trying to push things forward in our own big way. So please nominate whomever you like, and if you have questions, be sure to post them in the comments.

See original article and more of Shane's Linkedin Influencer posts here.

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