As we are moving into the metaverse world, the need for digital technology is immense as it has changed the landscape of customer experience and the effectiveness of operational activities to drive digital innovation and transformation across businesses.
In order to make progress at this speed and serve the customers’ demands, the role of Chief Digital Officer has been created to ensure that more digital concepts and systems are implemented to improve the customer experience, but more importantly, is the IT culture ready for the rapid change needed?
Clarissa Eva Leon, Chief Digital Officer at Dagrofa, talks to us about her approach to digital management, strategies, and challenges she faces in implementing digital transformation.
- Clarissa Eva Leon’s Career Journey
- About Dagrofa
- The Key to Becoming a Great Chief Digital Officer
- Formulate a Strategy for the Future
- Establish Trust Within the Business
- Lesson Learned
- Who is Clarissa Eva Leon?
Clarissa Eva Leon’s Career Journey
As an experienced leader with a go-do approach, I help companies reach their goals and transform. I get motivated by building trust-based relationships and my biggest priority is to ensure a high level of momentum and development.
Digital transformation requires seeing the classic way to run a company in a different way – it challenges the status quo in a unique fashion. It needs a holistic approach and nurturing spirit. For people it can be an unsafe place, therefore we need to focus on creating a psychological trust for people at the same time as delivering value sooner rather than later.
My initial ambition was to be a management consultant when I started my career over 10 years ago. I felt like there was a lot of prestige in that role. I learned immensely, but I came to my realisation that it is not my cup of tea. I needed to jump into companies and start giving recommendations even though I was very junior.
I was around 10 years in my last business with DSB, and had the privilege to change roles 3 times, which in turn I get to re-establish my value through a learning curve.
One of the changes proved to be a turning point in my career, where I learned about how to get a strategy envisioned and executed. This is also where I moved into leadership for the first time, when I had the opportunity to build the digital lab – a brand new area from scratch. It was like having my own start-up in a big corporation. It really propelled my learning and I was able to develop the culture both in the new unit as well as in the mother organisation.
Clarissa believes there is always a fine balance between using your past experience and knowledge and having to be open to the fact that what worked in one organisation doesn’t necessarily work in another.
Danish-based retail business, Dagrofa is a very huge business with so many possibilities. It’s around 14000 employees around the country.
Dagrofa operates in three business areas – retail, wholesale and business.
It’s an incredible, complex and diverse business to be part of. This is the future of food – a business that can impact people every single day. It’s a very vibrant industry to be a part of.
The Key to Becoming a Great Chief Digital Officer
There are various ways that one can be a CDO. As for Clarissa, her role is a new position in the business, taking charge of coordinating and possibly changing the supply chain by building out entirely new business.
I am responsible for formulating the digital strategy and executing it when it’s approved and ready to be communicated.
Today, all the digital profiles in the business have been gathered under our team: loyalty, eCommerce and digital marketing. This is the future of the food industry and I am very excited to be part of the industry.
The business areas I oversee covers a range of areas such as eCommerce, Experience design, Loyalty clubs, Scan & Go, Customer Insights & Analytics and Digital Marketing. All these have a customer facing touch point.
We explore the future of the food industry, how we can create customer experiences that make an impact, and I am very excited to be part of the journey .
I am still growing in my new role as a CDO and honestly, I don’t think this will ever change. Having a curious mind, humility, being able to learn and grow is a skill I believe defines a great CDO.
In addition, empathy, great listening, the ability to show vulnerability and frame a direction that allows people to take accountability and have autonomy are high on the list.
Maybe it’s not about being a great CDO after all – It’s about what great leadership means to me.
Formulate a Strategy for the Future
“I don’t believe in defining a digital strategy for the future that locks your company in a direction you can’t abstain from as you learn along the way.”
Designing a strategy for the future is about setting a direction that is concrete enough to create a path, but also abstract enough to iterate as you get insights. What I have learned is that you really want to experiment your way forward.
I use a framework called SCQA stands for Situation, Complication, Question, and Answer – it’s a strategic framework where you determine what is the situation, what complicates the picture, what are the key questions you need to ask to solve the complications and what you can apply to solve it. It’s pretty simple, but requires some reflections.
There Are Two Sides to Bringing Your Strategies to Life
You absolutely need to work on both of these elements at the same time. You also need to adapt your process to the business as all corporations are different.
Strategy One: You need a top-down approach – you need to give clear direction to your team so they are aligned and pulling in the same direction.
Traditional organisations are always more comfortable with the top-down approach as the management team sets the direction.
The key here is to set outcome metrics that the team can relate to, understand, influence and impact. Not making a milestone plan (all though this can come in handy at some activities) but set goals around what the outcome of that plan is. This allows your team flexibility around how to reach that goal.
You need to make sure that your internal reward system is also set up to reward outcomes, not just doing things. This forces teams to optimise for the right outcomes.
Strategy Two: You need a bottom-up approach – You need to build an experimentation muscle and create a bottom-up movement where people are motivated and understand “the why”. This is often easier in small businesses but it’s critical to the survival of larger organisations.
You need to look at developing the competencies of the existing team and in parallel you need to look at the structure and processes around the business. You won’t succeed if you only train capabilities.
Once you train the team, you need to enable them to apply their new skills. Focus on removing the barriers.
Establish Trust Within the Business
When you join a new business – you need to trust and prove yourself and your approach. It starts with change in the market, customer demands and having key sponsors in the leadership team.
In my experience, it’s about showing the first successes of the design thinking processes and agile delivery approach. Release something that solves a real problem – demonstrates the-end to-end process from problem to live solution while involving the end users.
Gaining trust is about showing that you can accelerate something. You need to listen, involve the team and be yourself.
- Gain trust from your team by showing that you can accelerate something or solve a user problem or need. You need to listen, work across silos and have a relentless focus on the user at all times.
- It’s about experimenting and allowing them to learn: There should be more experimentation and not just focus on the result. Failed experiments should not be considered as failures but learning pockets that guide your way to success.
- Trust the process of transformation and allow the process to work. We need to have a team who understands the process and navigates between the role of evangelist and pragmatic.
Who is Clarissa Eva Leon?
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