Being a CEO is harder than ever. The rapid pace of change in business and technology means that more and more companies will find themselves being disrupted. In fact, our latest research with MIT, in which we interviewed more than 1,000 CEOs (from 131 countries and 27 industries, in organizations of varying sizes), shows that 90% of executives believe their businesses are being disrupted or reinvented by digital business models, and 70% believe they do not have the right skills, leader, or operating structure to adapt. It’s not a good position to be in.

What’s a CEO to do? Should you hire a chief digital officer? Should you replace your executives with leaders from internet companies? Should you force everyone to learn about mobile computing and digital business models?

While these are all sound ideas, our research shows that something more fundamental is at play. Companies that rapidly adapt to digital business models don’t just “do digital”; they “act digital.” In other words, they practice an entirely new model of management. And their CEOs are leading the charge.

What does digital leadership look like in this sense? Our research, which we call the “digital DNA,” identified 23 new management practices CEOs should consider, focusing on empowerment,…

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