Leadership Development Accelerates Digital Transformation

Telecommunications generic logo
CLIENT:A top-ranked ICT and Digital
Services provider
LOCATION:Focused primarily on its region, with growing international ambitions
SIZE:15,000+ employees

Client Profile & Challenge

Organizational change is tough enough under normal circumstances. The top performing information communications technology company in one of the world’s fastest-growing regions, however, faced a double challenge.

The country’s leaders had laid out an ambitious plan to modernize its economy and society. The national plan required the company to broaden its telecommunications offerings to IT, financial technologies, digital media, cybersecurity, and other advanced digital solutions needed to transform the economy and society.

The company’s dual challenges: Transform itself into an agile, digital organization while also leading efforts to digitally transform its nation.

The organization’s senior leaders had developed a new strategy to “digitize, accelerate, reinvent, and expand aggressively.” Executives and managers within the company needed to:

  • Understand the strategy and what it meant for them as leaders,
  • Shift the organization’s culture to empower the company to execute the strategy, and
  • Gain insights into what they, as leaders, needed to do to execute the strategy.

The responsibility for leadership development and culture change fell to an internal academy. This corporate academy needed to move fast and create momentum for change, but it had significant barriers to overcome.

The telecommunications company was heavily siloed, with little collaboration between business units. The organizational culture made risk and failure — necessary components of innovation — difficult. And even amongst the company’s senior executives, many viewed digital transformation as the responsibility of a digital transformation office, rather than everyone’s shared responsibility.

Leadership development accelerates digital transformation case study with the Center for Creative Leadership


CCL has combined its viewpoints on digital leadership with decades of experience and research in the challenges of leadership and organizational change. Our involvement with digital transformation recognizes that leadership development and culture change are key ingredients for any digital transformation effort.

The company’s corporate academy chose to partner with us to deliver 3 programs to ignite and sustain digital transformation.

An Annual Summit for Digital Leadership

This 2-day event brings together 120 top company executives to create awareness and momentum around digital transformation. The event is designed to boost awareness, spark innovation, and galvanize leadership energy in a common direction.

A Strategic Digital Leadership Program

This 2-part program is designed to give 120 top company executives new skills, relationships, and ideas. The first module is a 5-day program at the corporate training academy that includes leadership skill development and a digital strategy simulation. During the second module, participants travel to some of the world’s technology capitals — Silicon Valley, London, and Shanghai — and visit companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple. They also work together on a digital innovation project.

A Digital Leadership Program for Managers

Finally, about 1,000 top managers from across the company go through a 4-day digital leadership program. During this experience, they learn new leadership skills, what it means to be a digital leader, and how to apply what they’re learning to positively impact their organization. Alumni of this program return to their jobs and enact changes at the team or department level.

These programs drive digital transformation on 3 levels:

  • Providing fundamental leadership skills to enable managers and executives to improve personal and departmental level performance,
  • Helping participants define what digital leadership means, and
  • Sparking new ways of thinking and leading in a digital culture, including being innovative and agile, taking risks, and leading change.


The organizational transformation began even before all the participating managers and executives completed the development programs.

First, the company’s leadership culture has changed. Leaders across the company view digital transformation as their responsibility — something they play a key role in, no matter what their job title, functional area, or market sector. Leadership best practices and a new common leadership language have been widely adopted.

Second, the corporate academy is expanding. Since beginning this effort, it has more than quadrupled its staff, from 6 to 26. Even more impressive is its expanding scope and ambition. The academy increasingly sees its role as driving digital transformation throughout its region and, perhaps, globally.

Third, leaders who have participated in these programs have driven digitally-focused business growth and development. That includes 5 new business partnerships formed during the strategic leadership program’s global immersion and at least 4 digital innovation projects that have been launched or scaled since the training began.

Energized by the success of the initiative, the company is engaging in a new dialogue about its culture, gaps, and ways to bridge the digital leadership divide within the organization. A growing alumni group continues spanning boundaries within the company, and achieving the national imperative to digitize appears closer each day. The corporate academy credits its partnership with CCL for gaining and maintaining the momentum necessary to reinvent digital leadership and create excitement for customers about the change in the company’s focus. Dedication is necessary, so CCL continually refines the programs to keep pace with the evolving strategy and to help the company achieve its objectives.

Average participant Net Promotor Score (on a 10-point scale)
New business partnerships formed by participants in first 2 years
Digital innovation projects launched or scaled by participants in first 2 years

Partner With Us

We can partner with you to help accelerate your digital transformation and grow your organization into the future. By taking a balanced approach to business, technology, and people, we’ll design a roadmap to accelerate your digital strategy and successfully adopt technology in today’s rapidly-changing and disruptive marketplace. Learn more about our approach to leading digital transformation today.

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