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Read or listen to articles published in this section and via BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast series – also featuring interviews with high profile business leaders internationally.

8 Questions To Shape Your 2022 Digital Agenda

Working within the digital executive search field offers valuable insights into the thinking of business leaders especially when it comes to digital transformation.

Many of my clients are grappling with the challenges accelerated by the last two years.

My conversations about leading within a digitally transforming world have created several leadership themes, many of which also extend well beyond the world of digital.

Here’s a checklist to help you navigate digital change from a people perspective.


Q1, Where does your top digital talent come from to fuel progression for tomorrow?

As companies embrace longer-term digital strategies, the C-suite has focused on nurturing an organic pipeline of digital talent. This is a sensible plan, but this is most relevant to digitally native companies. If you’re behind the curve on digital evolution, it’s imperative to look for talent in more digitally sophisticated companies to fast-track progress.

Q2.  How does your talent acquisition support out of the box thinking?

Where do you fish? Does relevant sector experience count in digital executive hiring? The reality of more senior digital hiring is that coming from either the same or a very similar industry provides a greater sense of risk mitigation to employers. But it’s digital change over the medium to long-term and not comfort with your industry on day 1 that matters. New perspectives count. Pulling people from the cutting edge of digital technology can seem logical but your organisation’s stage of digital evolution has got to complement the expectations and aspirations of the individual.

Chief Data Officer

Q3. What’s your tolerance for some degree of failure within digital?

As an executive search practitioner, you inevitably hear themes or common threads of leadership that companies are looking for. The pool of talent isn’t always huge, and some areas are still fast developing, so the track-record might not be there on paper. There often isn’t a blueprint, so it is about pushing boundaries, being able to fail fast and you look for ways to course correct and move forward. Not all companies or individuals are comfortable doing that, especially digitally transforming businesses where upfront investments are necessary without the swift return

Q4. How do you create the space for your leaders to learn to unlearn?

We all need an external perspective because quite often when somebody has been in an organisation for a few years there’s a particular tone around them. And are biases created, even resistance to change. Succession planning becomes critical within digital to make sure that you’ve got the right leadership talent aligned and ready for the next role, or for when you need to replace someone. It’s about future proofing your digital talent strategy.

Q5. How will hybrid working impact creativity in your digital strategy?

Has online working impacted digital sector creativity? There’s no doubt it’s easier to be creative as a team if you are in the same place. Collaboration improves, and you can read body language more effectively. Over the last 2 years, we have become somewhat ‘hard-wired’ to greater flexibility, and it seems that the equilibrium is naturally going to land at a 50-50 split between office and remote working. How comfortable are you with that and how will more (or less) office-based working hinder your ability to attract the best people?

Online Meetings

Q6. How is your executive hiring shaping your post-pandemic culture strategy?

Much of the culture discussion I’ve had this year has been linked to working practices. Building a culture is unquestionably easier when you’re spending time together physically. If you’re in a job that draws on highly technical skills and you are an individual contributor, then you might not think culture matters that much. In this sense it can come down to personal preference but when you’re talking about scaling an organisation which relies on collaboration then culture is critical in my view and it’s where CEOs will continue to channel a considerable part of their energy to ensure in the skills-short market, they hold onto key staff.

Team Collaboration

Q7. How are you leading to complement the adjustments to your culture and expectations of your people?

The pandemic has brought such heartache and anxiety that its unquestionably led to senior executives questioning what’s important. With business travel and commuting down drastically (although this is picking up again in many markets), more time has been spent with family leading many to reflect on prioritisation. Paradoxically, with less travel and more access to family, it hasn’t necessarily translated to reduced stress. Indeed, burnout is probably at its highest for years as people struggle with the volatile external environment and pressures that transforming organisations bring in terms of workloads and meeting deadlines.


Q8. One size doesn’t fit all – what wellbeing programmes are in place for your C-Suite?

As we move through 2022 and the challenges and uncertainties that it may bring, there’s never been a more important time to look at what provision organisations are putting in place to support their senior leaders’ wellbeing, both mentally and physically. One trend that is sure to be moving up the C-suite agenda is how can we put practices and support packages in place that will underpin the mental agility of our leadership teams as they navigate an ever-changing environment. For more support and information on this speak toKate Thomas at sister company NewlandRock about her 3 step reset programme.

There’s a huge wealth of knowledge and experience shared within my Digital Careers Podcast from all of my guests to help you with hiring the right people for all stages of your digital growth. For more help and advice contact me directly

About BartonRock: We are the executive search partner for companies where data-driven digital leadership is intrinsic to growth.

We manage the careers of leaders whose know-how and commercial acumen within digital steers the strategic direction and future survival of companies.

Our assignments search for executives who understand how to implement and lead data-centric digital agendas.

For more information visit: or contact or call +44 (0) 20 8092 6048.

You can also subscribe to BartonRock’s Digital Careers podcast by visiting Apple Podcasts

Looking for support in Leadership Effectiveness? Speak to our sister company led by Kate Thomas

Focused on Assessment | Executive Coaching | Wellbeing Solutions – Internationally