MIT Sloan Management Review Article on Why Digital Ability Trumps IQ

  • 5m
  • F.D. Wilder, Kimberly A. Whitler
  • MIT Sloan Management Review
  • 2023

In 2013, as fast-emerging digital technologies and channels were creating a sea change in consumer product marketing, A.G. Lafley, then CEO of Procter & Gamble, acted to ensure that the consumer packaged goods giant would not be left behind. He appointed F.D. Wilder, one of this article’s coauthors, as global head of e-business and tasked him with driving digital transformation across P&G’s many brands. The goal of this initiative was to develop and integrate P&G’s digital marketing abilities, e-commerce channels, and IT platforms — driving up sales, profit margins, and cash flow in the process.

As the e-business team considered this challenging mandate, it focused on the digital marketing ability of P&G’s brand and business managers as a key enabler of the transformation. Unfortunately, the team found that the literature regarding digital transformation tends to give short shrift to the capability of leaders: It focuses mainly on raising the “digital IQ” of the workforce — that is, the measurement of how much an organization can profit from digital and technological solutions.

About the Author

Kimberly A. Whitler (@kimwhitler) is the Frank M. Sands Sr. Associate Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, a former chief marketing officer, and the author of Positioning for Advantage (Columbia University Press, 2021). F.D. Wilder (@fdwilder) is a senior adviser at McKinsey & Co., the former chief digital officer at Procter & Gamble, and an adjunct professor at Harvard Business School.

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  • MIT Sloan Management Review Article on Why Digital Ability Trumps IQ