Dealing with the senior management crisis

As web professionals we love to complain that senior management don’t ‘get’ the web, but complaining achieves nothing. What can we practically do to tackle the senior management crisis?

In 2012, Gerry McGovern surveyed over 1,000 web professionals and their number one challenge was not competitors, but their own senior management’s lack of engagement and understanding.

In other words as web professionals we seem to believe that senior management either don’t understand the web or just don’t care about it. But is that true? And if it is true what can we do about it?

These are the questions I address in my upcoming book ‘Digital Adaptation’ but they are also issues I would like to discuss on the podcast.

Questions we must answer

For example we say that senior management is unengaged but what exactly would we like them to be doing? We also claim they don’t understand the web, but how could this be solved? Is it a matter of sending them on a training course or is more radical action required?

What is our role as web professionals in all of this? Should we be doing something to help senior management ‘get it’? Should the digital lead in our company sit on the board or perhaps they should have an outside digital non-executive director?

In short I want us to use the comments to get to the heart of this issue. I want to hear about the challenges you face working with senior managers and any advice you have that might help others.

Let’s see if we can stop complaining about management and come up with an action plan for change.

“mature business man working with his laptop” image courtesy of

  • Greig

    What a load of rubbish, your clearly do not understand higher education. You sound very arrogant.

  • Lois

    Great food for thought. Thanks for this.

    BTW, looks like you have the “core digital team” slide twice. :-)

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  • Thomas Minnefor

    Great review of the digital organizational hurdles in higher-ed. As internal web teams become more conversant in analytics, the dialog with management should improve. Internal web teams would benefit by making design recommendations supported by analytics that reflect an understanding of the marketing context of a site. The vocabulary of analytics can also be a hurdle, but if management can be shown how simple, tangible, design changes can be measured, the use of analytics should gradually become part of management culture, which in turn will help drive organizational change.

  • TheTransformation

    Perhaps Digital is the wrong word?

    What would “Digital Transformation”‘ be called in the year 3017? I prefer the term “Consumer Transformation”.

    the humans, the people, have been transformed over centuries into vulgar consumers, addicted to our particular technological needs (from Ford to Facebook). Nothing new here, simply the “Consumer Transformation” is now accelerating exponentially.

    • You are almost certainly right BUT that is not how senior management think of it. They realise that digital has changed thing. They can wrap their head around that. Customer experience is just not a thing they care as much about. They are too inward looking for that. I find talking about digital transformation is a way of introducing the idea that customer expectations have changed.