DECember 2016 - Issue 9

Importance of the Hero’s Journey for Today’s Business Leaders

A millennia-old storytelling pattern inspires leaders to set out on their greatest adventures.

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Value of a Shared Perspective for Today’s Businesses

How two French brothers knocked Thomas Edison out of the film business and demonstrated the importance of a shared perspective.

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Consistency Matters in Business and Tech Communications

From the Rigveda to the Norse sagas to The Canterbury Tales, discover why a classic storytelling approach should be applied to today's businesses.

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Promoting a Culture of Freedom is Good for Business

Discover the amazing story of an obscure artist and World War I veteran who used his talents to heal others, and his revolutionary workplace approach.

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Creative and Technical Harmony Transforms Modern Business

The unlikely architect who founded the Bauhaus—an art school that would go on to change the world—and how his multidisciplinary approach can transform business.

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November 2016 - Issue 8


Lead Significant Change with this CEO's Approach to the Future

The changing enterprise

Tear Yourself Away from the Status Quo to Deliver Results

The Hot blog

Get People on the Same Page in an Age of Digital Distractions

Great AdvicE

The Real Truth about Growth Mindset in Big Companies 

Join Executive Peers 

The Digital Business Hub's Next Event is in January, 2017


OCTOber 2016 - Issue 7


Established Companies and the Digital Revolution


Sappington's Portal for Change Agents


The Power Of Empathy in the Enterprise


Do You See What I See?


At Your Service


September 2016 - Issue 6


The Future of Work - Adapting to Change


Advancing Tech in the Age of Business


McKinsey's "An Incumbent's Guide to Digital Disruption"


What the Western Enterprise Can Learn From Eastern Thinking


"Paving the Way to Digital" in Seattle Business


Get Engaged in the Peer to Peer Forum on Digital Business

May 2016

May 2016

Asking Great Questions Can Help You Lead Digital Change

The pace of technological adoption and innovation is forcing leaders, like you, to make decisions and commit resources much more quickly, according to a McKinsey report. It would be easy for commentary like this to exacerbate the already frantic nature of business decision making that involves digital or technology. You can calm the madness by asking thought-provoking questions during discussions. Simple questions such as, “why are we doing this?”, or “how does this initiative align to our vision and mission?” can help people focus on what’s most important. Be courageous. Give it a try.

“It’s not that I’m smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

– Albert Einstein


Q & A with George Westerman, Author of “Leading Digital”

We recently sat down with George Westerman, Principal Research Scientist at MIT and author of Leading Digital, and asked him questions about his career journey, the work of leading digital, and his perspective on what it takes to successfully lead change in big companies. We think his answers were inspiring and compelling for both tech and business leaders.

Book We're Reading

In A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas, author Warren Berger presents the art and science of questioning that enables people to innovate and solve problems. Check out the Index of Questions at the back of the book to uncover a long list of questions you can put into play right away.

April 2016

April 2016

Accelerate Digital: Adjust the Way You Communicate

Adopting an authentic communication style and prioritizing effective strategies can help you move beyond the communication problem that can often slow down digital change in your organization. This issue of the Sappington Bulletin is filled with resources to inspire a new way of communicating that motivates people to help bring your digital vision to life.


What is Authentic Communication?

Sappington’s Chief Content Officer, Erik Wirsing, believes that authentic communication is even more powerful than just trying to communicate effectively. In his new blog post, he states “for organizations to thrive, communication has to go beyond this. It has to be more than canned email messages littered with acronyms, more than standard presentations at an internal meeting...”

“In many situations a lot of the true message is lost and the message that is heard is often far different than the one intended.”

– Edward G. Wertheim, PhD, The Importance of Effective Communication


6 Ways Technology Leaders Can Communicate Effectively

Technology leaders who prioritize a new way of communicating—whether CIOs, VPs, or directors of Enterprise Architecture—can become strategic drivers of the successful digital transformation of a company. To assume this role, it is critical that technology leaders organize, guide, and advise people at all levels of the company—from the Board of Directors to technology teams—according to Sappington CEO, Tim Goggin.


The Pacific Northwest Digital Business Hub

Sappington is bringing together the region’s brightest minds in business and technology to better understand the opportunities and challenges of digital business transformation, and to help leaders envision breakthrough customer experiences for the future. Leaders from any industry can join and are invited to attend the first event in May.



The Elephant in the Boardroom

In a survey of over 4,000 CEOs, executives, and managers, more than 90 percent admitted they were uncomfortable confronting or engaging in conflict, according to Edgar Papke, the award-winning psychologist and author. Papke presents this topic and offers a proven seven-step model to address the issue in his new book, The Elephant in the Boardroom. It’s a must read for digital change agents!


Positive Body Language

Use positive body language to change the conversation with your peers and employees. Start by checking yourself to see if you are crossing your arms during conversations. If the answer is yes, then uncross them and see if the tone of the discussion changes.

March 2016

March 2016

Are you a change agent? Take control and speed up the pace of digital change

Are you a change agent? Are you responsible for business transformation or introducing innovative technologies to market? Are you under pressure from leadership or the board to move faster? Is it your job to create a digital vision for the future of your company? 

No matter your role, we understand your situation and believe you can accellerate the pace of digital change in your organization. You have a tremendous opportunity to achieve big outcomes for yourself and your company by guiding people to think, perform, and communicate differently.

Blog - What is a digital business?

“Psst… what’s a digital business, anyway?” I hear business executives ask this question a lot. I think they whisper it because they don’t want people to know that they might not know the answer. I appreciate the leaders who are asking the question because, well, they’re asking the question—it’s confusing out there.

Tips - Follow 5 principles to speed up digital change

Leading digital success in a company doesn’t require a technology title. It does, however, require the right mindset. Just ask Dax Woolston, CFO at Lakeside Industries in Issaquah, Wash., a leading Northwest asphalt manufacturer. While Woolston’s title doesn’t say technology leader, he’s proactively leading digital change with President Mike Lee to transform the 63-year-old company.

"Vision is the art of seeing what isn't visible to others." Jonathan Swift

Idea - You make it human

Change is hard. People are often resistant to change. Change requires helping people understand what’s in it for them—how they benefit—and how the organization benefits. You can expedite the pace of change by making it human. Enhance strategy and logic with an empathetic view of digital changes. Take time to listen and absorb what people have to say and then share your why.

Read - Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Every month, our team researches and recommends books, articles, and videos to support your leadership in this new digital world.This month we recommend that you read Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of The Black Swan. Taleb proposes the word antifragile to serve as the concept of being beyond resilience or robustness and in opposition to fragility. He argues that antifragile is very much required in organizations today. The book provides great historical and scientific perspectives on why antifragile is a better response when it comes to transforming business.


November 2015

The New Vision Quest for Tech Leaders

Are you leading or supporting technological change in your company? If so, then you know that your success is directly tied to transformational outcomes. In this month's Bulletin our team shares information central to learning about leadership characteristics, behaviors, and skills that can help you guide people along the journey to becoming a digital business.

Vision Starts with Doing the Right Thing

It is essential for leaders to set an aspirational vision for the company and a clear digital vision for how technology should strategically usher it in. This responsibility can be made easier by first asking the question, "What is the right thing to do?" Not the most profitable thing. Not the least complicated thing. The right thing. The answer to that question is the beginning of a great vision

Tips: The 6 Characteristics and Behaviors of Successful Digital Leaders

Setting an inspiring but tenable vision and a creative digital strategy that employees wholeheartedly support--these things don't happen on their own or in a vacuum. They come about as a result of great leadership.

Whether you see yourself as tech-savvy and business-minded , or business-savvy and tech-minded, there are some shared characteristics and behaviors that we at Sappington see among respected leaders accountable for setting a company's vision.

  • Curiosity
  • Empathy
  • Customer-centricity
  • Authenticity
  • End-to-end connectivity
  • Balance

Must Read Book: Return on Character

After seven years of rigorous research based on a landmark study of observations from more than 100 CEOs and over 8,000 of their employees, Fred Kiel's findings presented in Return on Character show that leaders of strong character achieved up to five times the return for their organizations as did leaders of weak character.

"Great leaders state out loud what they intend to do and in doing so, they get things done."

- Simon Sinek

Thought Leadership: Expert Points of View

Last month in the Bulletin we profiled resources about digital business. This month our expert links add to the discussion about leadership actions and thought processes.

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October 2015

Clearing Your Way for Digital Business Success

Now that every company is a technology company, leading technological change is central to the success of the business. That's why we've created the Sappington Bulletin. We want to make you the hero and help you grow as a digital leader. Each issue of the monthly bulletin contains practical ideas, tips, and tricks you can apply to your journey in this new digital business world.

Tip: Define Digital Business for Your Company

What does the term digital business actually mean? There are a lot of definitions available, whether from Forrester, Gartner, McKinsey, or the MIT Center for Digital Business.

  If you are working with a clear definition, that's great. If not, it's time to get crystal clear on what this phrase means to your company. The first step toward becoming a digital business is a meaningful definition. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Customer-centricity is #1:
what will it take to make your customer central to everything you do? 

Blur the lines between physical and digital worlds:
real competitive advantage happens when you can provide a seamless customer experience with both tactile and digital products. 

It's about empowering people:
technology exists to enable or empower people to do great things in support of customer-centricity.

What to Read: Leading Digital

George Westerman from MIT is a co-author of an important book on digital business transformation, Leading Digital : Turning Technology Into Business Transformation.   This accessible and informative business book, published by Harvard Business Review Press, is based on research of hundreds of companies and their perspectives on becoming a digital business. The book offers a road map for the pursuit of digital business and what it takes to become a Digital Master. A few key takeaways are that technology and business have to come together around a shared digital vision, and they have to work in concert for technology to become strategic to business.

Thought Leadership: Expert Points of View

There are a number of great media sources and organizations that write articles and blogs on technology transformation and the future of digital business. One is the Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal and another is Here are a few articles curated from a variety of these sources:

"Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision."

- Peter F. Drucker

Opinion: Digital Business Stars of the PNW

The Pacific Northwest is already building a strong reputation for digital business transformation among traditional enterprises. Starbucks has fully embraced the blurring of physical and digital worlds. Every day the smart people at Amazon are getting more creative about how to please the customer. Nike is considered a digital master by MIT. And, Nordstrom is working on creating a great end-to-end digital and physical experience for their customers. Read more in our blog post, "The Pacific Northwest as the Global Hub for Digital Business (And Why It's Not the Next Silicon Valley)."

Want More Information?

Request a complimentary Executive Briefing. Our experts at Sappington will share their insights on digital business during a 30-minute session at your location.

Read LORE.  There's a lot you can learn about business and technology without having to digest the latest whitepaper.  LORE is Sappington's interactive storytelling experience (using SWAY) where historical anecdotes teach lessons that you can apply to your company today.  Learn more.

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