David Brudenell, Managing Director & Chief Digital Officer of Eclipx, speaks to us ahead of his session about Digital Transformation at The Executive Leadership Summit on November 26. In this interview with our founder, Dana Lightbody, he talks about his radical approach to creating breakthrough transformation.
When it comes to change, David doesn’t just focus on the digital components of the organization to tackle the work of business transformation.
“I look at the big levers in the organization that you want to move to have an outcome and drive the business forward.”
For example, when he first came into Eclipx, he was tasked to change the website to acquire more customers. David explains how he spent the time studying “the big levers” to begin the work of improving the sales process at Eclipx.
“Where are these customers coming from today? Where will they come from in the medium term and where would they potentially come from in the future? And when I looked at the data, 98% of all our client acquisition came from our sales team. And very few people came in through the website.”
“And so rather than spend all this money on digital transformation, what we did was we focused on the tools of our sales team to make their lives more digital, for example we created internal request forms which goes directly into the CRM. We made our sales team more productive and that had a meaningful impact on their performance.”
Team experience and customer delight
David views his leadership role in digital as someone who takes away the grind to bring in more delight for his team and, ultimately, the customer. He talks about being inherently lazy, adding “I want to be in my office watching Netflix. That’s my dream. And I said that to the staff, “that should be your dream too!” He is thinking about smart solutions so that they can all be “lazy”, meaning doing more of what they like to do for the business.
“When you eliminate that thing that you don’t like, you get to do more of what you do like, right? You spend less time searching for customers and more time talking to them before any issues arrive. When they’re super-duper happy, because they’ve just got the brand-new car. So they (the sales team) are elevating the value and the work. And that’s pretty cool.”
Leading with empathy to navigate change
Leadership hasn’t really changed much for David since the first day of his first job. Leading from the front, listening and being empathetic — all the qualities of good leadership, haven’t changed. They continue to be great tools for adapting to the ever-evolving demands of the business environment. David shares his thoughts on responding with empathy to the changing needs of the company.
“I find that with the younger cohorts, it’s very important to find meaning. I have one person start and then leave and they told me they’re leaving because they couldn’t ethically work for a company that sold cars which produced carbon emissions. I didn’t even know what to say to that, but it told me a lot about the things that younger cohort thinks to motivate them.”
“For the older cohorts, it’s a bit more tricky. I think it’s more about security and covering off all the edges. So that means appreciating that there are people at your organization who have children and they need to bring those children to work and sit at the meeting. And that’s perfectly okay.”
“Businesses need to invest in people to grow their capability or they need to import them because there’s not a lot of them. Especially in some of the new emerging technologies. The Australian talent pool is quite shallow for emerging technology and I think that’s the consequence of the curriculum being slow to change. And now you have to appease the appetite of shareholders on your team’s future capability. It’s tough, right?”