How To Be A Digital Leader ?
Are YOU a DIGITAL LEADER ?
Unless you were born in the 1990s, you are most likely a digital immigrant - someone whose ability to use a smartphone, tablet and interact via social media networks does not come as naturally as it does for digital natives. But as with any immigrant in a foreign culture, there are new languages, attitudes and mind-sets that can be learned, helping ease your transition into this new environment.
Become digitally fluent
A willingness to undergo transformation is crucial to embracing the digital world. Executives firstly need to recognize they need to become digitally fluent and ensure they integrate digital thinking into their everyday management.
Develop new capabilities
Encourage all employees to develop digital competencies. The more digitally literate a workforce, the greater their potential to contribute to value creation.
Willingness to experiment
“Nowcasting” – using real-time social media tools like Twitter to read the public mood – is fast becoming a key way to gain immediate insights into rapidly evolving customer preferences. Harnessing the potential it offers requires streamlined, nimble processes and a willingness to experiment. As Prof. Káganer advises: “embrace the loss of control and start fostering new mutually beneficial relationships with the customers and employees that are empowered through digital today.”
Understand how technology is transforming society, and translate into business impact
According to Prof. Zamor “digital leaders need to understand the shifts (behavioral, economic, social) that new technology drivers are creating: like mobile, social networks, cloud, big data.” Leaders must then, adds Prof. Káganer “translate these key fundamental shifts into business impacts at the industry, organization and individual level.”
Promote collaborative environments
IT departments can no longer be treated in isolation, nor can technology be regarded as a discrete business area. Prof. Zamora: “Digital permeates the whole organization and impacts all phases in the value chain. In the same way that a manager is able to interpret a balance sheet, he should be able to know how technology is going to impact the business strategy of the company”.
In addition, information technologies are central to empowering employees and achieving strategic business goals. Examples include:
- The trend toward BYOD (“bring your own device”) whereby employees are encouraged to bring their own mobile devices to work and allowed to connect them to corporate networks, accessing workplace applications and privileged information.
- Widespread use of social media networks, which have created new types of customer engagement, obliging companies to become much more customer-centered.
These trends throw up a raft of new issues. As Prof. Sieber explains, “the challenge is not the technology per se, but rather how business leaders adjust organizational processes and cultures to take advantage of the benefits the technology offers. No doubt we will have to break down communication silos and migrate toward a more collaborative culture and environment, which facilitates teamwork”.
Use the information, not just the technology
Perhaps the biggest step to crossing the digital divide concerns the issue of big data. Understanding how to transform big data into decisions that improve business performance should be at the top of every executive agenda. But we should also consider how to use it to boost individual performance.
“Think about all the e-mails you send every day; all the calls you make; all the apps you use on your mobile devices: these reflect your work habits, your productivity patterns, your movements, your sleep patterns,” says Prof. Káganer. “What is the relationship between my work habits, productivity patterns and daily activities in terms of personal well-being? We, as individuals, can then start steering the conversation, telling businesses how we want products, services and business models to be, instead of the other way around.”
“ What we can do for another is the test of powers; what we can suffer for is the test of love. ”