Leading in the era of Disruption


Leadership inspire and motivate people towards a shared purpose or vision. It requires a deeper understanding of culture and strategic context. The biggest challenge is leading through times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity where change is constant. The blog is primarily focused on digital leadership lens within the organization. How organizational leaders should lead in the era of disruption. Digital technology connects innovative ideas and people. This requires leaders to communicate a common goal (vision), a clear and coherent business strategy. Our four step strategy management process will help new businesses to imagine and invent their business ideas through strategy innovation. Existing organizations to re-imagine and re-invent their business models through digital technology. The diagram below indicates five leadership context.

Figure 1 Five leadership context

There is a leadership potential in every person. For example self-leadership entail discovering your voice, vision, sharing your inspiration guided by your principles, values and personal strategy and empowering others to find their voices. Leadership is crucial in all five areas. It provides direction, structure, sense of belonging, existence and hope for the future. In a country context, despite all the challenges or opportunities, the leader should ensure the economy is stable, growing and the country is competitive and contributing positively in the global economy.

Digital leadership

The Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen (1997) suggested that all new technology could be classified as either sustaining or disruptive. Sustaining technology makes incremental improvements to already established technology. Disruptive technology displaces established technology or delivers a groundbreaking product that can create a completely new industry. A good example is Fintech, blockchain technology and autonomous vehicles, to name a few. It has the potential to overturn the status quo, alter the way people live and work, and change accepted business models.

Digital leadership is the strategic use of organizations digital assets and resource capabilities to achieve a desired business goals or outcomes. We are living in the era of disruption where established organizations, conventional leadership, legacy skills, human resources (HR) and financial management principles are being challenged. As Peter Drucker puts it, "we live in the era of accelerated Change, overwhelming Complexity and tremendous Competition". Business leaders should inspire their teams by developing a shared vision, trust, good communication, commitment, collaboration and enjoyment (fun). In times of disruption, rapid change and economic uncertainty, business leaders need their teams to be at their best, most creative and innovative.

Digital business is concerned with driving technology transformation or change through people. People play a crucial role in executing the digital strategy. Technology must be viewed in terms of benefits rather than features. The aim is to leverage technology to address challenges rather than focusing technological advancement, to name a few challenges:

  • Economic challenges;

  • Socio-cultural issues;

  • Organization transformation;

  • Digital transformation;

  • Product or service improvement; and

  • Enhancing customer experience.

Leaders should review business strategy at least quarterly, use strategy to deliver incremental value to the customer and business. This requires continuous planning, collaboration, learning, integration, development and delivery. In fact the era of disruption require a new mindset and agility across the organization in how technology is used to deliver value. Leaders need to promote a culture of accountability, transparency, innovation, collaboration and adaptation. Digital business requires leaders to address digital skills gap and transformation challenges. Execute execute execute! The time to procrastinate and have great plans without proper implementation are over.

Are you a Market leader or follower? Exploring or reacting?

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." - Steve Jobs.

Leadership Bites: Leading in the era of Disruption

  • Listening to your team is key. This will foster innovative thinking and sharing of ideas. The reality is that you don't have all the answers. Find out if they do.

  • Digital agenda awareness across the organization is a must.

  • Breakdown communication barriers between IT and business.

  • Vigorously communicate the vision and strategy.

  • Business and Technology alignment is a must. New ways of working, for example Agile and DevOps can bridge the gap.

  • Invest in a digital culture that reaches everyone in the organization.

  • Investing in the right talent is critical.

  • Digital competence is a must at all levels.

  • Technology and people change is necessary to achieve sustainable transformation.

  • Avoid over-engineering.

  • Leverage data and business intelligence (BI) for knowledge sharing, tactical and strategic decision making.

  • Bimodal IT: Ensure there is a balance between mode 1 (stability and sustainability) and mode 2 (innovation and agile experimentation).

Leadership should cultivate adaptive and innovative culture to stay relevant in the era of Disruption.

#Digitalleadership #Leadershipbites

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