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Five Rules for Leading in a Digital World

The speed of change

The amount of data generated doubles every two years, reflecting a 50-fold growth from 2010 to 2020.

To thrive in this rapidly changing environment, leaders must evolve quickly or risk extinction. Leaders need to possess the skills to read the ever-changing landscape, to create flexible teams and inspire their companies to solve big problems.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Five Rules for Leading in a Digital World

Five Rules for Leading in a Digital World

https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/five-rules-for-leading-in-a-digital-world/

sloanreview.mit.edu

6

Key Ideas

The speed of change

The amount of data generated doubles every two years, reflecting a 50-fold growth from 2010 to 2020.

To thrive in this rapidly changing environment, leaders must evolve quickly or risk extinction. Leaders need to possess the skills to read the ever-changing landscape, to create flexible teams and inspire their companies to solve big problems.

Communicate your leadership signature

A leadership signature: Who you are as a leader and how you view and approach the job. 

  • Discover your leadership signature by asking how you lead day by day. Are you task or people focussed? 
  • Ask people who work with you how they would describe your leadership.
  • Consider the impact you have. Are you changing the culture? Driving results?

Be a sense maker

Sensemaking refers to the process of creating meaning out of the chaotic world around us.

We need to make sense when something in our environment seems to have changed. We collect data, learn from others, look for patterns to create a new map of the landscape. Then we experiment with new solutions to see how it will respond to this new environment.

Build flexible teams

Setting clear goals, defining roles and improving relations is only part of the picture. Leaders should also be able to build a new and dynamic kind of team to encourage speed, innovation, and implementation.

The next time, gather a dynamic team that can scout for talent and resources, coordinate team activities with specific goals, and also coordinate their tasks.

Replace toxic leadership tendencies

Toxic leadership can achieve short term results, but over time performance will deteriorate.

When things get troublesome, even the best leaders can slide into a self-centered approach. However, with self-awareness and some feedback, leaders can learn to deal with these tendencies and move toward a leadership that challenges and inspires.

Build the systems

Successful leaders will need to create a framework in which a dynamic team can thrive. It will involve hiring and developing three types of leaders.

  1. Entrepreneurial leaders. They are the sense makers that discover new products and create flexible teams. 
  2. Enabling leaders. They have a broader perspective and can identify similar projects and opportunities for collaboration outside.
  3. Architecting leaders. They create systems, structures, and a culture that explore possibilities and make self-governing decisions.

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Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook
Skills Needed In Digital Leaders
  • Work together, complement each other, and function as a team.
  • Able to operate on and enable environments that are more dynamic, team-centric, and connected.
  • Lead and build teams and partner with the broader ecosystems, keep people connected and engaged, and drive a culture of innovation, learning, and continuous improvement.
  • Lead a workforce that includes contractors, the contingent workforce, and crowd talent.
  • Understand how different business functions, industries, and technologies come together to form solutions.
  • Comfortable and competent with risk-taking.
Demographics And Leadership Destiny

Millennials expect to be developed via opportunities, mentoring, and stretch assignments. However that is hard to come by in top-heavy companies. 

Most millennials think their roles provide little development while most companies report they have excellent or adequate programs for Millennials.

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Talent Spotting

Digital leaders don’t have to do everything themselves, but they must be able to spot the areas of their organization that need improving. Moreover, they need to be able to hire an...

Adaptability

Sudden changes in the industry can disrupt the status quo, potentially derailing the success of your organization. In these situations a leader must remain flexible and adaptable, ready to make the quick decisions that can keep the company on track with minimal negative impact.

Risk-Taking

Putting speed and innovation ahead of tried-and-tested business practices often makes leaders cautious. However, in a fast-changing world, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

For a start-up, the risks can be even greater but innovation is impossible without risk. And if you can’t take risks, you may not be cut out to be a digital leader.

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Digital Leaders
Digital Leaders

It is about understanding how specific technologies interact with people, and setting aspirations, creating culture and building capability.

Successful digital leaders challenge obs...

Digital Transformation

Digital technology needs to enhance your processes and activities, and also what you are able to offer to your clients.

Companies now need digital innovators to lead them or risk perishing under the growing wave of digital disruptions. They also need to communicate and share with customers and employees, to identify opportunities and individuals who will help promote change.  

Leo Tolstoy

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Leo Tolstoy
About change

Organizations don’t change. People change. Many companies move to change systems and structures and create new policies and processes but fail to address the underlying mind-sets and capabilities of the people who will execute it.

A new strategy will fall short of its potential if they fail to address the mental attitude because people on the ground tend to continue to behave as they did before.

Looking both ways

Companies that only look outward in the process of organizational change, and dismiss individual learning and adaptation make two common mistakes:

  • They focus solely on business outcomes and fail to appreciate that people will have to adapt to implement it.
  • They focus too much on developing skills. 

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Same fundamentals
Same fundamentals

The leadership development industry is thriving. There are many new and exciting ideas with hundreds of books written about leadership every year.

But even though organizations have become ...

Classic leadership practices

The best leaders with the most impact almost always use six classic fundamental practices:

  • Uniting people around an exciting, aspirational vision;
  • Building a strategy for achieving the vision by making choices about what to do and what not to do;
  • Drawing and developing the best possible talent to implement the strategy;
  • Relentlessly focusing on results in the context of the strategy;
  • Creating ongoing innovation that will help reinvent the vision and strategy;
  • Growing yourself so that you can most effectively lead others.
Organizational Health

According to a decade long research, the health of an organization is based on alignment with a robust strategy, deep-rooted culture, and a clarity of vision.

The health of an organization ca...

Better Health = Better Performance

Extensive Data studies have found a link between the health of an organization and its performance.

Robust health is crucial to an organization's long term success.

The Four Organizational Recipes

Companies aligned with one of these four organizational recipes are more likely to be healthy and to deliver strong, sustained performance than those following random management styles:

  • Leader Driven
  • Market Focused
  • Execution Expertise
  • Talent and Knowledge-based

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Characteristics Of Digital Leadership
Characteristics Of Digital Leadership
  • Recognising that digital is not always about scale of flashy projects, it’s about transforming people and ways of working
  • Developing digital skills across the organization, not just wi...
Digital Leadership & Transformation

Leaders nowadays need to understand technology as much as they understand money, HR, or the law, in order to make confident, informed and effective decisions for their organization and users.

Skills development is a continuous process for leaders as they need enough understanding to recognise their skill gaps and identify what can help their projects and organizations to thrive.

Leadership Development

Leadership development is viewed as a current and future priority. Despite efforts to produce and nurture new leaders, only 7 percent of senior managers think that their companies develop global le...

Overlooking context

Many training initiatives assume that the same group of skills or leadership styles are suitable without considering the strategy or organizational culture of a company.

An excellent leader in one situation does not necessarily perform well in another. Focusing on context means equipping leaders with two or three competencies that will make a distinction to performance, rather than a list of leadership standards that is of no specific benefit.

Separate reflection from real work

Companies face a challenge when it comes to planning the program's curriculum.  Adults typically retain only 10 percent of what they hear in classroom lectures, but nearly two-thirds when they learn by doing. 

The answer seems straightforward: tie leadership development to real on-the-job projects. While it is not easy to create opportunities that simultaneously address high-priority needs, companies should strive to make every major business project a leadership-development opportunity as well.

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Thin The Herd

It’s okay for a leader to be loyal to their employees as long as their first loyalty is to the health and success of the company. Exceptions aside, outsourcing in general costs less, allows for ...

Question The Foundation

Most businesses don’t need to own its IT infrastructure because the cost of access has plummeted to the point it is often economically irresponsible to do so. The new digital leader points to the higher level of service and lower costs achieved through external partnerships.

You should be embracing cloud infrastructure and getting out of facility management.

Feeling included in organizations
Feeling included in organizations

What leaders say and will contribute up to 70 % to whether an individual will feeling included. 

The more people feel included, the more they speak up, go the extra mile, and collabor...

Traits inclusive-leaders share
  • They articulate an authentic commitment to diversity, challenge the status quo, hold others accountable, and make diversity and inclusion a personal priority.
  • They are modest about capabilities, admit mistakes, and create the space for others to contribute.
  • They show awareness of personal blind spots, as well as flaws in the system.
  • They demonstrate an open mindset and deep curiosity about others.
  • They are attentive to others’ cultures and adapt as required.
  • They empower others and focus on team cohesion.
The most important trait

If a leader wants to know what is the most important trait, commitment is the most critical.
For those working around a leader, the single most important trait is a leader's visible awareness of bias - a leader that constantly challenges their own bias and encourage others to note their pre-conceived leanings. Raters also care about humility and empathy.

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