Wednesday, July 4, 2018

How can Digital Leaders Thrive in the Exponential Digital Era?

Leadership is about setting directions, making positive influences and inspiring progression. 

The business world today is dynamic, complex, volatile, always on, and interdependent, with the high degree of unpredictability and unrepeatability. Looking forward is not always so easy, often it’s cloudy. The forward-looking view of the organization is to determine what the future needs to look like, what the digitalization must look like, and how digital leaders can navigate digital new normal and thrive in the exponential digital era with focus, determination, and competency?



Be skillful to swim in the rough sea of information: With the exponential growth of information and abundance of knowledge, you have to learn how to swim in the rough sea of information in which we live. It is a basic way humans cope with the thousands of bits of stimuli that we encounter. There is no way and not necessary to absorb every bit & byte of information flowing to you, you need to be informative, but selective. Otherwise, it will drown you, you will lose your identity, and even be swallowed by the whirl of information. How skillfully digital leaders swim in the rough sea of information will decide their leadership effectiveness and maturity. Because the information you absorb and knowledge you select becomes "part" of you, and directly impact on how you make judgment or decisions. Learn to avoid pitfalls on the way, discover how and where to find valuable information, not just the information itself. The point of learning is to gather the details around the subject under scrutiny and then and only then can you be selective. It is important to be open-minded and resourceful, with shortened knowledge lifecycle, being resourceful provides one angle to show that you have the ability to learn, know how to learn and become learning agile. One day you will have new answers or complete answers to the questions that interest you, and you will have to keep updating your information and knowledge. How fast you can swim in the information sea depends on how fast and deep you can learn, as digital learning is multidimensional, dynamic, interactive, and integrated.

Be addict to creativity and obsessed with innovation:
Digital is the era of innovation. If you have to addict to something, addict to creativity, and obsessed with innovation. Digital leaders today need to be inquisitive and creative. Creativity is everything that one has seen, felt, touched, dreamed. All our experiences are completely reconfigured in a way that mixes up all of those senses and sensitivity. Creativity is addictive because it's a kind of a flow, not the repetitive patterns to do the same old things. Blending some new ingredients or giving some new twists, to create some new from old, is creativity. So, what you're creating is a new piece of thought that feels familiar but comes at us in a different unusual way. Creative leaders are in demand. Creativity clearly comes from "opening" of the mind and focus of one's conscious. Creative people always look for new challenges. They don’t create out of boredom. Creativity demands the possibility of the wrong in order to be exploring in a free way. It’s all in the attitude and mind, and it just needs to be nurtured properly. Digital leaders need to be obsessed with innovation. It involves allowing to be part of a process of trial and error. it is important to look at innovation from the perspective of developing business-wide innovation capabilities. Because the good or bad innovation would depend on the business’s aptitude to manage innovation. The ideal innovation management system is to tap into everyone's skills and talents, without the typical impediments to cooperation, in order to keep creativity flow smoothly.


Be comfortable with “VUCA” digital new normal: “VUCA” is an acronym used to describe or reflect on volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity of general conditions and situation. In the age of digitalization, any business can be at risk for survival at any minute due to continuous digital disruptions and “VUCA” digital new normal. The classic linear management practices based on reductionistic logic are simply not sufficient to manage the nonlinear digital businesses. With high volatility which means change with increasing speed technologically, economically, politically, environmentally, it usually takes years or even decades for disruptive innovations to displace dominant products/services and destabilize incumbent industries. Now, businesses could get disrupted even overnight by the emerging digital technologies, business model or ambitious startups. With unprecedented complexity which is diverse, ambiguous, and dynamic with an unpredictable outcome, business management needs to minimize value-destroying complexity and efficiently control value-adding complexity in a cross-functional approach. Digital leaders must be comfortable with “VUCA” digital new normal, think out-of-the-box, both work in the business and on the business by taking interdisciplinary management disciplines which involves engineering, design, psychology, philosophy, biology, economy, and sociology, etc.

Leadership is about setting directions, making positive influences and inspiring progression. To thrive in the exponential digital era, they can see possibilities before others, and they can also tackle great challenges with grand consequences over long time spans. Digital leaders are visible, proactive, and innovative; they continually practice, experience, learn, grow, to spread leadership influence and build leadership competency.

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