Thursday, May 1, 2014

Is Digital Leadership all about Vision?

Digital leaders need to have a clear vision to zoom into the future.

As businesses and the world move deeper and deeper into the digital world of "VUCA" -Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity, leaders of any organization, large or small, must capture the foresight of digitalization, gain the insight upon globalization, and become knowledgeable about the terrain of the hyperconnected land out there. More specifically, leaders need to have a clear vision to zoom into the future and broadened the knowledge to zoom out the reality, in order to guide the business through the digital transformation. However, is digital leadership all about vision?

Vision is indeed crucialThe leaders need to observe, perceive, and pay attention to the myriad of internal, external, national or global forces that define and influence the way we do business these days. These digital forces must be dealt with, but before they can be dealt with, they must appear on digital leaders' radar screens. It's true that leaders must have a clear vision-not vision clouded and distorted by rosy-colored glasses or narrow-minded perspectives. A clear vision is circular than tunnel; multi-dimensional than single lens; colorful than black and white; upward-driven, not backward-dragged; it should be vivid enough to tell the story and positive enough to overcome barriers; it touches the heart and mind to lead the team to the mountaintop or the ocean deep. The strategy should be driven by visionaries and being on the ground does not prevent a person from being a visionary; as being on top does not prevent a person from being short-sighted. And exceptional leadership will welcome additional perspectives on how to add a better definition to the organization's current vision.

AgilityVolatility, uncertainty, and ambiguity are all synonyms for uncertainty. And uncertainty is a major issue in the digital age to be tackled. The vision should be attainable; however, the vision shouldn't be a fixed target. It should be stable enough to make it worthwhile to make a concerted effort to attain it and dynamic enough to be able to react to any change in business direction or context. That is an effective digital leader will embrace agility, create certainty, calm volatility and cut through to the simple method, knowing when to "call the ball" and takes commitment.

System ThinkingComplexity is the very nature of the digital business and its ecosystem. Because a business is a system of interdependent resources or events, the fact is that the degree of freedom is very limited, more often than not, organizations are overcomplicated in order to validate what is being set out to do and got distracted from whilst working out all the possibilities. Complexity perhaps is neither a problem nor the enemy, there are both opportunities and risks in it. Complexity can be lessened as a problem or grasped as an opportunity with systems thinking. Therefore, a digital leader needs to master such system thinking in order to tame the complexity beast, by thinking and executing systematically, leaders can turn digital vision into reality step-by-step solidly.

Vision, Value, Creativity, Attitude, Altitude, Aptitude, Grit, and Determination are all digital leadership ingredients: Vision comes from values, successes come from both attitude and aptitude, and altitude comes with grit and determination. There are many ingredients in digital leadership. It matters very much what the vision is. In other words, it must be the "right" vision for the company and its people, in order to move the organization and society forward.

Vision is an optimal level of sight and comes through peace of mind. Agitations or anger short-circuit creativity and distort vision, we can nurture great creations and convey the vision if we are at peace; and if we are in peace with surroundings, we are more inspired with vision and creativity.


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