Sunday, October 7, 2018

Three Perspectives of Digital Leaders’ Metacognitive Abilities

Leadership is the state of mind and a set of hard capabilities to make a continuous delivery and maintain a consistent reputation.

Generally speaking, cognition is the mental process of acquiring knowledge through thoughts, senses, and experience. Metacognition simply means thinking about thinking. Understanding metacognition of people, especially today’s business executives or professionals, is important because it provides the opportunity to be aware of and understand their thought processes on how they make judgments or decisions so that they can become more conscious about improving their skills to think, discern and lead. Here are three metacognitive abilities to improve digital leadership maturity.

Navigation capacities:
Digital businesses are fluid, and digital organizations are also complex. Digitalization is driving unpredictability, uncertainty, and unrepeatability, demanding a more rapid deployment that can quickly adapt to the changes and adjust to the new market conditions. It becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of "nonlinear" interactions, you can't separate things properly or you cannot predict the actual effect of interactions straightforwardly. Thus, digital leaders with strong metacognitive abilities seem to have the inner compass which enables them navigating and leading the organization in the uncharted water or blurred territories. Fundamentally, leadership is about the future and direction. Navigation capacity is actually one of the most important metacognitive abilities of the leader. Without foresightful leaders with navigation capacities, businesses would find themselves setting radically different trajectories, they are facing daunting tasks of navigating the business context with largely uncharted territories. Metaphorically, contextual navigation is just like to draw and paint a polygon, context is part of a polygon. Each vertex dynamically interacts with the other vertices. One vertex is cognitive perception. Another vertex is the expectation that there is more going on than just the image. Each vertex interacts with the other, change happens as it interacts. With strong metacognitive abilities, digital leaders and professionals can capture the big picture, connect the dots, or paint the picture with harmonized colors, understand the patterns, discover the difference between seemly similar things, or find common ground between seemly complete different things, and navigate the business context smoothly. Therefore, they are more comfortable with the dynamic digital new normal and lead changes confidently.

Learning effect (knowledge acquisition, skill building, behavior pattern, cognitive understanding): Cognition thinking, means people acquire knowledge through thinking and sensing. When people explore the mental process of acquiring new knowledge through thoughts, experiences, and senses, the cognition involves exploring varieties of meanings/thoughts and abandoning old and establishing new relations. From the metacognitive perspective, by asking questions and listening, we can understand how the individual is thinking or learning. By continually asking how a person arrived at a particular statement, concept or idea, we can deduce how a person is understanding the world. The metacognitive ability is about their thought processes of developing those learning abilities to acquire knowledge, improve cognitive understanding, build skills, and recognize behavior patterns, etc. Learning is a process and everyone has an enormous capacity to learn. Digital learning is multidimensional, dynamic, interactive, informal and integrated. In today’s “VUCA” new normal, organizations and human society will be confronting a number of high-complex problems in the hyper-connected world, Transdisciplinary knowledge, and in-depth understanding are critical to stimulating more innovation of the disruptive type. From leadership and people development perspective, dig into the metacognitive level and develop the prospects and practices to improve the collective learning capability in the organization to evolve working with knowledge, refine information, capture insight, win foresight, and gain perspectives, plus setting a new behavior expectation for active knowledge participants, with the goal to unlock the collective human potential.

The sophistication of multidimensional thinking: In today’s “VUCA” digital new normal, leadership and management practices are sophisticated. Sophistication implies intelligence, profundity, uniqueness, urban fit, and multidimensional understanding. Thus, the digital leaders’ metacognitive abilities directly impact how they lead and what they could bring to the table. Organizations not only need good managers to take care of today’s business but also have to grow the future leaders with sophistication to deal with the complex and volatile digital ecosystem. Digital Ecosystems generally do not ‘think’ in the way we understand thinking; ecosystems are complex systems, behaving by way of interactions among the various constituents. By exploring leadership sophistication through the metacognitive lens, business leaders are conscious of determining which competencies or capabilities should be used in which combination, and with what level of weight for each, for every different situation, in order to improve leadership maturity. From the digital management perspective, so many companies and "managers" focus on the tangibles, but they lack the in-depth understanding and leadership sophistication of understanding the intangible things. It’s critical to leverage their metacognitive ability - the thinking about thinking, to avoid unconscious bias, overcome silo or rigid polarity, practice the mindful and high-influential leadership cohesively.

Leadership is complex, and although it has many facets, the leader’s metacognitive abilities involving a host of factors including self-reflection and self-correction, multidimensional thinking ability, intrapersonal communication, transdisciplinary understanding and navigation, pattern recognition, and learning agility. Leadership is the state of mind and a set of hard capabilities to make a continuous delivery and maintain a consistent reputation.


Post a Comment