Friday, January 4, 2019

Three Differentiated Digital Competencies

The digital leaders with differentiated leadership competency can share a clear vision, harness communication, streamline information fluidity, improve brand reputation and enforce people-centricity.

The exponential growth of information and the increasing pace of changes create digital characteristics such as uncertainty, volatility, complexity, unpredictability, and ambiguity. The emerging digital organizations should leverage digital technologies and tools in enforcing holistic strategic planning, cross-functional collaboration, and dynamic processes management for improving organizational performance and maturity. To thrive in today’s digital new normal, digital leaders must see possibilities before others and develop their unique leadership competencies for driving the digital transformation effortlessly.

Navigation competency
: Fundamentally, leadership is about the future and direction - how to navigate their organization in the right direction. Navigation is actually the synthetic competency integrated by a couple of important professional capabilities such as metacognitive capability - the thinking about thinking, strategic reasoning, and adaptability, etc. 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 confidently. They can capture the big picture, connect unusual dots, understand patterns, discover the difference between seemly similar things, and navigate the business context smoothly. In fact, the digital leader’s navigation competency directly impacts how they lead and what they could bring to the table. Navigation competency requires the multidimensional understanding of both tangible and intangible business success factors, overcome silo or overly rigid polarity, strike the right balance to lead change steadfastly.

Problem-solving competency: Fundamentally, running a business is an iterative business problem-solving continuum. Problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually finding a solution to that problem, not just the band-aid approach to fixing the symptom. Framing the right problem, assessing the right people with the right mindset and capability, and solving the problem effectively are all critical steps for developing problem-solving competency. Keep in mind, the problem-solving thought processes and practices will not be simple for many of today’s complex issues or vexing problems. All stages must be handled with attention and proficiency to ensure long-term success. Breaking down the large problem into smaller pieces is only one part of the problem-solving mechanism. It’s even more critical to gain a contextual understanding, combine or integrate different pieces of answers to ensure a cohesive solution to larger problems with less side effect. Problem-solving today often has a very wide scope and takes the interdisciplinary approach. It is critical to apply System Thinking to gain an in-depth knowledge of the interdependence of the problems, and follow systems principles for solving them in a structural way. It is also important to focus on coordination and facilitation, to develop the solid problem-solving competency.

Creative competency: Creativity is the most needed skill in the digital era. Creative competency differentiates a transformative leader from a transactional manager. Creativity is a flow, an abstract, an imagination, and an association, or simply the connection of the unusual dots. It takes a long-term endeavor to develop creative competency. At the organizational scope, it’s important to build an inclusive working environment as a melting pot to inspire creativity and encourage freethinking and experimenting. Often those creative workplaces have the right dose of creative tension and healthy competition to spark innovation. It’s best to bring a group of people together with the cognitive difference such as different cognitive abilities, backgrounds, capabilities, and experience, etc, together in order to encourage divergent thinking, explore diverse ideas, and amplify collective creativity effect. If the team is creative, people challenge each other, provide constructive feedback, and then, not only is the combined creative output novel, but their individual inputs are also novel. The business harmony is achieved not based on the command-control type of compliance, but through free mind flow, idea sharing and creativity-stimulating.

The organizations of the future are increasingly exhibiting digital characteristics in various shades and intensity. The digital leaders with differentiated leadership competency can share a clear vision, harness communication and collaboration, streamline information and idea fluidity, improve brand reputation and enforce people-centricity.


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