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The digital transformation is taking place in times of great economic and social change. Most companies will not have the option to join the game or not. They and their employees are simply forced to play by the new rules of these digital times. But there is something these organizations can influence and this is crucial for mastering the transition: it is preparing their leadership team to navigate the entire organization through this disruptive sea of the Digital Era.

From a management perspective this means that it is still necessary, even in the digital industry, to take good care of the classical management tasks: define goals and strategies, organize, ensure communication, apply management tools and foster, and many more. But it is the order of the day to “pimp” these classical management tasks and tools with elements from the digital space. This will mean more dealing with dynamics and allowing change to happen. It will be like trying the “Columbus-spirit” when he started his voyage to discover India: Preparing an organization for the economic challenges of the 21st century is a bit like discovering virgin soil. It is less about control but more about unfolding, less about guidelines but more about serving leaders, less about patronizing but more about appreciating and less about planning everything but more about discovering step-by-step.

Above all, there is one key success factor that will tip the scales when it comes to managing a successful organization in the digital world: the human maturity at key positions in an organization! So what are the top digital leadership skills and tasks that one should prepare for in order to play a vital role in any future organization?

  • First of all, it is about understanding that decisions are no longer a privilege (or obligation?) of top management but will be decentralized in the future. It won’t be the head of global marketing that decides when and where to launch the new product but the marketing experts on the ground, closest to the market and the customer, those who know the best local weather to promote sunscreen.
  • Second, there is the aspect of real-time information that allows for but also requires fast decisions instead of lengthy information processing, business casing, and scenario analysis.
  • Third, prospective digital leaders will say it is their core task to inspire rather than to manage and they need to be prepared for and work with a new definition of diversity: teams consisting of people with multicultural backgrounds, collaborating in real life and virtually, paired with intelligent machines and robots – that’s the new team 2020!
  • Last but not least, management in the digital industry needs to understand the big importance of value creation over process control, and there must be less responding to market dynamics and more innovative initiatives for different markets.

All this requires new approaches to successfully train and develop ourselves, our team and our entire organization to be attractive for the next generation of urgently needed talents as well as for the significant demographic group of millennial customers.

Michaela Lindinger is CEO and founder of braininspa.com where she works with innovative organizations and millennial talents to increase performance and improve health in the digital industry. Find out more about her NOWING® Formula at www.braininspa.com/nowing.

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