Executive search and leadership advisory organisation, Adastrum has launched a report, which explores the leadership skills needed in an age of digital disruption. Entitled The DSuite: digital, data and disruption in the boardroom, the report has been created to act as a guide to leading in a world dominated by data, digital, and disruptive technology.
In this world of constant disruption, where speed, agility and innovation are key, the pressures on leadership teams from across industry are multi-faceted and growing. The report highlights how harnessing digital transformation to respond to disruption and – indeed – to be a disruptor, requires a fundamental shift in business model, impacting everything from customer experience and operations to marketing and culture.
The report explores how leaders in this age of digital, data and disruption need to be agile, nimble, adaptable and capable of driving a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. They need to understand how digital technology and data science can shape their organisations and those of their competitors, be vigilant to the ever increasing risk from cyber crime, while still retaining the foundations of traditional leadership in terms of displaying emotional intelligence, a sense of purpose and realising the art of the possible.
The report tracks how leadership roles have changed and developed in recent times to reflect the key role all things digital, data and cyber now play. Chief data scientist, chief digital officer, chief data officer, chief transformation officer and chief cyber security officer – these are not roles that existed until recently, but are now joining the C-Suite and are certainly influencing the executive.
Crucially, the report demonstrates how to identify and develop digital leaders, including key considerations such as:
· The importance of emotional intelligence
· Speaking the right language
· Building networks
· Prioritising succession planning
· Not hiring in your own image
· Thinking outside the box
· Appreciating the importance of purpose
“Rapidly evolving technology and disruptive business models call for a different approach to leadership,” said Chris Underwood, managing director of Adastrum Consulting. “As such, a new approach to how leaders are developed is also needed.
“A great digital leader is a hugely valuable and impactful resource, who can help transform a business, deliver effective growth strategies, build great teams and of course make the difference between success and failure for an organisation. With such high stakes at play, it should come as no surprise that identifying, developing and retaining quality leaders can be a challenge. This is why leadership development has such a vital role to play in both identifying successful leaders, and also pinpointing areas for growth and development.
“However,” adds Underwood, “traditional development tools tend to focus on standardised characteristics of leaders, (how they behave, think and feel) independently of the context of the environment that they will be applied in; leadership does not exist independently of its application.”