Leading Into the Future

As our world and the nature of work fundamentally changes, leaders must consider necessary new skills and accompanying mindset shifts.

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Future of Leadership in the Digital Economy

Digitalization and other critical factors are transforming what it means to be a great leader in a new environment. Discover the cultural and strategic shifts organizations must embrace to prepare their leaders to succeed.

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Changes in the world and workplace mean a shift from traditional leadership to one led by digital transformations. In order to execute effective leadership in a digital world, leaders must embrace key changes rooted in factors like technology, demographics, and cultural norms while retaining the enduring and contextual characteristics of leadership. This may necessitate a mindset shift moving forward.

Will I be ready to lead in 2025?

I’m wondering how many of us are asking this question of ourselves. After all, 2025 is less than a decade from now, and if you are like me, you have probably invested a good deal of time reflecting on your own experiences and what others have taught you about the art and craft of leadership and what it means to be an effective leader. Those reflections, experiences, and observations have served us reasonably well as we’ve learned how to lead in today’s world. But what about leading in tomorrow’s world? What will it take to be a great leader five years from now, let alone 10? As I’ve pondered this question, I think, surely, things won’t change so dramatically that I won’t be able to keep up. Fundamentally, leadership is leadership, right? In the end, it’s all about crafting a vision and strategy, motivating people to execute that strategy for customers, and delivering superior value for investors. End of story.

But is it? Consider the case of RBC, the Canadian financial services giant. Over the past few years, it has been engaged in a comprehensive digital transformation of how it provides services to its clients and customers. Only recently, however, did RBC’s leadership come to terms with the notion that to fully execute its digital transformation, it needed leaders who fully embrace and understand how to compete and lead in the new economy. As such, the company has completely transformed its leadership model and its talent strategy. Those who are excited about and capable of embracing the future will comprise RBC’s future leadership ranks.

Or, consider the observations Alan Mulally, legendary CEO of Ford and Boeing Commercial Airplanes, shared with me about his own leadership style. Earlier in his career, Mulally’s view of an effective leader was someone who was in charge, who fully grasped the challenges facing the organization, and who was clear in providing direction and guidance when needed.

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Topics

Future of Leadership in the Digital Economy

Digitalization and other critical factors are transforming what it means to be a great leader in a new environment. Discover the cultural and strategic shifts organizations must embrace to prepare their leaders to succeed.

IN COLLABORATION WITH

Cognizant
See All Articles in This Section

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Comments (7)
Subramaiam Ponnusamy
Great article. It was really a game changer for the future leaders who would transform technology and cultural changes collectively in the emerging digital world for the future generation.
Himanshu Sharma
I am really want this series to learn about this subject.

Really a good article.
George Murage
Good intro looking forward to more articles that flesh out this important topic.
Allison Ryder
Isabella, thank you for this comment! If you'd like to opt in to specific updates about this topic, we will be contacting you with that option soon.
john decker
Interesting, if incomplete post, look forward to future posts on the subject.

Let's start with a clearer definition of leadership, one taken from  John Quincy Adams: If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more you are a leader. this is from  the late 1700s, still applies today, and will apply even more so in the future.

We can't predict the future so we need to embrace agile concepts of seeking out changes, evaluating their import, and adjusting our learning on a continuous basis. Assume as a leader that we will need to be learning (and unlearning) continuously.

Couple of other thoughts: the pendulum is slowly swinging toward more enlightened and ethical leadership. building a strong ethical foundation is critical.

There is a major shift in work as disruptive as the move from hunter-gatherer to agriculture, the industrial revolution, the digital revolution, and the recent AI revolution. Society  and it's leaders need to address the potential for massive employment disruption, preferably with major training budgets, but that appears unlikely.

The balance is shifting toward transparency with the disintermediation of information sources. Secretiveness and power through control of information will not work in the future.

Exciting times!
Terry Bennett
I'm really looking forward to reading this series.  I have been writing about this very subject recently.  For example:

- New Leadership Behaviors Needed for Digital Era Success (http://www.institutefordigitaltransformation.org/new-leadership-behaviors-needed-digital-era-success/)

As a student of leadership for many years, I am anxious to read what you have to say on this.  You've gotten off to an excellent start!
Isabella Brancher
Very interesting article... I will follow future publications. Isabella Brancher