Obviously, companies whose management has technological competence can cope better with the corona crisis, as a variety of studies prove. When asked what must-haves for future managers are indispensable, four skills emerged as being crucial: decision-makers should have strategic thinking, leadership qualities, be competent in handling technologies, and understand the market and customers.
However, digital leaders only succeed if the triad of digital transformation of wanting, being able, and doing is considered equally and comes together effectively. Because not all "want" to deal with digital changes—despite Corona—only a few really have the in-depth knowledge for the "ability" and too many still fail to "do" and thus, to implement digital projects.
Want the change
No clinging to the status quo helps in view of the profound changes brought about by digitization, which are aggressively brought to the company from outside and cannot be managed from within. Not to mention that in most incentive and reward systems for managing directors and board members, the focus is on the earnings from the ongoing core business, not the courageous and risky focus on new digital business models. As a result, many supposed digitization offensives wither into pure IT automation to make existing processes even more efficient. The fact that people tend to be critical of changes—especially with increasing age—does not help at all neither with the dynamic topic of digitization, since change is precisely its essential characteristic. So, if you really want to be digital, you have to want the changes. The digital mindset is the first essential component for a real digital leader. And isn’t voluntary willingness always better than being forced to do so by new digital competitors.
The Digital Leadership Index from Capgemini invent is available as a free self-test on the Internet, with which you can find out whether you are already fit enough to manage a company in the digital age. Against the background of or precisely because of the corona pandemic, the will to digitize is increasing. But it turns out that a lack of specialist knowledge has now led to a slight decrease in digital implementation projects. The corona pandemic has just shown the new and important role digital processes are taking.
Be able to do it
After wanting to do so, the second question quickly arises, namely that of “ability”. Digital changes are not a technical button that you can just press, rather it is about the specific knowledge and the associated know-how relating to digital value creation.
The basics of the digital economy are essential for every manager. In addition to professional and social skills, digital skills will be essential in the future to be able to lead entrepreneurially. And that doesn't just apply to management, but to every employee in the company. Digital values, digital value creation, and digital value chains as the basis of digital business models must become second nature to everyone. However, studies have shown that knowledge about digital technologies, digital economy and digital markets is not particularly well developed at all levels of work and in management.
This situation can only be changed through specific training and further education.
Ultimately, do it!
In the end however, what really counts is the implementation of digital projects in practice, the “doing”. All those involved are measured by what is really happening and how the company and its employees are taken along on this path. The focus is on the three "digital Ps": processes, products, and platforms as well as their structure and design.
The automation of processes is a simple necessity, as is the answering of related questions such as digital customer journey, dynamic pricing, interactive ordering, tracking and so on. In addition, the digitization of products will grow in importance: sensors, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and remote maintenance are just a few of the keywords. However, the development of digital platforms shouldn’t be ignored either since these have proven to be a superior business model on the Internet. To make a long story short, the digital execution is the third essential component that characterizes a digital leader.
Since digitization can no longer be stopped, we must actively shape the digital age. This will depend on a digital mindset (willingness), the associated digital skills (ability) and digital execution (doing), and ultimately on the digital leaders who guide our industry into the digital age.
Especially in times of crisis like this, management needs a solid understanding of technology and know-how to make use of innovations as in the long term only those companies will successfully assert themselves in the market. We must make sure that technological competence is firmly anchored at the C level.
By Daniela La Marca