Want to inspire your team, impress your boss or add value to a conversation?
Then you need to read about the industry you’re in or the aspects of your job you want to take further.
My bedtime reading is often about wellness trends. But I’m the boss of a company, too. It matters to put things in perspective at a higher level, so I keep up to date about several ways to future-proof my leadership.
My go-to source of info is the large panel of annual reports from Deloitte. They are a window to how the world is changing and a good way to prepare for it (yes, another practice to lead with confidence!).
I particularly follow the fourth industrial revolution concept (more on this below). And just recently, Deloitte released an account of the leadership personas most suited to thrive in our current era of unprecedented change.
Here’s why you need to future-proof your leadership.
What is the 4th industrial revolution?
Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, was the first to come up with the concept:
“The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production.
The Second used electric power to create mass production.
The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production.
Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.”
You can watch the full introduction video here:
Of course, big picture thinking is conceptual: you take trends and see how to apply them to your direct business environment. For instance, it could be to develop a view on how technology is affecting the way you work, the way you lead as well as your direct human environment (customers included).
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4 personas to future-proof your leadership
Deloitte published a couple of recommendations to future-proof your leadership and navigate the pace and depth of change:
– a societal & ethical view of technology usage
– a clear vision and the will to build collaborative organisations
– a will to invest in tech with long term results in mind
– a strong focus on talent
But this year’s report is not only about stats and big picture thinking. Deloitte analysed how companies adapt – successfully or not – to the pace of constant change and innovation. And they defined common qualities for leaders to thrive in the 4th industrial revolution:
– commitment to “do good”
– a long term view of the business
– leading with workforce development in mind
In short, balancing purpose and profit and shifting towards a long-term view – because all too often, short-term results are obtained at the expense of the people working for the company. And to future-proof your leadership, you can emulate their 4 successful leadership personas.
Those leaders “see social initiatives as integral to organisational health and engage their optimism about doing good […] by generating new revenue streams through socially or environmentally conscious products or services—and who believe that societal initiatives, more often than not, contribute to profitability”.
Those leaders see the connection between good corporate citizenship and business competence as being mutually beneficial.
Related: Work with pace or with patience?
Those leaders follow “A methodical approach, using data to support decisions, [which] gives these leaders something other leaders don’t have as much of: confidence”.
Such leaders use the power of numbers to position their organisations for long-term success. But they exhibit a high level of concern on ethical issues brought by technology and by extension, the 4.0 industry.
Related: How to avoid decision fatigue
Those leaders adopted a hands-on, assertive approach investing heavily in technology to upend their markets. By mixing a disruptive strategic mindset and a holistic approach to decision-making, they are perfectly positioned to future-proof their leadership and get ahead of their disruptive competitors.
One idea you can take from them? Their “magic three” for decision-making:
– reliable data to back their solutions
– strong processes to ensure it works for real
– diversity, involving a wide range of stakeholders in the final decision
For those leaders, envisioning what skills their workforce will need in the future and aggressively preparing them with accurate training is the way to future-proof leadership.
They lead over the long term through workforce training and balance it with strong investment in technologies to disrupt competitors. But their motto remains “doing well by doing good”. Their way to disrupt is to focus on ethical tech usage and generating revenue through socially driven initiatives.
If you want to future-proof your leadership, what matters the most? The cognitive process of playing with a concept and applying it to your own reality.
Keeping a couple of ideas at the forefront of your mind can be a great way to give more depth to your conversations and deepen your intuition.
But remember big picture thinking is as you make it: super simple or extremely complex!