Role of the Leader for a Successful Transformation Journey.

DecodeHR ran an interactive workshop on 19th July 2018 together with the San-Francisco based Berkeley Executive Coaching team, entitled “Leader as Coach”. During the session, audience members were asked if they were planning on embarking on a transformation journey. The overwhelming majority responded “yes”. 

We know that such a transformation would inevitably involve the use of technology, in a bid to be future-ready. These results align with a global trend to initiate transformation through HR digitalisation and technology, and business leaders are becoming more and more aware about its importance for business success. The leadership skills needed in today’s world are expanding from coaching skills, discussed at the workshop, to the ability to leverage technology for business.

Executives are waking up to the fact that the need to transform is imperative for their company’s success. The change is not only about new technology, but also changing the way they do business. Research conducted by MIT Sloan has shown that companies that are future-ready perform at a superior financial level, averaging 16 percentage points better than their industry average. Hence if the average net profit margin for a company in a given industry was 8%, future-ready enterprises earned 24%. This superiority would clearly enable future-ready companies to stay as market leaders.

To navigate these ever-changing waters, a leader will need certain traits to guide them, a balance of hard and soft skills. In addition to being digitally literate, technical skills like economic analysis and strategic planning or design, are vital. Soft skills, which involve interpersonal relationships, are also required. These include being able to inspire others, build collaborative relationships, and act as facilitators to bridge the digital gap to name just a few.

Satya Nadella transformed Microsoft’s culture from one that was conservative and cautious to one that embraces risk-taking and exploration. He didn’t lead change by merely making speeches but rather by leading a company-wide hackathon for Microsoft, and encouraging employees to be involved in projects they were passionate about. This has paid off as the increased employee engagement has helped drive Microsoft’s growth into cloud services and artificial intelligence, areas that now contribute 32% to its revenue.

Leaders steering the way through new digital trends should reflect on what is required for successful implementation. There is a need for direction, innovation, execution, collaboration, and inspirational leadership. What is needed today, will inevitably change in the future and leaders need to recognise that whilst new technologies are important, transformation extends across the entirety of a business. Therefore, they will need to take into consideration their company values, their interactions and how they compete.

Look out for our next article as we share our insights on critical leadership competencies that help drive a successful transformation.

Reference Sources :

1) Insider HR - A new mindset is the key to HR digitalisation, Aaron McEwan

2) MITSloan - The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation, George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee

3) Mckinsey - The seven traits of effective digital enterprisesTunde OlanrewajuKate Smaje, and Paul Willmott

4) InLoox - Digital Transformation: The 5 Must-Have Skills for Digital Leaders, Linh Tran 

5) MITSLoan Management Review - Is Your Company Ready for a Digital Future? Peter Weill Stephanie L. Woerner, Winter 2018 Issue

6) Harvard Business Review - What the Best Transformational Leaders Do, Scott Anthony and Evan I. Schwartz

7) Forbes - Are Hard Skills or Softs More Important to be an Effective Leader?

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