Future-focused leaders must be digitally fluent

  • Businesses leaders need to be digitally fluent
  • Be the first to try out new software and gadgets
  • Future-focused leaders know what it takes to thrive in this data-driven world
  • Communication platforms will help your business stay connected
  • Expose your business to social media
  • Become a digital leader of the future

Digital transformation is a vital component of all businesses today. It helps them to remain relevant and stay ahead in the race for dominance in a world that’s becoming increasingly digital. According to the latest Meticulous Research report, the value of the digital transformation market is expected to reach $3,294 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of  a staggering 22.7 per cent. The market expansion is fuelled by several factors, such as the wider adoption of 5G and tech innovations as well as the soaring number of enterprises adopting cutting-edge tech to help them automate their businesses. Of course, no one expects executives to be experts in coding, but knowing the value of cutting-edge technology will absolutely help you gain a competitive advantage. 

People who run businesses need to be digitally fluent

Vigilance is one of the key elements entrepreneurs need to succeed in the rapidly changing world of business. This encompasses being aware of the technological impact on business processes, and being able to recognise which tech would be the most beneficial for certain departments and in the organisation as a whole. 

The CEO of State Farm,  a large group of insurance companies with offices throughout the United States, underlines that “Tomorrow’s leaders will need to have a technology fluency that lets them anticipate opportunities and threats, distinguish hype from credible, and embrace transformative possibilities.” Luckily, online resources such as podcasts and tech-oriented blogs offer lots of valuable information about state-of-the-art technologies, reflecting on their pros and cons, so you can decide which would best suit your current and future business needs. A lot can be learnt from tech savvy employees as well. It’s important to be an open minded, future oriented leader who’s willing to learn more about ways to ensure the company’s growth and showing employees just how valuable they are. 

Be the first to try out new software and gadgets

Top-notch organisations use the latest tech as soon as it hits the market. Your IT specialists will probably know how to use the tech. In fact, their knowledge about it is probably superior to yours – which is, of course, why you hired them in the first place. However, this doesn’t mean that you don’t need to know what’s going on in the world of technology. Quite the opposite, actually. You should be the first to know all the interesting details about new software and the coolest new gadgets before implementing them. Take website maintenance, for example. If you’re not sure how to perform basic website maintenance yourself, ask your IT team leader to coach you. As you become more comfortable with tools and how they work, you’ll start recognising the tools that might improve the website’s efficiency and make it run more smoothly. 

Future-focused leaders know what it takes to thrive in this data-driven world

In this data-driven world, leveraging information technology is a must. Big data has changed the way we strategise and execute our plans. As much as 30 per cent of institutional investors say that data and analytics are the most important competitive advantage they have. Subbiah Subramanian, global head of State Street Global Exchange’s data-as-a-service offering, DataGX(SM), stresses the power of data in business. “Today’s investment climate requires an overwhelming amount of data, and as the lines between front, middle and back office continue to blur, smarter data management is absolutely essential for effective performance and recognizing growth opportunities.” If you ask yourself if this means that you should be an expert in data analytics – no, you don’t. But successful leaders do need to be informed about cutting-edge technology like big data. So it’s important to familiarise yourself with the process of collecting and analysing data. The wealth of insights this generates will help you make the safest and most efficient decisions for your enterprise.

Communication platforms will help your business stay connected

Another valuable skill is the ability to motivate your workers even during critical periods, such as the crisis caused by the coronavirus. In the US, 4.7 million people were already working remotely before the COVID-19 pandemic. With almost 90 per cent of organisations all over the world now encouraging their employees to work from home, managers will need to find a way to keep communication with and among employees across digital channels uplifting, encouraging, and inspiring. It’s also important to be informed about the best corporate communication management systems on the market and to implement new channels of communication. Not only between different teams and departments within an organisation, but also between organisations. In essence, business communication platforms allow companies seamless workflow, even during times of crisis. These platforms come with a host of different features, such as the ability to create groups and communicate with remote teams in real time, file sharing, project collaboration options – the options are virtually limitless.

Expose your business to social media

Mastering social media is an important skill that leaders of tomorrow must possess. Given that 3.6 billion people around the world use social media, and that the number will skyrocket to almost 4.5 billion by 2025, the power of social media is undeniable. The social network penetration rate is increasing constantly, standing at 49 per cent in January 2020. If you think that LinkedIn is the only place to expose your business and connect with others, you couldn’t be more wrong. Did you know that over 25 million companies across the globe have already recognised Instagram as a vital business tool and that it has become “the new home for brands”?

Michele Romanow, President of Clearbanc, a Canadian capital firm that specialises in non-dilutive revenue-share agreements with startups, “has mastered the art of Instagram by using compelling visuals and video to tell a story about their business, values and leadership style” writes Caroline Carter Smith, Cofounder at CSuite Content. Syed Rizvi, founder and educator at RevMed, a medical education platform, says that Instagram enables you to build a relationship with your followers, strengthening your brand. “Stories drive traffic to your product or service; [they also] raise brand awareness. Give, give and give some more before you think about taking from your audience. People [need time] to build trust with the page they like.” This approach will enable you to expand your customer base and help you find business partners whose corporate ideas match yours. 

Become a digital leader of the future

Some managers and people in leadership positions might find cutting-edge technology a bit overwhelming and rather opt for not dealing with technology at all, relying solely on their IT department. But to have a fighting chance, it’s important to stay informed about new technologies and how they can improve your business. Learning the basic aspects of state-of-the-art tech won’t necessarily make you an expert, but it will give you valuable insights into what will help your company gain and keep a competitive advantage, even during difficult times such as these.

This article is written by Richard van Hooijdonk

This article is written by Richard van Hooijdonk

Trendwatcher, futurist and international keynote speaker Richard van Hooijdonk takes you to an inspiring future that will dramatically change the way we live, work and do business.

All lectures