Attracted to the very topical title of ‘The evolution of Leadership Development in a Digital World’, I recently joined a live webinar from Hult Ashridge Executive Education. Hosted and led by Professors of Strategy and Innovation Dr Hari Mann and Professor Paul Griffith, the pair set the scene against the background of COVID-19 and in the context of VUCA: facing multiple unknowns that are generating enormous confusion and anxiety. However, despite the scarily titled VUCA, our ‘new normal’ in terms of markets and lifestyle changes, offers plenty of opportunity for those able to spot, embrace and deploy digital advances.
COVID-19 has seen organisations fast-track five years’ worth of digital transformation
Mann and Griffith told us that many organisations, or more properly managers and leaders, are reacting ‘abruptly’. Using established, yet outmoded strategies in an effort to retain short-term control and continuity. COVID-19 has seen organisations fast-track five years’ worth of digital transformation and there are those prioritising a partial, limited digital vision. Yet, neither group is giving priority to the transformation that leaders and their organisations actually need right now in order to thrive.
My questions, of course, revolve around how managers and leaders can be better prepared and cope with rapid change.
What competencies are needed to reach and maintain high-potential and performance? What culture shift is required to build strategies for effective management and leadership in our digital age?
Mann and Griffith identified the current trend and challenges as:
- Working practices and the implications of the virtual workplace
- Psychological contract, and
- Leadership development for the digital age
So, what are the competencies required to meet these three distinct challenges? Hult Ashridge recently carried out research with some 200 senior managers into what they considered to be the leadership competencies required in a digital age. Identifying 11 different areas, the survey reported that, alongside rapidly shedding the mantle of ’old school’ analogue mindsets, managers and leaders are also required to look at macro trends and re-imagine their organisations in terms of resources and quick wins to motivate their teams.
The 11 Hult Ashridge competencies for a digital age:
- Contextual Intelligence focusing on the organisation environment in terms of ‘what have we learnt?’ This approach requires hindsight, foresight and insight.
- Strategic Intelligence looks at a conceptual system involving What, Why and How?
- Learning Agility and Adaptability
- Sense-making and envisioning involving defining the right course of action, mapping the future and making sense of what is taking place.
- Storytelling through creating scenarios for better knowledge transfer.
- Emotional and Social Intelligence involving emotional self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
- Authenticity involving purpose, values and self-discipline, self-knowledge and ethical leadership.
- Psychological capital involving hope, optimism and self-efficiency.
- Creative thinking and innovative behaviour in terms of idea generation and problem-solving.
- Global mindset and cultural intelligence involving exercising a global leadership perspective.
- Collective leadership involving inclusivity, empathy, commitment and motivation.
So far, so good I thought. But, putting aside the enormous challenges faced in creating organisational shift and momentum, what about the employee factor in moving from the current level of skill to these new competencies? What is required to achieve this new level of performance?
Skillogy PERFORM™ equipping managers and leaders for success
With very few organisations successfully implementing this shift and the majority having yet to regroup and determine their strategies, I did a quick mapping exercise. Using the 30 courses from our Skillogy PERFORM™ programme, I aligned these to the majority of the skills and abilities required by the Hult Ashridge competencies, as follows:
Leadership PERFORM > Interpersonal relationships and the achievement of results through vision and direction.
Manager PERFORM > Process efficiency and increased output
Self PERFORM > Self-knowledge, contribution and efficiency
It’s always good to check that our flexible approach is fully aligned and can support current organisational thinking and progress.
Beating the stats, Skillogy has been going for the past 25 years, supporting managers and leaders to acquire these increasingly important soft skills and abilities. Providing performance improvement to employees in highly diverse organisations globally, we can equip teams to address all 11 Hult Ashridge competencies and their own specific targets.
Why not get in touch with your thoughts about the future of organisations, the relevance of soft skill development and the nature of work in the future? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and feedback.
Leader and Developer, Skillogy International, November 2020