The 7 Learning Strategies for the Leader to Empower Digital Transformation

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The new business models we see today and here to stay challenge us to create new ways of working in companies. Is your organization ready to manage these?

We need new ways of working

Since 2014, Salim Ismail already challenged us to abandon the traditional paradigm for organizations to think about exponential organizations embodied by high sales growth: 10 times 10, for 10 times less cost. These ExO organizations, as they are known today, have a Massive Transformative Purpose that invites and challenges the organization to develop capacities to:

  • Use algorithm-based models that enable the automation of activities, making it easier for people to devote themselves to more advanced thought processes.
  • Outsource talent, drawing on assets or physical assets from others, optimizing costs, generating value and enhancing the impact on the client.
  • Generate engagement and involve external stakeholders in managing the organization, be it to either develop products and services, generate knowledge, or interact with the brand.
  • Use interfaces and, in general, technology every day in a user-friendly way, so these become more self-manageable.
  • Make the most of the data generated by all organizations in a straightforward and visually simple way to make better decisions.
  • Create cultures characterized by experimentation and learning by trial and error, autonomy, empowerment and agile decision making.
  • Work collaboratively with real-time information, facilitating team management and the generation of collaboration ecosystems.

In this scenario, it is imperative to change the ways of working. Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2018 report shows the importance of working in a hyperconnected world and that leaders play a key role in achieving it. Surprisingly however in view of this need, 73% of respondents say that their leaders rarely work together on strategic projects or initiatives. Consequently, developing a “Symphonic C-Suite “, as Deloitte has named it, is a call to specific actions that executives can undertake to foster greater collaboration.


Leaders 4.0

Exponential organizations require 4.0 leaders, who manage transformation and its adoption among people. Characteristically 4.0 leaders are marked by their strategic skill and constant innovation, by rapidly adapting to different conditions and possessing an agile mindset, and most of all, by digital intelligence.

Today we invite you to consider 7 learning strategies that can be highly useful for you to continue developing your leadership skills and reaching level 4.0 and higher, as required by our chaotic and complex environment:

  1. Learning by trial and error as a path to improvement

How can we fail even sooner and at a lower cost? This question should be posed constantly in daily work. It is not about promoting error per se, but about thinking about how much you, as a leader, tolerate errors in your work teams. Making a mistake shows us the wrong way to go and to avoid taking it again. To learn, the leader must enable and promote environments for experimentation in their teams to allow this kind of learning.

  1. Learn to work with others

I heard one of my colleagues say, “The 4.0 leader is a facilitator and not a boss who wants to be a hero!” This expression fascinated me because it sums up leadership work, since it is not easy to step aside as a boss to act as a leader and develop the talent within the team. Working with others implies facilitating the other people’s work to achieve an outcome, and not for others to be under you. When you work with and for others, this tests the skills for empathy, relationship and communication that make you a mentor and not a boss who requests accountability from others.

  1. Learn to empower

Empowerment is an exercise in trust, which is possible when the team has the ability to achieve the proposed goals and honour the commitments pledged to. However, trusting responsibly goes two-way: people must inspire trust in their leader through their skills, but it is the leader who helps develop the skills in their team.

Allow yourself to trust your team, give them the power to set their goals and how they reach them. If you have not already done so, properly review if you have facilitated learning about the skills you are expecting from whoever works with you.

  1. Learn to change

Change is easier or harder from person to person, so identifying how quickly you adapt to different contexts and situations is crucial for choosing the tools that develop this skill in you. I recommend you explore your personal motivation to change, the emotions spurred by the change, and navigate them to explore possible paths in the face of uncertainty. It will also be highly useful to analyse your own thoughts to identify if there is a paradigm that prevents you from adapting more easily to new situations.

  1. Learn to listen to your customers

Talking with clients is not a task only for the marketing, sales or service teams. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, does this practice constantly and has turned his organization around for this to become the way business is done, the outcome: generation of disruptive, innovative and valuable businesses for the global market. Leave your desktop and engage in conversations with your clients. When you do, use the 75/25 rule: listen 75% of your time and the remaining 25%, think about what you can do with what you have heard.

  1. Learn to map your environment

A leader needs to make decisions in the present by understanding the business’s future, so his calling is to be the first to be aware of what is happening in his environment, to be connected with what is happening in the world, and to know the trends based on consumption patterns to anticipate the customer needs.

To map the environment, consider:

  • Constantly monitoring trendsetters or opinion leaders who are well-known in their sector, region and, why not, in public opinion.
  • Getting to know and be present in the spaces where new business is constantly being generated like the local and global innovation kind of hubs in Silicon Valley.
  • Consulting specific studies on organizational trends. Some interesting sources come from MIT, Boston Consulting Group and Deloitte.
  • Visiting crowdfunding platforms, as they show the latest proposals in business models.
  1. Learn from technology

Developments in artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, blockchain and data management, are becoming faster, cheaper and more accessible to more people. Your results as well as your team’s will benefit from making the most of the advantages that technology brings and as a leader, the onus is on you to be the first to use it or at least sponsor it.

Be inspired to become familiar with technology, interact with it and put yourself in the frame of mind to absorb like a sponge,  allow your brain to get to know new applications and tools that will be useful to you in different areas of your life.

See “The Conversation Prism” by Brian Solis and JESS3 ( for  a quick overview of what you can use to learn about technology and develop your digital intelligence.

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