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Develop "Digital- Ready" Leaders

Driving digital transformation become the new skills for leaders.

Digital acumen is essential for business leaders in today's hyper-competitive, technology enabled world. Companies are scaling for innovation and moving at high speed. Many companies are redesigning their organisations to be more fluid, dynamic and team centered. But most organisation's functional leaders lack the knowledge and skills to succeed in the digital aspects of the business. This prompts us to think about what digital skills do future leaders need?

The growing demand and limited supply of digital talent is putting immense pressure on organisations to scale up on their digital skills. Many organisations initiate programs on digital tools, engage with the start up community, look at innovative recruitment methods etc in order to bridge the digital skills gap.

How are organisations developing their future ready digital leaders?

DBS- Build a "start-up" mindset

- Giving them a real life problem to solve and having them work with a start-up for a 72 hour hackathon

- Rolling out a 3-day digital mindset bootcamp across the region

- leveraging an app to create digital challenges for each other and participate in a gamified leader board to gain points on the bank's innovation index

- Young talent who have been through the hackathon and boot camp will be empowered to reverse mentor senior leaders and help them get points on the digital challenge

Proctor &Gamble - Scale up digital skills

P&G and Google started an employee exchange program. The aim of the program was to foster innovation and cross pollination of digital talent. Employees from both companies took part in each other's training programs and attended meetings where business plans were formalised. P&G gained expertise on digital and internet marketing to effectively sell its products online

There is "no one fits all" approach to overcoming digital skills gap. P&G established a baseline for all its employees through a "digital skills" inventory and set proficiency expectations for specific roles and career progression. Pepsi launched its "digital fitness" program to keep its marketers' digital skills up to par. GE and L'Oreal leveraged younger employees and those who 'get' the new technologies and disciplines to become mentors as part of a reverse mentoring program. They tapped into their in-house pool of talent instead of looking outside. The company has put in place KPI's for sharing knowledge and coaching others. Some hold " lunch and learns" , topics like search engine marketing, Linkedin, CRM, use of apps to create integrated customer experience, gamification etc.

In summary, leaders must think, act and react differently in this digital age. Leaders must learn about and stay abreast of digital trends, the implications of those trends for their business, be customer centric- anticipate customers behaviour change and how to leverage the new technologies. Apart from that, ability to utilise data, to scale up, open to experimentation and practice collaboration are all essentials to realise the digital visions and strategy of your organisation. More on The Digital Leader ? Read: Leadership Disrupted; Pushing the boundaries

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