CEO Leadership mantra – Managing business success, digital disruption and customers
Did you know that one of the biggest stress factors that CEO’s today seem to be facing is managing digital disruption?
As we are all gearing up for the Industry 4.0 era that seems to already be here, organizations are hiring technology experts, industry leaders in digital etc to manage their business more efficiently.
In-spite of this, why is it that organizations across the globe, industries and their CEO’s seem to be faltering in reaching their targets, growth, business success more than ever before?
Well, for starters, majority of the organizations are making a mistake in assuming that the CEO today should be someone who is merely technology savvy or even just a digital expert.
When the fact of the matter is, it’s never been about technology.
It’s about adapting to change and that too with rapid pace for the right reasons.
The focus needs to be towards creating a self-initiated motivated team of professionals that keep the learning ongoing throughout their employment.
In fact, the focus is now slowly shifting from organizations wanting employees to requiring professionals with an entrepreneurial bent of mind.
“Just because you are CEO, don’t think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization. I’ve never forgotten that ~ Indra Nooyi, PepsiCO“
The ideal CEO today should focus on:
Technology, sites and Human Skills: Ensuring that their business is device independent. You will be surprised to note how many organizations even today (and that too even across massively big companies) do not have sites or blogs that are designed as per the need of the hour. In other words, they have a website that is merely static and not responsive or interactive. They have a blog that is simply updated with random news rather than transforming it into an in-house (KRC) – Knowledge Resource Center, not just for their customers but also for their own employees. This enables the learning within the organization to be ongoing. When you as a CEO are investing in digital, let it be for the right reasons!
Let me give you an example: There are a plethora of cases wherein an organization has professionals / employees across divisions with various skill sets, both, traditional and digital. An ideal CEO would enable a process wherein such skill sets not only get the attention it deserves but also helps employees across divisions to learn from each other and or to complement each others divisions thereby adding tremendous boost to the business.
Adapting digital disruption on time: The ideal CEO would not ignore or even see the digital disruption as a threat. In fact, he or she would take time out to understand which among the new age technology and media tools for eg. Engaging interactive apps, process & tools like gamification, Augmented reality, virtual reality, robotics, machine learning, Big Data, Digital marketing Analytics etc can really add value to the business, their employees and customers in the long run and in turn ensure to make better focused decisions for the organizations overall growth.
More importantly, also make sure that such deployment does not get delayed in which the organization not only becomes a late entrant, but also misses great opportunities of the initial growing stage wherein cost for such tools are cheaper in comparison to later stages where they have completely evolved and more importantly, so that the business gets to use this digital integration to the advantage of enabling their customers with processes that are convenient, holistic and user-friendly.
Across divisions or for specific areas: A CEO is someone who has the power to clearly understand the different business verticals, financials, revenue models, the scalability of the business models, long-term and short-term operating costs etc. He or she needs to be able to clearly point out areas which need ‘immediate change’. Focus on areas and employ digital technologies wherein as a business you can reduce costs, increase customer engagement, personalize products and services etc.
Ignore EGO and embrace Learning: As a CEO, sometimes you are marred by the massive ego of either holding a powerful position or merely because, after years of perseverance you have landed a position that empowers within its duties great respect, responsibility, success and power and you do not want to risk it all by being a reason of a massive and sudden CHANGE. Let’s face it, no one likes change.
So it is natural to avoid embracing digital disruption at times for the fear of becoming unpopular.
But what if, instead of merely adapting technology as the end solution, the CEO decides to integrate it into the organization’s system as a “new tool”, by increasing learning, corporate training, employee development, employee skill development programs which are also linked to their overall growth within the organization.
Then, not only do you as a CEO become successful in bringing the best in the industry for your business, but most importantly, you become all the more popular since you get the active approval of your employees who are willingly, actively and happily adapting the learning not due to a fear of replacement, rather due to their vision of how these ‘tools‘ will help them become more productive in an organization which clearly values their time and efforts.
Managing the changing roles: As a CEO, it is crucial that you empower employees based on their skill sets and not merely on their age or experience or any other bias.
I strongly believe that age is not a guarantee of experience and neither is youth a guarantee of innovation.
So its important to ensure that the people who are handling the new roles and who will be the change leaders in the process are those who are well-balanced between managing tools and empowering their team members and not the other way around.
As a CEO, you need to make sure that your change leaders are those who respect skills, resources and those who are adaptable to digital disruptions themselves.
Did you know that, many CEO’s have ended up hiring or giving this leadership role of being a change leader and or a departmental head to employees simply either because they were young and are an obvious choice to lead digital disruption or worse, because they are seniors who know how to ‘handle’ others but are themselves not digitally adept.
Hiring your best customer: The ideal CEO today will enable an organization to hire their best customer as a spokesperson using digital campaign medium. In other words, if you as a business today are able to acquire user-generated content that speaks positive messages about your organization, about your products, services etc and not merely use it as a branding message for your prospects but use it to further create customer engagement, increase value-add for your existing users by taking and making use of the feedback in the right way, then you are heading in the right direction!
An ideal CEO does not work for the organization alone.
He or she works in sync keeping in mind the growth of the business, its profits, employees learning and overall growth and most importantly, value generation for their customers.
Do share your views and comments on this, would love to hear from you.
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