Globalization and Technology: it isn’t just a matter of creating innovation but rather learning how to manage it
At the end of January, the conference “High-Tech and Leadership Skills for Europe”, promoted by the European Commission, shed new light on digital leadership (or eLeadership), a concept that has developed before being properly defined and which is bound to become an approved standard in the selection of CEOs and managers of small and large companies.
Being a digital leader means, above all, (1) to possess strategic skills to lead a multi-faceted staff and to direct and influence choices within geographical boundaries, broken off by globalization, and functional ones (today roles that didn’t exist only a few years ago have become essential); (2) to be business savvy, being able to understand which operating models need to be innovated to allow the company to keep updated and give it a boost in a world moving at an unprecedented speed; (3) to possess a solid knowledge of innovations (or otherwise build one) in order to take advantage of technology to make a shift and exploit the opportunities brought by innovations.
A shared basis of digital skills
We live in the age of Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0, a time in which eLeaders move from being mythical figures to being professionals fit to do specific tasks. For this reason, the European Commission project on eSkills aims to shed light on the issue, starting from defining the must-have features suitable to judge the degree of different skills. Having approved standards will allow European organizations to select candidates on a shared basis of digital and non-digital skills.
Today we are in a transitional stage, where the youngest generations are naturally digital-born (or at least possess the basic digital skills), while the management is often less capable and not enough expert to interact with the different company tasks, or even totally unaware of the digital innovations that could improve processes. In such context, digital leaders stand in between economic methodology and management, human resources and production: they can understand and optimize the work force, and are good at talking to workers in order to shape processes or service supplies and carry out the necessary changes to overcome outdated standards.
The risk of international competition
The lack of eLeaders in Europe is evident, following a trend of dozens of thousands every year, an unbalance between supply and demand that will lead many organizations in the European countries to experience a serious downfall in international competition within the next 10 years. The European Union, if unable to keep up with the rest of the world, will eventually have to rely on “imported” professionals rather than on home-grown ones.
From this perspective, the definition of an Index of skills pertaining to eLeaders, combined with initiatives to train managers from scratch or update their skills, and a more daily-based use of technology can become the essential elements to increase competitiveness and lead workers towards the future as gradually more specialized professionals rather than mere work force.
(Translated by Cecilia Braghin)