What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How to Lead in the Digital Age
By Chris Layden, VP, Manpower Group
With this pace of disruption, leaders must be ready to lead rapid digital transformation to capture opportunity and compete. The good news—transforming your workforce for the digital age will create value for business, change consumers' lives and unlock broader societal benefits—as long as leaders are ready. What got us here won't get us there and current and future leaders in the digital age must be open to change and ready to take calculated risks.
Leading through digital transformation does not mean tearing up the playbook of effective leadership. Instead the 80/20 rule applies. Foundational leadership skills like endurance and adaptability continue to be critical. But effective leaders must also nurture the additional 20 per cent — unleashing talent, daring to lead, and accepting that failing fast is sometimes necessary to accelerate performance.
To unleash talent today, leaders have to think differently than they did in the past. Success in the digital age is less about what you already know and more about your ability to learn, apply and adapt. Nurturing learnability, the ability and desire to continually learn to stay employable, is the key.
Foundational leadership skills like endurance and adaptability remain critical but leaders must also help unleash talent, dare to lead, and accept that failing fast is necessary to accelerate performance
Skills and employability will be the solutions to the skills revolution where new jobs are created as fast as others become obsolete.
We see this come to play in advanced manufacturing here in the U.S. where employers are experiencing a significant gap between the skills they need and the skills people have. Veterans share many technical and soft skills that are critical in the digital economy, but often have difficulty representing their skills in terms employers understand. This is increasingly prevalent in high tech manufacturing jobs where electro-mechanical skills are at a premium and where large numbers of military personnel are working on industrial computer systems.
We recently applied those skills adjacencies and the concept of learnability to in-depth assessments and identified veterans who’d benefit from the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing. In partnership with Rockwell Automation, we invested in an academy to upskill and reskill veterans for higher-paying, in-demand jobs within the digital manufacturing industry. The program continues to be a win-win. We're helping service men and women earn more –the majority of academy graduates have doubled, some even tripled their previous salaries—and stay employable for the long term while helping employers address their skills gap.
Are you ready to lead and does your organization have the skills you need to accelerate performance in a Skills Revolution? Start by asking yourself the following five questions:
1. Am I creating a culture of learnability in my organization, and seeking new talent pools to match people with adjacent skills to open positions?
2. Are our development programs designed to nurture and advance future digital leaders?
3. Does my leadership team and talent pipeline possess the inherent enablers and coachable capabilities to drive successful transformation in the digital age?
4. Are we creating a culture of innovation?
5. Are we using the right criteria to identify future leaders?
As leaders, helping people upskill and future-proof themselves will be the defining challenge of our time. Identifying in-demand skills and providing access to employment is the solution for all of us in the Skills Revolution.