The early days of digital change within organisations highlighted how essential the role of leadership is in successful transformation. Employees take their cue from the behaviour of leaders, and so it is essential that leaders become role models for their teams and for emerging digital leaders. This involves them embracing new mental models and mindset, and constantly evolving their own style of leadership, a practice that can be uncomfortable at first. Much has been written about the work of Carol Dwek on growth versus fixed mindsets, which is an excellent starting point for anyone exploring how to begin their journey into digital. But the top digital leaders we work with have a more nuanced approach.
Perpetual Beta Mindset – drawn from the software world & the work of Harold Jarche, the perpetual beta mindset means embracing continuous improvement of your own ways of working, as well as the products and services your teams build. This means understanding that the inside of the organisation must evolve as quickly as the market does, to meet customer expectations of continuous releases, high-paced innovation and responsiveness.
Leading Your Teams
Sustainability Mindset – a core tenet of agility, leaders and their teams aim for a work pace that they can sustain indefinitely. Leaders create the conditions that allow their teams to focus on high-value, high-priority work, rather than lower value ‘busy’ work, such as excess meetings, high-volume email chains and other shallow work, which are all manifestations of unsustainable working practices.
Inclusive Mindset – understanding that as a leader (in the formal, hierarchy-designated meaning of the word) it is not possible to make all decisions about strategic direction. Allowing existing leaders to more effectively coach an emerging cadre of collaborative, digitally savvy future leaders whilst gaining knowledge and insight into the digital future.
Sense & Respond Mindset – in direct opposition to the classic hierarchy-driven command-and-control mindset, digital businesses leverage an organisation’s human sensor network to sense and respond to internal and external conditions.
Leading Your Business
Ambidextrous Mindset – Leaders who can design and execute strategies that exploit existing assets and capabilities in mature businesses and reconfigure them to develop new strengths.
To explore these mindsets in more depth, here are five interesting links:
- An overview from HBR on creating a growth culture.
- Why Your “Soft Skills” Matter in Building a Culture of Success from Erik Vermeulen.
- The Iceberg of Ignorance & the Changing Role of Leadership from Travis Jacobs.
- Leadership is not taking it all from Harold Jarche.
- Mindsets for the post-digital age from Angus Hervey.