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As technology has proliferated, a permanent technological evolution has become inevitable. There is a growing demand for organizations to generate and implement innovative solutions that allow them to compete and stay at the forefront of their industries. This trend has led to increasingly specialized companies that focus on providing strategic services based on the latest technological trends.
Nowadays, it is common to hear company leadership say, “We are a transformative company,” or “Digital innovation is a reality in my business.” However, I ask myself: Are the leaders ready to receive that transformation? Are we prepared to lead challenges that we must face during the next decade?
According to survey findings from Boston Consulting Group, over 80 percent of business leaders surveyed said they planned to accelerate their digital transformations. As leaders, we will face different challenges during our digital transformations, so we have to reinvent ourselves, our businesses and continue our commitment to meeting the expectations of consumers, clients, team members and other stakeholders.
With this in mind, there are four principles I believe all business leaders should adopt to pivot and stay relevant in the face of disruptive technologies:
1. Define your purpose.
You need to be flexible when faced with challenges in order to become a transformational leader, which involves observing new facts and seeking new ways of generating vision and purpose. Being a purpose-driven business is about creating an emotional connection with all stakeholders. Having a clear purpose and goal during changing times is essential if you want your business to be adaptable and generate a positive impact on the world. Purpose-driven businesses are more successful in many areas, but as leaders, we have to work on this daily. Having a corporate purpose and not implementing it within the organization is the equivalent of purchasing a ticket to your dream destination but never getting on the plane.
2. Be humble.
Humble leaders need to be conscious that not all information or new technology may be easy to learn or even be accessible; it’s a long learning process. Leaders have to create awareness of the advances in technology within the business and look for new alternatives to leverage the internet of things, business intelligence, machine learning and big data. Being humble is essential for technological advancement — as a leader, you have to accept new technologies, embrace digital challenges and be open to adopting strategic technological developments that contribute to the company’s productivity.
3. Embrace reinvention.
There are different ways to achieve goals, and using resources in this new digital age means unlearning and learning new routes to achieve success. Embracing reinvention requires the development of skills and a change of mindset. Having access to technology is not everything; training people is essential since tech availability does not always guarantee its use. As a leader, you might need to start with projects that complement your new mentality focused on digital transformation.
4. Empower others.
The new digital world gives space to train workers in strategic functions, enhancing their capabilities through the tools provided by technology. Empowering employees as change managers means encouraging them to take an active role in creating and adopting disruptive technologies, listening to their experiences and implementing their ideas. We must become the ambassadors of a flexible and dynamic behavioral system that gives the employee autonomy and initiative.
Staying relevant in the face of disruptive technologies will be a defining challenge for many business leaders. Those who effectively embrace the innovator duality of optimizing existing businesses while identifying new opportunities that change the state of the game will be those who will thrive through this transformative era and establish long-term success.
In the wise words of Larry Page, co-founder of Google, “If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.” Digital transformation is part of the present and the future, and it is the road that any leader can take to help their business reach its full potential.