Developing Leaders in a Digital World

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It is banal to say that we are living in a changing world. Navigating through this digital transformation is not an easy path for today’s leaders, where “disruption” is the key that unlocks unfathomable possibilities.

The world of economy and business has already moved from being VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous) to VUCADD (volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous and digitally disrupted). Digital transformation is pushing the economy towards this VUCADD environment. This has led to the metamorphosis of the economy and business organizations from traditionally structured work places to high-end technologically driven and digitally advanced economies. The new potential of AI and advanced robotics poses major new challenges for leaders as they seek to reset their strategies for a digital age.

Digital Leadership

The Mindset Shift

As a result of business economy moving towards being more and more digitalized, fundamental shift in leadership mindset and behaviors is crucial.

Leaders now need to be more agile and flexible in adopting new technological changes in the digital sphere. They need to be open in incorporating these changes in making business decisions. To make business decisions with agility and flexibility, the next mindset shift required would be to develop, create and foster radical innovation, creativity and experimentation, over data-based research.  To ensure continuous creativity, leadership strategies would need to be more short term and emergent than deliberate and long term.

Customers today are fast evolving and moving towards digitalization too. They are now looking at offerings that are digital, mobile, easy to install and use. In order to be more customer centric, leaders need to broaden their business acumen to embrace technology. They need to understand how technology can be leveraged to provide the best to their customers.

Collaboration continues to be a major leadership challenge in this agile environment. Similar to the Deloitte study, which reported that 70% of roles are merging with other roles in the organization, leadership now needs to move from having an image of ‘command and control’ to ‘fostering an environment of collaboration and inclusive management’. (check out our digital newsletter below for to read out special coverage on “Breaking Organizational Silos and Driving Collaboration”

Breaking Organizational Silos and Driving Collaboration

Lastly, change can be distressing. Hence, leaders would need to develop high levels of resilience and emotional intelligence to survive and sustain successfully in this VUCADD environment

Our Point of View

Most organizations focus on behavioral clusters to define their competency framework for the various roles in the organization. At InspireOne, we focus on fours High Impact Performance Clusters of Thinking, Developing, Inspiring and Achieving. Within these clusters we have been able to identify 12 core competencies required to develop high levels of proficiency by digitally evolved leaders. They are

  1. Positive vision of change: To be open to embrace digital changes with a positive vision of success
  2. Risk taking: To be able to adopt and implement technologies even before they mature
  3. Curiosity: About the new trends in technology and what the customers are looking for
  4. Self-awareness: To be able to accept change and be malleable to change. To understand where ‘I’ stand vis-a vis the change and accepting the change
  5. Resilience: To dismantle age old structures and take it positively
  6. Collaboration: To be able to collaborate across functions and hierarchy. Embracing digitalization also means to learn from the Millennials, who are highly tech savvy, and collaborate with them
  7. Diversity: To be able to collaborate not only within teams, but with diverse groups across geography, hierarchies etc. Disruption would always come from a perspective which is different and diverse. To be able to embrace this diversity is a core digital leadership competency
  8. Adaptability: The agility with which one is able to adopt the positive vision of change and develop resilience towards it
  9. Staying relevant: To be able to build people whose contribution is relevant to the current business context
  10. Continuous learning: A leader would need to be a continuous learner to stay market relevant
  11. Agility: To be able to pace the business with the rapidly changing VUCADD world
  12. Customer centricity: To understand and deliver to changing customer needs in the digital environment

InspireOne has been in the field in of Leadership development for the past 20 years partnering up with global L&D leaders to crack the leadership code and deliver impeccable solutions to our clients.

We are working on creating a robust Digital Leadership & Business Transformation learning journey which will focus on developing these core competencies.

If you are interested to know more, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


General George W. Casey, J. (n.d.). Leading in a VUCA world. Retrieved from Johnson Cornell SC Johnson College of Buisness:

Gerald C. Kane, D. P. (2018, June 05). Coming of Age Digitally. Retrieved from MIT Sloan Management Review:

Higginbottom, K. (2015, Feb). The Impact Of A Digital Economy On Leadership. Retrieved from Forbes:

Joe Dettmann, A. C. (2018). Digital-Era Leadership. Retrieved from DDI:

Sujatha Das, L. D. (n.d.). Here’s how leadership is being transformed in a digital world. Retrieved from People Matteres:

Waller, L. (2017, Sept). Developing leaders in the digital environment. Retrieved from HR Zone:


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1 Comment

  1. Pollyt

    What a great read! The humor was a nice touch. For further details, click here: READ MORE. Let’s chat about it!

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