The Four Leadership Personas Of The Fourth Industrial Revolution—Which One Are You?
Author: Punit Renjen
We are still in the early stages of Industry 4.0, also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which brings together physical assets—including machinery, vehicles and inventory—with digital technologies such as analytics, artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies and the internet of things (IoT). This marriage of the physical with the digital allows for the creation of a digital enterprise that is not only interconnected, but also capable of more holistic, informed decision making. This ever-changing environment creates uncertainty that leaves executives struggling to ready their organizations for Industry 4.0. That said, some leaders are finding success navigating this new era to create growth.
A new report from Deloitte Global, which is based on a survey of more than 2,000 C-suite executives across 19 countries, found that there are four types of leaders achieving success early on in Industry 4.0, whom we have coined: Social Supers, Data-driven Decisives, Disruption Drivers, and Talent Champions.
Here’s a look at each one:
1. The Social Supers: While most of the executives surveyed claim societal impact is an organizational priority, many still struggle with the tension between creating a positive impact and delivering a profit. The Social Supers, however, seem to have cracked the code. These leaders have figured out how to “do well by doing good” by generating new revenue streams through socially or environmentally conscious products or services. They also believe societal initiatives, more often than not, contribute to profitability.
Social Supers consider social initiatives fundamental to their business models in the age of Industry 4.0, and they translate their optimism about doing good into confidence and benefits in other areas: They have a greater appetite for investing in new technologies to disrupt markets; they are more likely to declare their workforces prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution; and they demonstrate a far greater willingness to train their workers (54 percent versus 37 percent of other executives).
2. The Data-driven Decisives: A methodical, data-driven approach to strategy development in the Industry 4.0 era gives this group of leaders confidence. Sixty-two percent of Data-driven Decisives strongly agree that they are ready to lead their organizations in capitalizing on the opportunities associated with Industry 4.0, which is almost twice as many as other leaders surveyed (32 percent).
Data-driven Decisives also present leadership characteristics that can position their organizations for long-term success. These leaders and their organizations are bolder, with half of them investing in technology to disrupt their markets, compared to only a third of other leaders. They are also more committed to their organizations’ workforces and more concerned with using Industry 4.0 technologies ethically.
Being data-driven in decision-making pays off. Almost half of organizations led by Data-driven Decisives generated 5 percent or greater annual revenue growth, in contrast to only 25 percent of other organizations.
3. The Disruption Drivers: Executives who report investing in technologies to upend their markets—and have made technology investments that have achieved or exceeded their intended business outcomes—have been designated the Disruption Drivers.These leaders are more likely to say they feel ready to lead in the Industry 4.0 era (45 percent versus 32 percent of other leaders) and are prepared to capitalize on the opportunities associated with Industry 4.0. Disruption Drivers take a more holistic approach to decision-making, which includes having clearer processes, being more data-driven and drawing insights from diverse sets of stakeholders. Disruption Drivers are also significantly more likely to believe they have workforces with skills for the future (54 percent versus 33 percent of other leaders), and they plan to continue to train their current employees extensively.
Disruption Drivers have been able to overcome what has made investing in technology such a challenge: a focus on short-term results, a lack of understanding of Industry 4.0 technologies, and a lack of leadership vision.
4. The Talent Champions: Talent Champions are those executives who are further along than their peers in preparing their workforces for the future. They believe they know what skill sets their companies need—and that they currently have the correct workforce composition.
Despite this confidence, these executives are not complacent—they’re aggressively preparing their workforces for the future. They embrace their responsibilities to train their employees for the future of work (51 percent versus 41 percent of all other respondents) and are also more likely to invest in technologies to disrupt competitors (42 percent versus 32 percent).
This focus on workforce development leads to a number of benefits: Sixty-four percent of the Talent Champions have been able to generate new revenue streams through socially driven initiatives (versus 51 percent of their global counterparts). This may reflect a positive outcome of “doing well by doing good.” That is, by putting workforce development at the forefront, employees may be more aligned and motivated to extend the influence of their newly developed skill sets.
Do you recognize yourself—and your organization—in one or more of these personas? What would it take for your organization to adopt some of their characteristics? How much more could your organization accomplish if its leaders adopted these personas? These are just a few questions to consider as we navigate through this new era.