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4 leadership models to help navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution


Deloitte's second annual Readiness Report, Success Personified in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has surveyed 2,000 C-suite executives across 19 countries, to identify the four leadership approaches that it will take to succeed in Industry 4.0.

Essentially, these are listed are the four Industry 4.0 personas, explained in greater detail below:

  • Social Supers — Commitment to do good;
  • Data-Driven Decisives — Defined, data-driven decision-making;
  • Disruption Drivers — Bold, longer-term vision of technology;
  • Talent Champions — Aggressive about workforce development, poised to survive and thrive.

Weighing the value of purpose? Societal impact pays off

The survey revealed that societal impact (34%) is the most important factor business leaders use to gauge success - totaling that of financial performance (17%) and employee satisfaction (17%) combined. Additionally, more than half of global executives surveyed (53%) noted their societal impact efforts resulted in new revenue streams - proving purpose and profit can coexist in Industry 4.0.

The Social Supers: Social Supers are leaders who have demonstrated success in "doing well by doing good" by generating new revenue streams through socially or environmentally conscious products or services. They are 12% more likely to cite that their workforce composition is prepared for digital transformation and show far greater willingness to train workers (54% vs. 37%).

In Industry 4.0, strategy is left behind

A third of global leaders cited lack of leadership vision as the top challenge their organisations face in adapting business strategies to meet the needs of tomorrow. Further, only 29% of executives believe their organisations have clearly defined decision-making processes, so it's no surprise they are struggling to keep up.

The Data-Driven Decisives: Data-Driven Decisives are overcoming strategic obstacles, such as organisational silos, through a methodical, data-focused approach and are bolder in their decisions. 62% of of such leaders strongly agree that they are prepared to lead their organisations in capitalising on the opportunities associated with Industry 4.0—almost twice as many as other leaders (32%) surveyed.

Technology bringing a wave of disruption? Not so fast

Twice as many leaders said they're more likely to invest in Industry 4.0 technologies to protect themselves from disruption as are looking to disrupt other industries or the marketplace (67% versus 33%). What is responsible for this defensive approach? Issues such as being too focused on short-term results, having too many technology choices, and a lack of understanding of the technologies.

The "Disruption Drivers": Disruption Drivers understand that investment in new innovations is required for growth; they invest in technologies with a concerted focus on upending their markets. They are more likely to say they feel ready to lead in the Industry 4.0 era (45% versus 32%) and are more assured their organisations are prepared for the opportunities associated with Industry 4.0.

Building the skills for Industry 4.0: Hire or train?

While just over half (55%) of leaders highlighted a significant mismatch between current skill sets and those needed in the future, 25% still prefer hiring new employees over retraining their current workforces. Worryingly, 57% believe the education system is inadequately preparing incoming workers.

The "Talent Champions": Talent Champions know what skill sets their companies need, and are aggressively embracing their responsibilities to train their employees for the future of work (51% versus 41% for all other respondents). They also are more likely to invest in technologies to disrupt competitors (42% versus 32%).

Lead photo / 123RF

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