15 January 2020

Who Digitalizes the Leaders?

Leaders speak about "Breaking down the Silos," "Digitization," and «Transformation,» but do they know what this means or how to take advantage of new technology? What about the leaders themselves? Could it be that they should start by digitalizing themself? And, do they have the skills to break down the silos they have built?

Fewer than 10% of managers have ever seen their organization as a network. Research shows that leaders go to on average of 1,7 people before they make an important decision. Often the one person they consult is themselves, and when they actually talk to someone else, it is often a person similar to themselves or who is very close to them. Meaning they often go to get confirmation, rather than real feedback. Good decisions are made by going to people in different environments, experts that are central and to some operating in the periphery of the organizations. The latter have often valuable links outside the organization. It will save organizations millions by just improving the quality of the decisions we make 🙂



What is digitization really?
We have to start with the leaders, they are the ones who have built the silos, and often thrive by sitting on top of the hierarchy and direct. Perhaps they think the results will come automatically just by ordering a digitization project. A fair question is whether the leadership group is the ones that need digitalization and transformation first.

Agility is another buzz word for leaders, but it is important to remember that they are the ones that created the silos. Agility is a lot about working across disciplines. And digitalization should be about adopting new technology to provide benefits for the individual and for the organization. Transformation is mostly about how we need to adjust the way we work with how technology develops.

«It is in networks knowledge lives, trust is created, and work is done. 90% of leaders globally have never seen their organization as a network. It’s pretty scary when we know how connected the world has become and how organizations and workers need to work more distributed.»
Jan Taug, PhD

The results do not come from digitalization itself, its how people and organizations adopt new technology and transform use into effects for the individual. It is about forming an agile and smart organization with better services internally and for customers. Leaders are comfortable with a hierarchic structure because it is predictable and easy to lead. Hierarchy often prevents information to float easily and interrupts decision processes, transformation and innovation. Under 10% of leaders in global corporations have ever seen their organization mapped out as a network, which is absolutely fundamental if leaders want to understand how the organization and its external networks really works.

This lack of insight is scary when we think about how interconnected our world has become, and with the current COVID19 pandemic of organizations become almost fully distributed. The workers got stuck in their “home office” and were suddenly virtual workers with, for many, new technology to deliver and fighting to keep their work.

The current hypothesis is that leaders are good at managing information to make decisions and provide input on innovation and improvements. The question is what happens if leaders and employees systematically start to share unique knowledge with others. In short, the relationship between knowledge and value is about putting knowledge in motion, and we know from our global network data that there is huge potential waiting to be released by those that embrace Network Leadership and the competitive advantages it creates.

«Network leadership is not only for leaders, we are all leaders of our own networks.»
Jan Taug, PhD

We challenge forward-looking leaders to do a network analysis of their organization and start the journey toward Network leadership, the next generation leadership philosophy, Leadership 5.0. A recipe for competitive advantages.