Anyone who looks back wistfully and wishes everything was the way it used to be is unsuitable as a leader.
When we fill leadership positions today, it is often in connection with digital transformation. The candidates we are looking for are expected to initiate and support this change process and make it a success - al this at a time when it is impossible to plan for the long term over several years.
The challenges in terms of agility, people management and customer centricity are different than they were 3-5 years ago and require new skills. Most importantly, resilience is needed in this VUCA world. It takes a certain robustness to resist the disruptions that are currently affecting you, to still work in a planned and goal-oriented manner, and also to calmly lead employees through these turbulent times.
You can only be successful if you are prepared to adapt (quickly) to changing conditions – in other words, to learn new things and develop further.
Those who are stuck in the past, looking back wistfully and wishing everything were the way it used to be, don't stand a chance. On the other hand, those who embrace new things and venture into unfamiliar territory can help shape the future.
Of course, digital and technological skills are also necessary in an increasingly digitalized world. These include the ability to successfully use digital working and management methods and a fundamental understanding of digital business models and processes.
In the future, it will be even more important to transform data into insights and make them useful for companies.
In our day-to-day executive search work, we see that people who have a great openness to new things are much faster at building and expanding this expertise. We need people like this in the executive ranks.
Leadership today involves conveying to employees (ideally, of course, by example) that it is their responsibility to continue to develop and that learning on the job is part of the job.
Increasing agility in the market, shortened product life cycles, the onset of recession... – the demands on managers and the associated pressure to adapt one's own management and working methods accordingly are high. In addition, the home office job is ubiquitous. Private balance is more important than ever. Whether in sports, by spending time with the family, in silence/meditation, etc. – everyone needs a place to wind down and recharge their batteries.
You can be paralyzed by change or inspired by it. We need more people to choose the second option. People who make all the nebulous things in this VUCA world tangible and thus make decisions possible. People who develop a vision of how goals can be achieved - despite all adversities.
After a challenging but very successful 2021, we look forward to 2022 with confidence. Sure, the pandemic is not yet over, but we also see great opportunities. The transformation of the industry is in full swing:
Digitization has received a tailwind from the pandemic.
It holds enormous potential, for example, in trade, industry, administration, education and healthcare.
Decarbonization of the industrial sector.
This poses the question to everyone of how they can bring CO2-neutral products to market. One factor: system integration of hydrogen.
Demographic change has affected the entire economy.
The situation in the care sector is dramatic. Solutions are needed from politics, business and education. Approaches could be: Use of robots, optimization of dual training, improved compatibility of family and career, and skilled labour immigration laws.
Decentralization or shortening of supply chains.
Increased sustainability and resilience of supply chains is a lesson from pandemic, along with travel restrictions and the blockade of the Suez Canal.
Overcoming these obstacles and seizing opportunities requires C-level digital expertise, but also decision-making power.