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Leadership in the Digital Economy: How to Re-Invent Yourself

As the world increasingly becomes digitized, a lot of professionals suddenly find themselves short on relevance in various areas of work and life. While a natural reaction is to think that one has missed the bus, nothing could be farther from the truth. Here are eight ways to get out of the rut, based on actual feedback from surveys and consensus amongst industry observers:

executive_leadership_reverse_mentoring1. 24/7 e-vigilance - There is a clear case for individuals to apply the ubiquitous question being asked in corporate corridors today - "what business are we in?" - to their own careers as well. As the world around us evolves with amoebic propensity, new opportunities (social media management, giving digital life to devices et al.) emerge and it takes a vigilant eye to capitalize on these.

2. Early adoption of technology - Many people are technology-shy and wait for a trend to be prominent before adopting it. Why not flip the switch and become one of the earliest adopters? If the way to communicate/interact/buy is digital, then so be it, whether one locates a restaurant using Zomato or organizes events via Facebook or books a cab via an app on their phone.

3. Ramping up of DQ (digital quotient) - At various conferences that I speak at, I have seen the most educated of people ask the most basic questions: “What is a mobile wallet?” “What is the internet of things?” The answer is simple - read, read, read. With the surfeit of information available, ramping up one's digital quotient is a cakewalk today. Subscribe to contemporaneous news feeds and, importantly, don't just read them - instead "e-read" them.

4. Reverse mentoring - A trend picking up in various parts of the world, reverse mentoring is all about getting the digital natives of the organization to keep you up-to-date on various technological trends and the tricks of the trade. It is the perfect symbiotic relationship - the ones with experience under their belts pass on wisdom to the younger ones and the new kids on the block teach the older ones the most effective ways of propagating that wisdom.

5. Alignment with the digital era - It is very common for us to romanticize the past and continue to rely on anachronisms to give oneself an identity. The key is to align oneself with the digital era, and go with the flow. So many businesses are now capitalizing on customers' digital and social media footprints to make interventions at the right time. For instance, if a customer posts his intention of going on a mountaineering trip on Facebook, it is the perfect time for an insurance company to reach out to him with a relevant policy.

6. Doing things digitally - Make a list of activities and then find digital alternatives for each one. Book a cab using a smart phone, buy e-books, place an order using an app. The idea here is to make oneself comfortable with using digital tools on a daily basis. The more one finds oneself in the digital world, the more one is at ease with the rapidly changing world of today.

7. Digital transformation - Replicate the same routine mentioned above at the workplace. Lay out the entire list of activities in the value stream and figure out digital options for each activity. Not only does it save cost in the long run, but it also leads to far higher accuracy and scalability. Riding the digital transformation wave is key to career success.

8. E-connect - Join the plethora of web-based communities on social media. Not only does it give you a platform to share your thoughts and get noticed, but it also gets you attuned to the latest trends in the increasingly connected and digitized world of today.

As these trends imply, staying relevant in an ever-changing world is a matter of mind set (willingness to change) and habit (daily adoption of technology). Not only does it help you survive the onslaught of digital transformation, but you actually go several notches ahead in terms of thriving (not just surviving) by riding the crest of the wave. Enjoy the convenience it brings you and look forward to an even more wonderful tomorrow!

 

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About the author

KV Dipu's picture

KV Dipu is a people-centric CXO-level corporate executive, from India, with extensive experience in financial services. With several certifications & accolades to his credit (certified lean six sigma black belt, certified ezinearticles expert author and an expert on transformation at selfgrowth.com), he applies his experience to writing and mentoring (he is an IvyExec Network Mentor). Please connect with Dipu on LinkedIn or contact him at kvdipu@gmail.com.

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