Digital courage to lead in VUCA terrain


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The digital market place co-exists with a high degree of VUCA. Vulnerabilities, uncertainties, complexities and ambiguities. A reality leaders can respond to by developing their digital courage. An essential leadership skills to navigate in new digital terrain.

The Digital VUCA reality

Digital market places expose leaders to new type of challenges. Challenges characterized by VUCA. As we have seen for the 21st century military battle fields. Digital businesses face vulnerabilities. In the form of cyber security risks and rapid rise and decline of market segments. Uncertainties are in play for revenue/volume estimations for new opportunities. Predictions of winners among competing eco-systems. And to succeed with customers who manage the digital transition at different pace. The complexity conundrum come from the need to address broader problems. Requiring diverse solution teams. With shorter runways between start and completion. Finally, there is more room for interpretation in the digital market place. Especially when predicting the timing for inflection points. And what is the best strategic option at any given time.

Develop your digital courage

Courage to operate in an environment with many shades of grey, rather than vibrant colors. Digital courage refers to a new attribute digital business leaders need. A leadership skills spanning across all four VUCA areas. Where you need to develop the courage to manage change as the new constant.

Be open to place bets early on when the eco-systems landscape is still in formation. Where the courage required is larger when you aspire to lead in new markets. Develop courage to brake harder for declining businesses. And to speed up faster for rising stars. Assume you deal with business estimates with higher variations. At same times as you manage risk as an integrated part of running the business.

Develop digital courage to take bigger decisions, but take them in smaller steps. With a decision process starting earlier and finishing later.

Dare to show own learning ambitions

In markets exposed to VUCA you need to learn faster. With a clear idea on what you need to develop here and now. A need you share with your team. And representing an opportunity to lead by example. By daring to state your own development ambitions. Teams need to learn fast with high ambitions to thrive in the digital world.

It takes courage to share your own development areas with your direct reports and your peers. Especially in business cultures where you always used to know your business.

Trust your team to develop and deliver

The pace in digital markets requires a high trust environment. Where your trust in direct reports and peers. To deliver results, and to develop new capabilities.

The nature of the business is more complex. And often see smaller teams tasked with solving larger problems. Where micro management is not a viable option.

The personal development needs in a digital business is larger. And where a mix of top down and self identifies needs are in play.

Trusting teams and peers take courage. An area testing your leadership skills. As a low trust environment is a slow and dangerous route in digital markets.

Questions for you and your team

  1. What level of VUCA are we exposed to today – large industry variance.
  2. In what way will we be more affected by VUCA tomorrow – expect increase and variation.
  3. How do we manage VUCA today – already addressed or a new challenge.
  4. What characterize my own digital courage – start with an honest self-assessment.
  5. Which digital roles models inspire me – piggy-back one someone already getting it.
  6. In which areas do I need to learn first – define them before sharing with your team.
  7. Am I ready to expose my development needs – make it OK to make development areas public.
  8. How much do I trust my team and my peers today – and their ability to deliver and develop.
  9. How can I increase trust levels – to speed up our activities on the digital arena.

Additional reading suggestions

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