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    Winter-2016  


Leadership in the Digital Economy Requires a Different Skill Set

Typically, when leading companies, business leaders focus their energies on what they perceive as their primary role: developing a strategy to reach the desired goals.

However, aspects of leadership are directly involved in teamwork-leading.

In today’s competitive world, with so much involving the Internet, the first major strength lies in electing the people who will accompany the leaders until their goals are accomplished. So the first smart decision is to surround oneself with people best suited to carry out the purposes.

According to Alex Konanykhin, founder and CEO of TransparentBusiness.com, this selection criterion is as important as the subsequent need to lead a team of motivated individuals who believe that your work has facets of value and novelty.

But he also stresses that passion for innovation and the importance of creative and enthusiastic development do not only promote efficiency in teams. In fact, these qualities are essential requirements to function successfully in today’s economy.

That is why business leaders should keep in mind the defining features of the digital economy, which should not be limited to technological advances or the mere existence of the Internet.

Konanykhin cites such experts in leadership as Steven Kramer and Teresa Amabile, who argue employees are more productive and creative when they have a positive inner life. And for this, they say, it is essential that a small-business leader’s daily tasks include providing employees with something meaningful.

Konanykhin also believes small-business leaders play an important role in creating such an atmosphere, especially as creativity and innovation play such an important role in successful ventures.

Konanykhin believes, as does management expert Robert Sutton, that it is the leader who establishes the atmosphere in the organization and thus sets the expected standards of behavior.

Konanykhin cites these key elements of a successful environment in the digital economy:

  • Continuous innovation. While the life cycles of products and services shorten, novelty comes as the result of system and technological innovations. From this point of view, the power of ideas becomes a core element.
  • Permanent interconnections. Technology does not just allow informational flow. Human resources have been digitalized, and more and more professional services are provided remotely. Considering this point, business leaders face – more than ever – the challenge of coordinating projects with people from different countries and with different activities.
  • Constant learning. Many authors argue that to learn faster than competitors is “the only competitive advantage.” This critical concept must translate into organizational learning before individual skill development.
  • Added value. Information and ideas have become essential to any product or service. For this reason, the intellectual capital of people is an important asset in any company, since it is no longer possible to visualize a new product without considering the added value that will distinguish it from competitors.

 Against this backdrop, Konanykhin argues, it is vital to note that although the role of technology is undeniable, the value of ideas is more important.

Therefore, business leaders of the digital economy must not just ensure the possession of appropriate technological resources; the leaders’ greatest challenge is to generate and preserve a work atmosphere that is encouraging and dynamic, or, better yet, to develop real incubators for innovative projects.

To this end, nothing is more appropriate than a stimulating environment, so that those who work with us are able and willing to adapt quickly and effectively to constant changes.

Alex Konanykhin is CEO and founder of TransparentBusiness.com, an online business-management platform.

 

 


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