New Report: Relearning Leadership in the Second Machine Age

New Report: Relearning Leadership in the Second Machine Age

Ulrika Mann

Ulrika Mann,

How do you guide your company toward success in a time of change? Leadership behaviors forged over the last century clearly need updating for the digital age. Cognizant’s recent report reveals three key roles for leadership as data, AI, algorithms and the science of “meaning making” dominate business for the foreseeable future.

Many of today’s leaders find themselves hampered by legacy business models, excessive cost structures and workforces unable or unprepared to deal with the blistering pace of change. We are now in the midst of a major economic shift, one in which business value increasingly accrues at the intersection of the digital and virtual worlds.

What does it take to lead an established company through this shift? To find out, Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work teamed up with Oxford Economics to conduct in-depth, qualitative interviews with 26 of Europe’s top business leaders.

This is our top takeaways:

  1. Shift to a platform mindset. Platforms are layers of software that gather and synthesize data to link assets, products and partners together with customer demand. These platforms can take many forms – like a car, a home or even a process. Build one, buy one or join one, but driving platform-style behaviors into a culture requires strong visionary leadership underpinned by mechanisms that share data, enable collaboration and integrate work practices.
  2. Hyper-scale innovation.Compared with nimbler and collaboration-oriented competitors, traditional companies need to boost their metabolism for generating and absorbing new ideas and innovations to survive. Power and decision-making dynamics found in many companies today simply won’t work in an era that demands speed, agility and innovation. The time has come to disrupt the status quo with a bold reorganization that creates flatter, more open and more dynamic team structures and rewires power to improve coordination and speed. Tools that help stakeholders align, iterate and innovate are critical.
  3. Extend customer value.It’s not enough to use technology-based approaches to understand customers; tools that increase empathy with customer issues are also hypercritical. Leaders need to pivot their companies around the voice of the customer, using both data and human insights to reveal heightened sensitivity to customer needs, wants and desires. New skills are needed to visualize and explain what a customer experiences or to narrate the meaning of rich streams of product data.

Read more, and download the report Relearning Leadership in the Second Machine Age