Publication

What Does it Take to Lead in Digital Times?

Digitalization, upstart competitors, the need for breakneck speed and agility, and an increasingly diverse and demanding workforce require more from leaders than what most can offer. Check out our new survey with 4,394 global leaders.

Else Beate Gullestad

Else Beate Gullestad,

Executives around the world are out of touch with what it will take to win, and to lead, in the digital economy. This new report shows evidence of this growing mismatch between how many organizations are currently led and how they should be led.

To find out how the changing nature of competition, work, and society is influencing the future of leadership, MIT Sloane Management Review, in collaboration with Cognizant, surveyed 4,394 global leaders from more than 120 countries, conducted 27 executive interviews, and facilitated focus-group exchanges with next-gen emerging leaders worldwide.

In addition to a deficit of digital savviness, we found that some cultural and behavioral leadership norms that worked well in the past are no longer effective. Among the worrying higlights, we saw that:

  • Just 12% of respondents strongly agree that their leaders have the right mindsets to lead them forward. 
  • Only 40% agree that their companies are building robust leadership pipelines to tackle the demands of the digital economy. 
  • Only 48% agree that their organizations are prepared to compete in digitally driven markets and economies. 
  • While 82% believe that leaders in the new economy will need to be digitally savvy, less than 10% of respondents strongly agree that their organizations have leaders with the right skills to thrive in the digital economy.


On the bright side, we identified a number of leadership teams that are embracing new ways of working and leading, with increased transparency, authenticity, and collaboration and empathy. Download this action-oriented report to find out more. 

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