8 February 2019
New leadership models for the Industry 4.0

You can’t have a successful Industry 4.0 project without a clear business goal into scope, and without strong, motivated leadership. However, which sort of leaders might make a difference in the digital transformation journey?

Some insights do come from the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, which took place last week in Davos, Switzerland. According to a new report on Industry 4.0 readiness by Deloitte, business executives are gaining a much deeper understanding of the technological challenges before them, and the actions needed to face them. While many companies continue to struggle with the complexity of digitalisation, an increasing number of organisations is finding a tailor-made path to keep up with innovation and related changes.

Although executives still find it difficult to understand emerging tech-driven opportunities, and still lack a strategic vision to govern them, many C-levels are seeing payoffs from technology investments, so feel reassured to move forward. Interesting to notice that most interviewees acknowledge the ethical implications of digitalisation, first in societal and environmental terms, but also on labour. Nevertheless, many are worried about the possible impact on jobs, most figure out an opportunity to take care of staff employability by growing those digital and soft skills which will be more and more necessary in the upcoming years.

Considering the leadership models that are more likely to get the Industry 4.0 right, Deloitte grouped executives into four personas:

  • Social Supers, who consider social responsibility fundamental to their businesses and invest in programs and initiatives to generate an admirable societal impact. They are mostly moved by Industry 4.0 projects aimed at energy efficiency or resource optimisation, but do not disdain to be engaged any time innovation can serve for the good of people, communities and local economy;
  • Data-Driven Decisives, who rely on data and advanced analytics for strategic decision-making. They are probably better prepared to seize Industry 4.0 opportunities and capitalise them. In the past year, for instance, about half of the organisations with such leaders achieved annual revenue growth exceeding 5%, while only a quarter of other businesses got similar results;
  • Disruption Drivers, who are confident of innovation creating a significant competitive advantage. They recognise that digitalisation forces organisation and their models to change but are not scared about possible impacts on people or processes. They go straight to the point, eager for results;
  • Talent Champions, who trigger innovation by creating digitally-focused teams, and committing them to cascade to colleagues and staff. They are more likely than others to invest in training and education, actively promoting know-how sharing whenever a new technology or process is kicked-off within the organisation.

What about you, or your leaders? Do you recognise any of these personas? As the quality of leadership plays an important role for business growth and long-term sustainability, we applaud visionary leaders, who head their companies to the future and take the best possible decisions along the digital transformation journey.




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