The digital age is no longer a trend or a prediction of the future; it is here and now! And we need to gear up or else we might just end up in a state of pandemonium.
In Feb, 2018, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase announced a joint venture with a focus on using technology to offer their employees and their families simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost. Chatbots, Internet of Things, Blockchain, etc. are now redefining the way world of business operates. From Artificial Intelligence to augmented reality, these technologies are here to stay. These trends will now start determining how business gets done at progressive organizations this year. Digital Disruption has affected each job function, from supply chain to sales to HR Professionals. It has taken over both, professional and personal lives.
It is imperative for organizations to create a cutting edge and sustainable solution for their customers and for that they need leaders with Digital Quotient.
What is Digital Quotient?
Digital quotient indicates the digital maturity of a company. It articulates culture, structure, capabilities and organization and talent. Digital technology is transforming the way employees work. A study by Right Management shows that companies that embrace digital disruption are 26% more profitable than their competitors.
Digital Quotient is not a stand-alone competency but a culmination of many skills.
- Cognitive Ability & Curiosity: Curiosity is the mother of invention, but 'invention' has been replaced by innovation. There has to be a blend between curiosity and cognitive ability. It is about creating breakthroughs that give a sustainable edge over competitors.
- Environmental Orientation: Understanding the market dynamics and predicting the disruptions that affect your industry and most importantly your customers.
- Calculated Risk Taking: Creating a breakthrough or a disruption means swimming in the deep ocean with less or no direction. There is a lot of uncertainty involved and the leaders need to be willing to take risks. At the same time they have to ensure that the potential collateral damage doesn’t shut them out of the organization.
- Agility: While a strategic mindset is required for a leader or a potential leader, it has to be harmonized with agility and speed. This means taking decisions that talk to the strategy and at the same time responds to the changes in the environment.
How do we assess whether our HiPos have Digital Quotient?
Right Management’s assessment with “Zara” evaluates an individual’s digital readiness and the assessment reports also indicate the potential role the HiPo could play in the digital age. The virtual interview is conducted by a digital assistant who analyzes the responses to the digital fluency questions to gain additional insights into the emotional state and potential verbal tics.
Developing digital quotient
Development needs to happen on the basis of the competencies that comprise digital quotient. Assign digital assignments and strategic projects to the HiPos, and create a blue ocean strategy where there is ambiguity and uncertainty. Check their readiness and inclination. If there is no drive to learn and perform, there will be no development. Assign them coaches who are eclectic and have created disruptions. It is not the skill that leads them to breakthrough results but the mindset and their drive.
Culture for development
The organization needs to create a culture where employees can think innovatively and are not afraid of failure. It is in the hands of the employees and the talent of the organization to think collaboratively and creatively in order to stay ahead. If employees who are penalized for adapting an unconventional methodology, they will not be able to develop their DQ.
For large businesses, shifting to a digital mindset is not easy as it translates into changing the mindset of thousands of employees and becomes a cultural issue. However, a HiPo needs to propagate the importance of this change in his/her surroundings and ensure that the business doesn’t succumb to the hardships of lack of agility.
HiPos are the future business leaders of the world and they need to steer their organizations to become digitally mature. They can do this by embracing innovation without the fear of failure, promoting new ideas and cross-company collaboration. They should make sure that there is alignment of the company's long-term vision and the digital strategy such that investments (as DQ will eventually directly affect financial results of the company) yield the best business results. They must strive to go beyond the traditional ways of driving digital transformation initiatives without being hampered by technology related issues or mundane business frameworks.