The impact of rapidly evolving technology on organizations irrespective of size, sector, and lifecycle is unlimited. Also, the pace at which the technology is evolving is continuously increasing thus augmenting the rate of disruption.
Rapid digital transformation is needed for the businesses to build on and compete in the Digital Age. But to compete, as many would think is not as much about technology as it is about People.
In this rapidly changing business scenario, an organization can't succeed by adding technology or processes alone. This might have led to success in the past but today, people transformation is going to be the key. Hence the talent needed to successfully steer these new businesses and attract customers is becoming more important than ever before.
The critical talent pool for organizations to overcome the challenges posed by Digital Age are the High Potentials (HiPos). It is the HiPos in the organizations who are going to be the Change Agents and Torch Bearers, who would drive the Digital Adoption within the organizations at a fast pace.
Since, it is the HiPos who are going to lead the charge and take other employees along, the role of HiPos becomes ever more critical. It is important for organizations to contemplate on how Key Competencies for HiPos in the Digital Age would look different from the HiPos of the past.
The good news is that According to the ManpowerGroup whitepaper “From C-Suite to Digital-Suite” digital leadership is not a total replacement of the fundamental attributes underlying leadership effectiveness. Instead, the 80/20 rule applies. Eighty percent of the competencies and enablers that have always made leaders effective remain the same. The other 20 percent is made up of the capabilities that were not so necessary before, but are critical now for modern and future leaders. Hence the key competencies of HiPos would remain similar in the Digital Age, however, the definition and intensity required would demand a change.
Traits that are going to be the bedrock for any HiPo are Drive and Self-motivation. These traits are the bedrock of HiPos and would remain to be so.
The key fundamental competencies for HiPos would be as important as ever, however, the intensity and their definition will change in response to the dynamic business environment. For example, a conventional competency like Strategic Orientation would change the way it is defined, as strategy is no more as straight-jacketed as before; today one doesn’t know what or who would become a competitor tomorrow. Taking an example from retail industry, earlier acquiring prime real estate for the retail players was very important but now the focus has moved towards Digital. Retail analytics in terms of demographic, predictive and prescriptive; which are done by the market leaders such as Flipkart and Amazon have become as or more important as a prime real estate. Also, the timeline of strategy is not only on the long-term horizon as in the past, rather it has been shortened to 6 months or a yearly time cycle with a long-term view.
Some additional Competencies that HiPos need to consistently demonstrate in the Digital Age are:
- Speed of outcome, response to external & internal stimuli, decision making and learning fast
- Agility towards the dynamic environment, continuous adaptation is going to be the key
- Social intelligence to consistently develop teams in a highly virtual and diverse environment
- Creativity to think out of the box not only limited to a large scale initiative but day to day small initiatives with high impact
It is these new competencies, with a strong foundation of conventional competencies, sitting on the bedrock of Drive and Self-Motivation that is going to redefine HiPo’s in the Digital Age.
HiPos should be prepared to quickly course correct and optimize opportunities. HiPos must champion broader thinking and learnability to fast track Digital Adoption in organizations.