Leaders: Are you listening?
| Brig. (Dr) Sunil Kumar Moudgil (Retd) - 16 Sep 2019

It is believed that all organizations have the potential for excellence but unfortunately only a few make it to the mark. Well, excellence is the forte of those organizations which continuously connect with the on-going technological advancements and provide purpose & direction to people. Digital technologies - social, cloud, big data analytics, mobile and the Internet of everything - have created new, intangible, sources of value. Thus, the leadership qualities that created value for many leaders decades ago are less effective in today’s digital world. 
 Attracting, satisfying and retaining highly connected and savvy stakeholders requires leaders to learn new ways of leading. Leaders who adopt a systems perspective to instill a culture of all-inclusive excellence and guide an organization’s journey towards it, are expected to be more successful. Leadership is no longer hierarchical – it needs participation, involvement, and contribution from one and all. 
 Today, leaders need to deal with unprecedented changes, an unpredictable and highly challenging future. Thus, they must create and show the way forward amid transitions, disruptions, chaos and ambiguity. They need not take ownership of everything. Accountability and ownership must be shared/taken by people at all levels in the organization. 
 Like in the Indian Army- We have a Langar Commander (responsible & accountable for delivering well-cooked hygiene food to soldiers on time), likewise Section Commander, Platoon Commander, Company Commander, so on and so forth up till Corps Commander: all are responsible for taking decision and delivering at their level, within the overall objective/vision of the organization. A leader cannot know it all, and the top-down approach is no longer sustainable. Leaders need to empower their teams to work with autonomy and freedom, and to take decisions. Organizations need to create leaders at all levels by building participation and accountability. 
 Leaders need to build an environment where people take ownership of things and are accountable. 
 See, who is the source and inspiration of Artificial Intelligence? The People. The digital world is also not about technology, but people. As our day-to-day lives are increasingly immersed in technology, it is easy to lose perspective on things that matter. Leaders need to create a compelling vision and communicate with clarity so that everyone understands what the team is trying to achieve and why. People achieve great things when they are driven by a strong purpose and find work meaningful. When people know the why, they figure out the how.
 As Steve Jobs once said, the difference between leaders and followers is that leaders Innovate. Innovation is the way to remain immune to creative destruction and disruptions. Leaders need to drive innovation and experimentation and to continuously evolve to meet dynamic challenges. When organizations create a culture of learning, failures and experiments, the outcome lead to inventions and innovations. Technology has shattered the barriers and reduced distances. The world is more interconnected than ever. Leaders who understand the value of diversity, inclusion and open-mindedness can navigate the challenges of technological disruptions.
 The speed at which you do things can be the difference between success and failure in the digital economy. So, what is needed is to create a mechanism to make teams more agile, to deal with sudden changes and to challenge the status quo. Digital leadership requires adaptability to handle pressure and constant changes and to take decisions with agility. The projects people are working on can lose significance very quickly through no fault of theirs. In these moments of uncertainty, domain experts may be trusted to show the way forward. 
 In a world driven by devices and technology, how you lead people will make a vital difference. By willing to shed some controls and empowering others to pinpoint and solve critical problems, leaders will have the power to shape the outlook of our world. 

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