With the reach of one billion smartphones globally in 2012, companies are entering an era of accelerated transformation. Unlike traditional companies, 21st-century companies are 10-40 times more efficient. Companies formed based on the old economy if they do not remodel their business will have their “Kodak moment”. What will be the implications? Multiple.
Over 10 or 20 years the redesign of each industry will be a reality dictated by the new transformations: smart cities, renewable energy, infrastructure for the distribution chain, supply, education and social services for about 9 billion people. And then, the leaders who run these companies will be different from the current ones. What will the leaders of 2030 look like?
A new mindset, ”the explorer”
Technology resets the operating system of the leaders. They are obliged to be the explorer and visionary type. Tomorrow’s leaders will be motivated to explore opportunities that bundle up with higher risks. The flight to Mars or the large-scale space exploration wanted by Elon Musk, Richard Bronson or Jeff Bezos, if not PR exercises, are desires that best embody the leader of tomorrow.
The leaders of the future do not dream of being perfect and omnipotent as individuals but they team up with people who have the qualities and knowledge that they lack. The people in their team have a vision of the future aligned with that of the founder of the company. They are loyal without being servile. They think autonomously and put forward perspectives but they act together. They listen to and are listened to by the leaders. The leaders of the future take risks and are not afraid of failure. They know that the big winners in business have gone through resounding failures.
All the companies will be „technological”
Of the new generation companies, most are positioned as technology companies. Even if they operate in the banking, insurance or tourism industries, their technological basis of operation redefines them. If we take into account that many companies operating online platforms have 9 times more decision-makers with technical skills in the boardroom than traditional ones and significant technology investment budgets, there are strong reasons to name them technology companies operating in the banking industry, insurance or tourism.
Technological progress shows us more and more that the leaders of the new generation are buying the business processes they need as cloud services (PaaS). While incumbents are captured by the use of old technologies, young competitors are using the latest technologies and building completely new business models.
The characteristics of the new leaders
The integration of the increasing technological component leads to new leadership skills. Innovation no longer means adding another feature to an existing product but building a product that does not exist.
If we were to identify three characteristics of the new type of leader compared to the established type of leader they would be:
- The courageous, open and visionary character of the leaders, with a focus on advanced technical skills at a strategic level
- The ability to work in a team with people more valuable than themselves but with the same spirit of exploration
- Focusing on company development through investments in companies with potential, common values and entrepreneurial culture
The orientation towards global growth
For future leaders, risk aversion does not exist because each of them has experienced failure. In their capacity as directors of their companies or investors, they focus not on risk but potential. “How much can we grow this idea into a global business?”, It seems to be the key question that everyone addresses.
At the same time, more and more new generation leaders have advanced knowledge of AI, blockchain, IoT, social media, cloud computing and other similar technologies that exponentially grow the businesses they build or take over.
Moreover, leaders of the new generation can start a business in well-defined industries and thanks to technology they can expand or migrate to other industries. Under these conditions, the boards of directors of the new companies are more like creative studios in which the decision-makers are open, creative, digital natives and with relevant business acumen. Smart jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, and smartwatches replace expensive costumes, and analog watches. With this new generation of leaders, we are entering an era free of conventions and open to change.