Navigating the digital frontier

Navigating the digital frontier

May 21, 2016

More than just a change of tools

“Digital transformation does not have to leave the employees behind”. That is the leitmotif of an essay by Charles-Edouard Bouée on the blog of the Harvard Business Review following the Global Drucker Forum Executive Round Table in Munich.

The Roland Berger CEO writes, “Digitization is more than just a change of tools.” Many other structures like reporting, relationships and customer interaction also thereby transformed. “Becoming a true digital organization means embracing a new culture and mindset, where hierarchy fades and innovation happens through networks”, he states. Bouée had explained these consequences in an interview with Deutsche Welle in the run-up to the forum, too.

While “digitization” is a current buzzword, we should be careful not to overestimate the boon of the digital transformation. Bouée takes the interdependence with employment as an example. “We are only beginning to understand digitization’s effects on unemployment”, he points out. Find detailed figures in the essay on

Necessity of a new set of leadership skills

Reflecting Roland Berger’s new value-adding and game-changing proposition, Bouée in particular refers to the strategic consequences of digitization: What do they mean for the responsibility placed on managers, for example? Who will be winners and losers? How many employees are potentially affected? And how to switch from a traditional functional, siloed organization into a modular one with a loose alliance of autonomous and multidisciplinary teams?

Managers and employees will need to navigate the digital frontier together
Managers and employees will need to navigate the digital frontier together

“Managers and employees will need to navigate the digital frontier together,” Bouée summarizes as he emphasizes the necessity of a new set of leadership skills. “Because ultimately, success in the digital age lies in the dexterity and adaptability of the people who wield it.”

Read the entire essay at

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