One of the hardest parts of my job is to take a moment and visualise a potential new leader who is about to join Dentsu Aegis Network six months into their new role, says global planning talent director Ivor Falvey.
How will they have landed within the network? Will they have bonded with our culture and the teams they are leading? With the pace of change, what does our business look like at this point in time and are they thriving in a highly matrixed and interconnected global network, which both services and leads some of the biggest global companies and brands in the world? Huge questions, and it’s my job to get this right.
One of the main things I look for is an individual who doesn’t need to be the ‘King’ or ‘Queen’ of their domain – they are the people who can only operate in an environment where they rule. But rather I am pursuing those individuals who naturally create followers and create other leaders. In fact this should be a critical leadership KPI for any leader – the ability to create new leaders.
These are the leaders who foster collaboration and create a culture of empowerment and accountability. They breed high performing teams of ‘enterprise contributors’- team players who not only do a great job themselves but they enable others to do a great job and be the best they can be.
These newer breed of leaders do not need the levers and tools of ‘command and control’. They can lead virtually, influencing the matrix, and they operate around the crucial business decision nodes where value is either created or destroyed. They thrive in our digital economy where technology and digital enablers have torn down institutional walls, kingdoms and fiefdoms and democratised the world of business and industry. They embrace disruption, foster human learning, promote diversity and allow their people to innovate and try new ways of working.
In this new world team spirit and engagement are born out of co-creation and leadership decisions are made together and in an agile fashion because the future belongs to the fast. So the accelerating pace of change is exhilarating to these leaders and their people rather than something to be concerned about.
But these leaders we covet are still a rare breed and in high demand. These newer types of digital economy leaders. Mostly I still encounter the ‘Kings and Queens’ who can be leaders, but only in a working environment that will soon be extinct – kingdoms and fiefdoms.
But I am certain it’s coming. A time when we will say ‘The ‘King’ is Dead…long live the Digital Economy Leader’.