Innovative Leaders In The Digital Era

The onset of the digital era has allowed technology permeate our daily lives, transforming our realities into something entirely new and different. The way we socialize, conduct business, receive medial care, and carry out numerous other tasks has been impacted by rapid technological innovation. In the realm of business, technology plays an increasingly important role, especially for its leaders. Executives hold a myriad of important responsibilities. Whether they are working on policy development or tracking the company budget, executives are an active and integral part of their companies. They must be ready to adjust to changes in their environment at any moment and to map out solutions to problems that may arise as a result. With the constant influx of technological advances, executives find themselves in an increasingly fluid environment that they must learn adapt to.    

Technology is developing at a far more rapid pace than ever before, and innovation has produced products and services that many people never imagined they would see in their lifetime. The proliferation of such advances has made technology accessible and affordable for more and more people around the world. With the advent of the digital era comes an increased need for, and use of, technology in the workplace. In order to remain competitive and productive, companies must stay current with modern technology. It is the responsibility of executives and managers to learn to use and implement technology, as well as to instruct their employees on relevant and useful technology. New devices and platforms are constantly being put on the market to increase productivity and effectiveness of organizations. Employees must not only have access to foundational knowledge about their field, but to digital tools that can enhance their performance and output. Executives once had to take a constant, hands-on approach with their employees. Now, they can reply upon digital technology to shape the landscape of their workplace. The digital age allows for increased employee autonomy and the ability to tailor and customize processes to fit the needs of the organization, executives, employees, and clients.    

Avichay Cohen, leads a training program for executives in conjunction with the US Embassy. The Executive Toolkit program provides participants with the skillset and knowledge they need to develop themselves, their organizations, the Embassy’s alumni community, and their own local communities. Programs like this can be exceptionally beneficial in light of the rapid changes brought about by the digital era. Traditional soft skills and knowledge no longer suffice in a world dominated by technology. It is vital that executives not only receive the tools they need to integrate digital technology into their businesses and use it effectively, but that they learn to how help their employees navigate our increasingly digital world in the context of the workplace. The Executive Toolkit program teaches participants some of the different tools that a modern executive needs. The course includes lectures, workshops, a Hackathon, and a final presentation event. The aim of the program is to supply participants with theoretical and practical knowledge on the different aspects of management from experts in their fields. Participants get the opportunity to apply the knowledge they learn to hands on projects. As digital technology permeated the workplace, knowledge about how to best utilize has become an integral part of any executive’s toolkit.    

Executives of today must not only be digitally literate themselves, but must strive to promote digital literacy in each of their employees. In order to do so, executives need to provide employees with knowledge and understanding of digital era concepts, tools, systems, and social technology platforms. It is key that leaders remember that anyone can become digitally literate, regardless of age or current digital knowledge. The ability to recognize this and to effectively spread digital literacy by utilizing each and every member of the team is an important skill for an executive to keep in his or her toolkit. Executives must learn to recognize all of the ways that digital technology can positively impact their business and their employee’s performance. Using programs like the US Embassy Executive Toolkit to educate the modern executive, innovation can be increased, operations honed and streamlined, teams made more cohesive and productive, and overall communication improved.    

Executives must adjust the way that they view the nature of their work as well as that of their employees. The digital era has ushered in a series of new job titles, made some obsolete, and changed various components of others. It is important for leaders to recognize this and to tailor their strategies and job titles accordingly. As digital technology becomes more and more present in the office place, changes will occur with regards to training and development, cyber security, compensation, and performance management and executives must learn to effectively make this transition and successfully maintain the new workplace standards. As the leaders of their organization, executives must instill a sense of excitement and acceptance of change in the workplace. It is important that all parties be committed to embracing positive change. Executives must map out the new paths created by digital technology and confidently retrain their employees.    

Digital technology allows for more independence and decision-making by employees and it is of extreme importance that leaders make the necessary adjustments of their leadership styles. Executives must to be able to be flexible and shift their approach from one of control to one of collaboration. In relinquishing some control, there is some increased risk or error, which executives must come to terms with and learn to take in stride. Programs like the US Embassy Executive Toolkit can provide executives with all of the knowledge and skills they need to be effective and innovative leaders in the ever-evolving digital era.