The rate of change in Industry 4.0 is astonishing. Over the past decade, 70% of companies on the Fortune 1000 list have vanished due to their inability to adapt and remain relevant to their markets as compared to their peers and the new disruptive entrants.
Therefore, to excel in such exceptional times, a leader must remain focused on business fundamentals which are unchanging and of upmost priority while being attuned and “sensitive” to the evolving trends, opportunities and threats relating to the market and industry, so that he or she may acquire discerning insights of the future operating environment.
Consequently, he or she will be able to establish with clarity, the “game plan” and convince team members on why it is necessary to follow the plan. At the same time, he or she is able to make tactical decisions to respond and adapt quickly to accommodate to the short-term demands of the external environment.
The massive scale and amount of effort required of transformation accompanying Industry 4.0 can be quite daunting for the staff members going through the change. The staff may experience all sorts of emotions and sentiments, ranging from being overwhelmed, demoralised, losing focused, feeling lost, or even feeling paralysed amidst conflicting priorities between current operational and transformational demands.
A leader must be able to engage his or her team through active listening, empathise with members, energise and inspire them, as well as proactively looks for ways to empower and grow the capability and capacity of the team.
In order for the organisational transformation effort for Industry 4.0 to be well-executed, the leader will need to have the ability to manage complex projects, from facilitating of the planning process to delegation of work to competent and capable individuals.
He or she may from time-to-time need to be personally involved in showing the way and guiding his or her team members on how things should be done. There might also be a need to work together with the team to “drill down” to the details in problem-solving or provide the tactical tools, training or resources that will equip the team to function optimally.