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Leadership through conflict and digital disruptions

With current economic and political uncertainty obscuring the world of business, it is time for business leaders to sharpen the art of leadership through times of crisis. According to Gartner, two-thirds of business leaders believe their companies must pick up the pace of digitalisation to remain competitive.

Andy Raymond, Redline Executive Director explains how the CEOs, CIOs and CMOs of today must learn how to navigate through chaotic times in order to survive.

“Technology will continue to change everything,” says Andy. “The accelerating pace of technological change is giving life to new industries and organizations and approaches to business. From artificial intelligence to augmented reality, these disruptive technologies and trends will begin driving how business gets done at forward-thinking organisations and will affect the way in which executive roles will be further challenged.

The big macro-forces of globalisation, urbanisation, demographic ageing population, geopolitical instability and the drive for sustainability, coupled with technological change will drive the economic weather system on the planet for decades to come. No industry, geography, or sector will be immune from the impact of these technological forces.

Today’s leader must embrace the reality of power and politics. Wherever humans gather in groups, power and politics are present. The challenge is learning to understand and navigate the political environment in a manner that keeps a leaders integrity intact. Those who are able to cultivate power in a clean manner are the ones who decide what gets done and who does what.

We associate leading with a set of behaviours including coaching, delivering feedback and providing direction. While these timeless behaviours are important, the context in which you are being asked to lead and manage is very different today than at any other point in time. Today's effective leaders are uniquely attuned to their executive roles and responsibilities in fostering a safe environment where innovation and experimentation flourish.

Executive leaders must define new ways of working. This could be through conducting digital transformation. Also be through rethinking how departments such as marketing, IT and Finance can work collectively. Companies should build teams of people who can combine skills in business strategy and consumer experience. Gain your right to win at disruption by building, acquiring and maintaining combinations of people, knowledge, IT, tools, structures, and processes that suit the corporate culture.

The number one impediment to winning at digital disruption is a dearth of talent. In sectors such as engineering and technology, we continue to witness demand-outstripping supply with a trend expected to continue over the next five years. It is crucial to hire senior managers and executive talent who are capable of fresh thinking and are digital natives.

“Looking ahead of the leadership in your business for the next five years is crucial as it will demand three high leadership skills including artificial intelligence, digital security and the internet of things (IoT). It will be ever more crucial to continuously analyse risk and trust when hiring for executive roles. Organisations must prioritise their investments in AI, digital security and IoT capable leaders. With the already present shortage of qualified candidates in these fields, the CIO, CEO and CMO must work ever more closely and collaborate with their executive search partners when hiring digital leaders.”

Redline Executive offer an extensive portfolio of executive search services and provide thorough insight and support to your strategic recruitment planning. To have a confidential discussion, please call Andy Raymond – Head of Executive Search on +44 (0)203 131 0019 or email


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